Gender Inequality is a characteristics of social structure, according to which different social groups (in this case – men and women) possess stable differences and resulting from these unequal opportunities in society, there was realized by researchers in social sciences and humanities through the notion of gender in 1980, as the basis for feminist concept (Joan Scott). Conceptualizing gender shed light on the social construction of masculinity and femininity as oppositional categories with unequal social value.
Since the active suppression of the similarities and differences requires construction of social power, dominance turns out to be a central issue in gender theory. Gender with race and class is a hierarchical structure to provide both opportunities and oppression, and an effective structure of identity and solidarity. Differences in constructs “male – female” characterize the views of researchers who are social in a human by biological design (for example, the theory of functionalism). Traditional psychoanalysis recognizes that male and female models are diametrically opposed in their qualities (as a typical male behavior is characterized by activity, aggressiveness, determination, desire to compete and achieve, the capacity for creativity, rationality, and for women – passivity, indecision, dependent behavior, conformity, the lack of logical thinking and aspirations to achieve, as well as a great emotional and social balance). While maintaining the basic psychoanalytic paradigm, K. Horney draws attention to the fact that the girl grows, knowing that the man for the society has a “heavy price” in the human and spiritual terms, and thus the cause of masculinity complex in women should look at individual and cultural factors. Based on the theory of social identity by Turner, C. Guinchi, he considers men and women as social groups with different social status. High status groups most often are evaluated in terms of competence and economic success, while low-status – in terms of goodness, kindness, humanity, etc. The author believes that all the positive features of the female stereotype (warmth, emotional support, compliance) – the typical compensation for the lack of achievements is in “power positions”. As members of low-status groups among women compared with men, there is less developed sense of identification with their group, they tend to overestimate men’s achievements and strengths and underestimate their own, adopting the point of view more of high status groups – men. Confirmation of these provisions can be seen in these many studies, for example, P. Goldberg has found a certain amount of prejudice against women themselves in the field of scientific work, college student more than appreciate the article, signed by men than women, as stated in Gender Inequality: Women Under Stress.
The example of the feminist movement, the thoughts and perception of the gender inequality can be described in arguments about the current situation in the world and perception of a woman in the society. All versions of feminism challenged the assertion that women as sex are less worth than men. But even in a society where institutionally enshrined equal rights, there is a double standard of morality: one – in relation to men, and quite another – to women as an illustration. As stated by Joyce Stevens, the words from the manifesto of radical feminism: “…because women’s work never ends and it is not paid or paid less, or it is boring and monotonous, and we are first to be fired, and how we look is more important than what we’re doing, and if we are raped, it’s our fault, and if we beat, we are provoked, and if we raise the voice, we provoke scandal, and if we get pleasure from sex, so we are nymphomaniacs, and if not, frigid and if we expect society cares about our children, we are selfish, and if we defend our rights, we are aggressive and unfeminine, and if not, then we are typical weak woman, and if we want to get married, so we hunt for the man, and if we do not want to, we are crazy and … for many other reasons we are participating in the women’s movement.”
In the world there are now nearly two hundred states, and only a couple dozen of them are run by women. In the current U.S. Senate there are 17 women out of 100, in the House of Representatives – 75 of 435. During the existence of the Nobel Prize there were awarded to 789 laureates, of which only 35 were women. Only 15 Fortune of 500 companies are headed by women. How can we explain such a low proportion of women in top positions in politics, science and business?
Explanations at different times demanded a lot, mainly related to discrimination or differences in preferences. A whole series of more subtle explanation was offered by the Stanford economist Muriel Niederle in a series of experimental works with different collaborators. The first of them Muriel found in 2003, and the girls perform less than boys when they have to compete with them performing a large number of simple tasks, but on one level with boys, when the same competition was conducted in groups of students of one sex – only between boys or only between the girls. Thus, women are equal with men of abilities that they can achieve lower results because they do not believe in themselves and avoid competition with men.
In a subsequent paper (2006) Muriel invited each party to experiment a choice – get paid for every completed assignment or to receive a larger sum, but only if his or her result will be the highest in the group, it was found that as much as 73% of men but only 35% of women prefer the second, competitive, scheme, despite the fact that statistically significant differences in the abilities of boys and girls with a task – in this case required no errors to calculate the sum of five two-digit numbers, and do as much as possible of such operations within five minutes – could not be found. It turns out that men tend to choose the competitive environment, which is much more likely than women (and more often than is justified by their abilities). The most interesting thing was found when each participant suggested guessing what place he or she took in her group. Out of the forty men, divided into groups of four, thirty of them felt that they coped with the task better than anyone in his group, of which nearly three-quarters, of course, were wrong. Only one man believed (and wrongly) that he made all the worse in the group. For women, characterized as more realistic (although still inflated)were estimated their relative results: respectively, seventeen, and two found his speech the best and worst in his group, as described in Gender and society.
What conclusions can we draw from these results? First, once again to see how thin tool to obtain the economists with the widespread introduction in the last couple of decades of laboratory experiments as a generally accepted method of research, along with theoretical and empirical techniques (in the fifth congress on experimental and behavioral economics IMEBE 2009 in Granada in spring, at which Muriel told about his work, attended by more than a hundred researchers from around the world). Second, to recognize that the paradox of economic inequality between men and women may have much more complicated explanations than those, that are often the first in the head, by linking the current situation with the tradition, inertia, or irrational discrimination – if it is assumed that the laboratory methods have predictive force for the real-life situations. And, perhaps most important is: a good research opens more questions than answers to old. In his next, but not yet published in the journal paper (2008) Muriel invites participants to the experiment of both sexes to choose the level of difficulty (as opposed to competition) proposed assignment; almost certain laboratory tests will continue, but currently, they are insufficient for a full understanding of the phenomenon of gender-economic heterogeneity. There is work for theorists: to explain the observed patterns in the laboratory, there is work for empiricists – found in real data effects similar to those found in the laboratory. And if all this can be done, we’ll not only know more about the nature of the phenomenon, but can make recommendations on the choice of employment and pay structure for men and women, making the lives of both more comfortable.
All modern developed countries are moving to new, advanced features of the state in connection with the growth demands of the population to quality of life and society’s transition to a new stage in its development – information society based on “knowledge economy”. Modern type of society imposes significantly higher demands on the reproduction and development of human capital, which, in turn, redistributes the usual functions of government with traditional, mostly repressive and ordered, in the direction of current. What is related to these advanced features? First of all it is government policy in areas such as education, health, social security, fundamental science. Gradual “reformatting” problems of the modern state, not least formed a hard request to restore the gender balance in the leadership of the state and create a more efficient mechanism of governance at all levels. That is why the promotion of women into the power of being examined as a tool for sustainable, humane and sustainable development of society, because real equality between men and women changes the priorities of state policy, the life of the country as a whole. Statistics shows that states have in their parliaments and governments less than 25-30% of women that do not cope with the problems of maternal and child health, child rights, social protection, as described in The natural basis for gender inequality. This indicates that the observance and enforcement of human rights in accordance with the basic democratic requirements is not satisfied in full. It is therefore not surprising that the struggle for genuine democracy involves a very important component – the full equality of women up to parity with men in government, parliament and all state institutions to ensure social justice and social stability.
The situation shows that in many countries around the world promoting women in power, the control system at all levels deemed critical of government policy. Senator from the U.S. Democratic Party, Barbara Mikulski, three times winner of the election to the Senate from Maryland, speaking about herself and Madeleine Albright, described the woman’s path to politics: “For the “sudden” success, it took us only twenty-five years.” It took more than 20 years for Sweden after the adoption of the Law on Gender Equality in 1980 in order to achieve real consolidation of society and the major results in the field of gender policy.
The report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) says that employment among women is now greater than ever before. However, according to ILO data, women constitute 60% of the world’s population and represent only 40% of the working population. Moreover, despite progress in recent years, gender inequality in the global labor market persists, as was reported by BBC.
More women than men have low-paying jobs, often perform at low-skilled jobs and, on average, earn less. Even in the European Union, where such problems are less acute, on average, men earn 15% more than women. Over the last decade the number of employed women increased by almost 200 million. In 2007, there were about 1.2 billion women. For comparison, the world has 1.8 billion working men. It is worth noting that with the growth of working women has increased the number of unemployed persons: 10 years ago there were little more than 70 million, and is now looking for work more than 81 million women, as described in The Gender Inequality Index. Women’s unemployment on the planet is 6.4%, male – 5.7%.
All in all, gender inequality still exists all over the world and partially nature is responsible for that, as there are certain aspects that include children, work, family and taking care of other things, which determine the behavior of the sexes.
The Gender Inequality Index (2010). Retrieved November 16, 2010 from http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/gii/
Gender and society (2007). Retrieved November 16, 2010 from http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/gender.html
10 extreme examples of gender inequality (2009). Retrieved November 16, 2010 from http://listverse.com/2008/11/20/10-extreme-examples-of-gender-inequality/
The natural basis for gender inequality (2008). Retrieved November 16, 2010 from http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/12/the_natural_basis_for_gender_i.php
Gender Inequality: Women Under Stress (2009). Retrieved November 16, 2010 from http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/stress-management/women-under-stress.htm
Gender inequality begins at 16 (2006). Retrieved November 16, 2010 from http://www.hrmguide.co.uk/diversity/occupational-segregation.htm