Hiring Discrimination Against Women
急速PC28彩票For decades, the status of women in the workplace has been debated everywhere from the boardroom to the courtroom. Working women are sometimes subjected to bias because of sex, in spite of numerous laws and regulations that prohibit employment discrimination targeting women. Court cases from district courts all the way to U.S. Supreme Court cases render decisions based on discriminatory employment practices against women and other protected groups in the workplace.
Issues Concerning Traditionally Female Occupations
Historically, women were relegated to office support and administrative positions such as clerk typists, secretaries and administrative assistants. Employers who engaged in unfair hiring practices attempted to justify making discriminatory hiring decisions for several reasons. Some employers believed women lacked the skills and qualifications necessary to perform nontraditional and higher-paid positions simply because of gender. Other employers who hired or promoted women into supervisory or management positions prevented those women from attaining higher-level roles, which is referred to as the "glass ceiling." The glass ceiling is a metaphor used to describe a barrier where the targeted group--in this case, women--can see the higher rungs on a career ladder but are prevented from attaining more responsible and influential positions due to discrimination based on sex and business decisions that convey the message that men are more suited to leadership roles.
This is evidenced by a study in 2003 conducted by University of California-Hayward professor Dr. Richard Drogin who discovered "women make up 72 percent of Wal-Mart's total workforce, but only 33 percent of its managers." Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the U.S. This was a disturbingly disproportionate number of women prevented from reaching higher-level positions, which ultimately led Wal-Mart to becoming the defendant in a national gender-bias lawsuit.
Issues Concerning Equal Pay
急速PC28彩票Another type of discriminatory treatment to which women have been subjected is unequal pay. An article on Workplace Fairness states, "More progress has been made for women, but most women continue to work in jobs stereotyped as female jobs, and women in nearly all job categories receive less pay than males in those job categories." Reasons employers traditionally justified unequal pay for women was purely and simply based on gender, and societal perception of women being the "weaker sex," incapable of functioning well in a business or corporate work environment.
Another rationale employers historically used was that a man had family responsibilities and therefore needed to earn more money than women to care for a family. This type of egregious discrimination is extremely difficult to defend, however. Court decisions have decried employers' attempts to justify that a man who cares for his family deserves to be paid more than a woman who cares for her family.
Laws Prohibiting Discrimination Against Women
There are many anti-discrimination laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as each state and local Fair Employment Practices Agency. The earliest laws on the books prohibiting discrimination against groups of underrepresented population groups in the workforce, including women, include Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The recently enacted Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009 also prohibits discrimination against women, as well as older workers.
急速PC28彩票The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Divison enforces the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which protects persons who need time off from work to receive care for serious medical conditions, or for workers who must have time off from work to care for a family member with a serious medical condition. The reason FMLA is considered among the laws that prohibit discrimination against women is because women are generally the primary caregivers in family strife and situations where personal care and attention are necessary.
- gender simbol image by Nataliya Galkina from