Sociology Index

Gender Inequality

Glass Ceiling Hypothesis, Books on Gender and Women, Social Construction of Gender, Ecofeminism

Gender inequality stems from empirically grounded or socially constructed distinctions. Gender inequality is unequal treatment of individuals based on their gender. Gender inequality arises from differences in socially constructed gender roles. Gender inequalities manifest in many dimensions of daily life.

Gender inequalities exist as social problem. Qualified female doctors in the U.S. earn about $15,000 less than their male counterparts. In villages in India, girls are discouraged from seeking education. When it comes to secondary education, girls are disadvantaged because they are either engaged to be married or purely because of culture. Studies show unequal access to and control over family resources for Indian women including control over land and bank accounts.

In the Sitapur district, one of the districts of Uttar Pradesh state of India, there is an event which involves men destroying gudiyas (rag dolls) that their sisters made the night before the festival. The long tradition reveals the embedded gender inequality within society. The bashing of the doll symbolizes the bashing of the spirit, to maintain control. - Sangtin Writers Collective and Richa Nagar, Playing with Fire: Feminist Thought and Activism through Seven Lives in India. Minneapolis: Univ of Minnesota Press, 2006.

Statistical discrimination is also cited as a cause for income disparities and gendered inequality in the workplace. Statistical discrimination indicates the likelihood of employers to deny women access to certain occupational tracks because women are more likely than men to leave their job or the labor force when they become married or pregnant. Women are instead given positions that dead-end or jobs that have very little mobility. - Burstein, Paul (1994.) “Equal Employment Opportunity: Labor Market Discrimination and Public Policy."