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Women Still Face Inequality in the Workforce- and Something Needs to Be Done About It

Some may believe that in the 21st century in the United States, equality has been met in the workplace. This is sadly not the case. Many women still struggle to keep up with their white, male counterparts and are constantly having to prove themselves. Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the workforce, women are still treated unequally at work. They are underrepresented in numerous fields, are sexually and verbally harassed, not guaranteed paid maternity leave, and receive fewer leadership opportunities than men.

In 1872, Congress guaranteed equal pay for women that were federal employees, but many fields still lagged behind. Women got more control over assets and income in 1900 after the Married Women’s Property Act. During the World Wars, women worked in factories to continue industry while the workers were away at war. When the men came home, however, most women lost their jobs. In the past 50 years, middle ground has been made, but there is still a disparity between men and women at work.

There is an overwhelming amount of careers that are challenging for women to advance in. Women make up only 38.6% of managers and officials. They are often assistants to these officials, making up 75.6% of those who do office and clerical work. It is common for female workers to be passed up for promotions in which they are more qualified than the chosen individual. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released that they resolved 26,000 charges of employment discrimination based on gender. It was found that “female employees on average were 14% less likely to be promoted than their male colleagues”. This makes it hard for women to climb the ladder in their respective fields. Although women are exponentially more educated today than in previous decades, fields such as finance and engineering have a small percentage of female workers. A 2021 study, composed by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, proved that females who show academic promise at the beginning of their careers are offered fewer leadership opportunities than males that show promise. The drastically low numbers of women in leadership positions and male-dominated fields prove that there is inequality in the workforce.

It is no surprise that the sexual and verbal harassment of women makes its way into the workplace. This issue was voiced especially in 2017 during the #MeTooMovement, which was sparked by Tarana Burke when she created the term in 2006. Women went to social media to share their personal stories of sexual harassment at their place of work. A flood of stories proved that this type of harassment occurs at all levels of work, adding difficulties for women. One story that sticks out is the personal account of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is the NY District 14 representative. She spoke out that one of her male colleagues “called her ‘crazy’, ‘disgusting’, and a ‘b*tch’. This was very significant because it revealed that even at the high level of the United States government, this type of behavior still occurs. AOC went on to make a point that she was treated the same in the Capital as at her bartending job in New York. It was found through a study that, “female workers exposed to sexual harassment in the workplace are at a greater risk of suicide”. These types of situations make women feel powerless. Condescending attitudes in the workplace can affect a woman’s ability to compete with male coworkers and be taken seriously.

In this day of age, there are an abundant amount of working mothers. Some might think that because of this, there would be aid and protection provided for them. This is not usually true in most states. Some states implemented these protections in law, but the Federal government does not enforce maternity leave benefits. This makes it very difficult for pregnant women to take off work, and some are fired in such circumstances. The overturning of Roe v. Wade has not helped the situation. Since most states have declared abortion illegal, more women will have to take off work and will likely experience consequences. Even women who are raped and wrongly impregnated might face instability and setbacks in their careers because they are now forced to deliver the baby full term. It was found in a Baylor University study that pregnancy discrimination has negative impacts on the child and mother. It can cause depressive symptoms for the mother, lower birth weights, and increase the number of doctor’s appointments for the child. Women are often paid less during their pregnancy, with fewer benefits. Some employers pass up pregnant women for promotions, arguing that they will not be focused on their job and will miss more days than men. This makes it hard for women to have families and still be able to compete in the workforce.

In conclusion, women are treated unequally in the workplace. This can be seen through the lack of female population in high-paying jobs and leadership positions, discrimination against working mothers, and harassment in the workplace. To fix this issue, there should be an implementation of transparent salaries, so women are aware of pay gaps, and state laws passed to guarantee maternity leave pay for working mothers. To combat discrimination, leaders should add qualified women to their managing teams and make it a priority to give female workers more opportunities.


Dayton, Denise. “Careers That Are Male Dominated.” Chron.com, 21 Aug. 2020, work.chron.com/careers-male-dominated-10935.htm

Somers, Meredith. “Women Are Less Likely than Men to Be Promoted. Here’s One Reason Why.” MIT Sloan, 12 Apr. 2022, mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/women-are-less-likely-men-to-be-promoted-heres-one-reason-why

“Women in the American Workforce | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” Www.eeoc.gov, www.eeoc.gov/special-report/women-american-workforce.


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