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Gender and Value: Inequality in the Workplace Environment and Affirmative Action - Essay Example

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A fact of culture is that the work that women do, whether it be in non-traditional roles or traditional roles, is routinely given a lesser financial value than that which is traditionally done by men. …
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Gender and Value: Inequality in the Workplace Environment and Affirmative Action
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Download file to see previous pages Skills that are associated more often with male abilities are paid better than those skills associated with women. Therefore, the ability for women to make a living within current cultures is diminished in comparison to men, even though it is far more often that a woman is solely responsible for her own survival as well as that of the children she has born with male counterparts. One of the reasons that this continues to be the case is that women are fighting for an existence that has never happened within history, thus their position in history is in conflict with the position that they desire. Instead of trying to compete on the terms that the male gender has proposed, women might do better to compete on terms of the value of what the female gender contributes to the world. Society should neither be patriarchal nor matriarchal, but the nature of life supported through a mutual respect for what is contributed by the attributes of both genders. One of the remedies that society has asserted as relevant and effective in creating a more equal work environment is through affirmative action initiatives. While these actions have shown some success in creating a more equally spread wage and opportunity equity, there is a condescension involved in suggesting that women need special treatment in order to compete. In addition it perpetuates the concept that the nature of the inequity is justified and can only be made fair by lowering standards and making concessions. The situation provides for a reverse discrimination where no one gets the opportunity or wage based on their own achievements, but based on an unbalanced set of rules. Therefore, affirmative action initiatives do not help to dispel unequal problems in the work force as the initiatives suggest that in order for women to compete they need a less difficult set of requirements. Matriarchal Society In sociological terms, society has been defined through the concept of gender within a balance of power. In these terms, societies are either patriarchal, meaning the power is focused within the male gender, or matriarchal, which means the balance of power is in the female perspective. In known history, there has never really been a matriarchal society. There has been known to be some matriliny in which children took their mother’s name and were attached to her family, and matrilocality in which husbands went to the families and locations of their wives. However, a true matriarchy is not recorded (Eller 44). The supposed nature of a matriarchal society would be very different than a patriarchal society. In the matriarchal society, motherhood is the focus from which power is attained. According to Grint, Engels put forth the argument that the power within a patriarchal society is based upon the premise that “as production - the sphere of men - began to provide surpluses, so it achieved predominance over reproduction” (192). Elements of modern life - social classes, private property, and the state - are a direct result of the production over reproduction power balance. Grint once again quotes Engels as suggesting that “In theory, since patriarchy was derived from private property, and since working men’s exploitation of their female partners was a reflection of their own exploited position within capitalism, the elimination of capitalism and private property would reintroduce sexual equality” (192). This position is supported by Marx who believed that in eliminating capitalism, equality of the genders could be achieved (Grint 192). In this paradigm, capitalism and consumerism are the keys that gave all of the power to the male gender, leaving the domestic sphere outside of the valued skills that had financial ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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