Sex Discrimination


Despite Legislation for Equal Opportunities, sexism is still in evidence in
the workplace.

Sexism is a particular concern for society when considering it\'s effect in the
workplace. Sexism has always been a particular problem in the labour
market especially with the formation of capitalism. In the last half of the
20th century this has been especially highlighted due to the increase of
woman entering the labour market. This aroused the need for a legislation
for equal opportunity for both sex\'s to be passed in 1975. It stated that
discrimination of a persons sex whether male or female was unlawful in
employment, union membership, education, provision of goods, services,
advertisements and pay.

In this essay the discussion will cover subjects such as why woman hold a
large percentage of the work force in companies but hardly any seem to
have any power. Obstacles in the way of woman in careers, ifwomen
prefer different jobs to men, equal pay for both sexes and what\'s changed
since the law was made an Act of Parliament. This essay will only
concentrate on the problem of sex discrimination in the U.K.

Sex discrimination means that a person gets treated in a less favorable
manner because of their sex. A good example of this is to take two fictional
characters, Mr. and Mrs. Jones. The Jones\'s want to go swimming, they get
to the swimming baths where they find that Mrs. Jones is charged an O.A.P.
price while Mr. Jones has to pay the full price even though they are both the
same age. This is because woman become pensioners at the age of sixty
while men cannot gain the benefits until they are sixty five.

Sex discrimination is not only present within the older generation but is also
evident throughout the entire age range. Before legislation was passed in the
1960\'s most young girls left school after O-levels to receive a strong social
message that their careers where already setup for them as marriage and
motherhood (Pascall 1995: 2). The only jobs they would be getting were
tedious low paid jobs (a Secretary) and be only looking forward to when
they would meet a man, have a family and settle down. Statistics show that
in 1971, 51% of married women did not work compared to 29% in 1993
(Pascall 1995: 3). Women now hold 46% of the labor work force, with
young women seeing housework more of a part-time rather than a full time
job. This is an enormous social change for the family giving women less
dependence on marriages which are increasingly falling apart day by day
and a greater command over the increasing area of technology and resources.
With more women getting jobs, it encourages other woman who were reluctant
to move into the labour market to do the same and become more career
minded.

Although woman now make up 46% of the English work force only 3% of
woman hold chief executive positions. This has only increased by 2% in the
last 20 years (Mildrew 1992: 17). A point to be raised here is that as the
hierarchy of management positions increases, the amount of women in these
positions decreases. This quite clearly means that woman do not hold the
prestige and influence that men do, as their sector of high ranking jobs is so
small. We\'ve all heard men say at some point, "I just don\'t understand
women", yet there are only 5 woman High Court Judges out of 91 men and 28
women circuit judges out of 496 men in the Judiciary in 1993 (Pascall 1995:
2).

Thanks to media attention women do have access to careers. In 1980 woman
made up 12-14% of professional and managerial jobs. In 1990 the figure had
raised to 32% managers/administrators and 40% professionals. On the other
hand women seem to fall into different sectors to men, they make up 62% of
teachers and librianship but only 25% of business and financial professionals
and shockingly only 5% of engineers and technologists. Teaching is a qualified
position, 90% of primary school teachers and 60% of secondary teachers are
women but 50% primary and 80% secondary school heads are men. This is the
same right the way across the specturm, in university only 5% of professors
are women (Pascall 1995: 3).

This segregation of gender in different jobs can be separated into two
dimensions, vertical and horizontal. Vertical segregation is the segregation
of gender in the hierarchy of power in a certain job. Woman tend to be found at
the low end of vertical segregation in professional occupations. Horizontal
segregation is the segregation of gender in the spread of different
occupations.

Woman are