America has come a long way in terms of gender equality, but, Susan Adams, a professor of management at Bentley University asks a very important question. ‘How long will it be before the gender of a presidential candidate is non-issue?’ How long indeed. There are many recognized reasons why this is but there are also some reasons that are not so well known.
Chores at home are still considered feminine roles.
Although American Dads have tripled the amount of time they help out with childcare over the last 50 years, they are still not doing enough chores to lighten the load that women do around the house. In a study carried out by sociologists at Indiana University it was discovered that over two thirds of American adults believe that women in heterosexual relationships should be responsible for doing the cooking, cleaning, laundry and buying the groceries.
This shows that many women themselves believe it is their role around the house. Gender roles have become so ingrained over the years that women automatically assume these gender roles without even questioning it.
In the same study, participants were given descriptions of same sex couples, one of whom was stereotypically ‘masculine’ and the other ‘feminine.’ Two thirds of the participants thought that the ‘feminine’ partner should do the housework as they incorrectly presumed that same sex couples follow straight gender roles in their relationship. The idea of gender specific roles is so deeply ingrained in people that they are simply taken as the norm.
There are less female inventors than men.
Lydia Dishman recently made a report to Fast Company stating that in 2010 only 7.7% of new U.S patents were filed by women. There are a number of likely reasons for this, a large one is the gender gap in STEM fields. According to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the few women who are inventors tend to file patents in female-dominated fields like jewellery (26.7% of all patents) and apparel (25.3%). It’s typically when women belong to a group of inventors, the report found, that they’re better represented in other fields, like chemistry and pharmaceuticals. Even female scientists and inventors are genderizing their own work to things that are considered ‘female’ in the field.
11% of U.S employees don’t believe in equal pay for women
In March, Glassdoor discovered that a massive 11% of workers do not think women and men should get the same pay for doing the same job. Many companies have recently committed to ensuring equal pay amongst their employees, but many companies have not committed to do so and some have even been disclosed publically stating that they do not give equal pay to men and women carrying out the same job. If female employees believe they don’t deserve the same pay and male employees believe they are worth more than women, there is some way to go to achieve complete gender equality in society. The change can only come about when women believe themselves they are capable of becoming leaders or earning more money than men, men can accept women are equal and are prepared to do work they normally presume is a woman’s job and our future generations grow up to believe there are no such things as gender roles. When this attitude happens only then will gender equality have been achieved.