Occupational Issues In The Workplace Essay

Length: 8 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Sports - Women Type: Essay Paper: #4812043 Related Topics: Workplace Discrimination, Discrimination In The Workplace, Sexual Dysfunction, Sexual Harassment
Excerpt from Essay :

Occupational Health and Safety

As a result of the fact that there is by no means a real sense of equality when it comes to the two genders and discrimination in the American workplace today, it's important to acknowledge that we still have a lot of work to do in terms of fighting for equality. In continuing that fight, it's important to be aware that sexist treatment and gender discrimination are forms of inequality in the workplace and they do add up to a very real occupational hazard for women. This is because such rampant unfairness over one's gender identity can cause tremendous unhappiness, and ultimately lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, insomnia, nausea and headaches.

Balancing work and family tasks can put additional stress on women, who in many families still take primary responsibility for childcare and eldercare. When family and work demands collide, the resulting stress can lead to physical health problems such as poor appetite, lack of sleep, increase in blood pressure, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to infection (CDC.gov). It can also result in mental health problems such as burnout and depression (Cdc.gov, 2014)."Although not many psychological differences between men and women have been demonstrated scientifically, it has been suggested that men usually have higher self-esteem and confidence and that women are more emotionally expressive. Male-female differences in education, socialization and upbringing may lead to differences in the way workers manage their illnesses, their perception of risk, and the propensity to take sick leave or to seek treatment" (who.int, 2014). It's important to be aware of the fact that in different parts of the world, men and women complete different jobs, with women frequently doing less labor-intensive jobs as they can lift only 50% of what a man can lift. Given the different professions that men and women are often in, in conjunction with the different amounts of stress that these different occupations often present, it's important to be well-versed in the unique stressors that women face as they are generally under more stress and pressure in the workplace, and thus have more occupational woes and concerns.

The Wage Gap

The wage gap, or the difference in earnings between men and women for the same amount of work completed is alive and well in America today. Rather than treating the wage gap as an unfortunate reality, but one which must be tolerated and which cannot be fixed, the wage gap needs to be treated as a manifestation of real inequality and one which causes very real health and safety issues for women. While 3% of the fulltime workforce out earns men, the remaining 97% does not (americanprogress.org). "Education, success, and occupational prestige are not enough to protect women from the gender wage gap. While data show that American women are in more senior managerial professions than other OECD countries, these high-achieving women are still disadvantaged by an above-average wage gap. Managerial professionals, CEOs, and administrators all rank in the top 10 occupations in which women earn less than men" (americanprogress.org). This is truly detrimental information as it indicates that women will find that even their education, success, prestige or other accomplishments will not be able to protect them from the rampant unfairness and discrimination that still exists today in the job market. This means that women will not be able to expect to earn as much as a man in most industries, regardless of their accomplishments. Such a discovery could no doubt have a profoundly catastrophic impact on one's self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Imagine if one realized that regardless of how hard one works or what one is able to accomplish, one will never be rewarded for it...

...

Such a realization can be crushing as it means that one's intelligence, hard work and achievements will never be valued in the way that a man's achievements will be. Furthermore, it's important to notice that in the jobs where women out-earn men, it's just by a slight percentage. In the jobs where men out-earn women, it generally by an uncomfortably high percentage, such as a third. This list of figures, "…tops out with women earning a premium of 6.4% compared to their male counterparts, compared to a 39.4% gap in the top occupation where men earn more than women" (americanprogress.org). Its important o acknowledge that the most ideal scenario is one where there is no wage gap: women and men should be paid equally for equal work. However, it's time to pay attention to the fact that not only are men being paid a lion's share more than women in most professions, but this melancholy fact is wreaking a certain amount of psychological stress. Studies have demonstrated that women have lower amounts of self-esteem than men and lower levels of self-worth. The realities are that in spite of the achievements which have been made, there still remain massive amounts of inequality in the workforce. "And yet, as we've worked, ever diligent, the men around us have continued to get promoted faster and be paid more. The statistics are well-known: at the top, especially, women are nearly absent, and our numbers are barely increasing. Half a century since women first forced open the boardroom doors, our career trajectories still look very different from men's" (Kay & Shipman, 2014). Some believe that the self-esteem and self-worth issues that stem from women being under-paid and largely under-valued are some of the issues which only help to perpetuate this lack of inequality. Low self-worth and low self-esteem are all elements which contribute to low confidence, which thus attribute to lower levels of achievement and success. The fact that women's work is so undervalued, only allows the situation to be perpetuated indefinitely. This imbalance of promotion and earning potential in the workplace means that a gap in confidence has been perpetuated between the sexes: "Compared with men, women don't consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they'll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities. This disparity stems from factors ranging from upbringing to biology" (Kay & Shipman, 2014). Thus, it's important to acknowledge that it's not just the skewed ecological playing field of the workforce today which contributes to this situation. There are elements of the different make-up between men and women as attributing to the confidence gap, which are worth noting, along with massive differences in the ways in which littler girls are raised in comparison to little boys. The way the different genders are socialized is also a contributing factor in this dilemma.

Regardless of where it comes from, numerous forms of research demonstrate just how badly it is creating an occupational environment for women which is just toxic. "A growing body of evidence shows just how devastating this lack of confidence can be. Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels. All of that is the bad news. The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired. Which means that the confidence gap, in turn, can be closed" (Kay & Shipman, 2014). While this is a positive note to end things on, the reality is that it's important to address the very real health issues for women that this poisonous environment creates: aside from low self-esteem and low self-worth, the gap in confidence means that women will experience things like anxiety and depression along with other symptoms which will only succeed in keeping them from increased success.

Earning Gap: Overlapping Roles

Another element which no doubt contributes directly or indirectly to the earning gap is the fact that women are often working incredibly over-lapping roles. Many women don't just have the real stress concerns that are presented to them in the workplace, but they often have even aggravated levels of stress at home as well. After a long day at work, women also have to pick the kids up from school, cook dinner, help kids with their homework, and clean-up the house, along with a host of other duties. With the divorce rate being what it is today, many women are single-parents and have to juggle all of these responsibilities on their own. These intense stressors mean that women are just at a disadvantage when it comes to achieving at work, and are other contributing factors to the wage-imbalance. Consider the following findings when it comes to low-income women and being a single mother: "Single mothers were twice as likely as their married counterparts to be in financial hardship, despite being twice as likely to be in full-time employment. Both of these factors were independently associated with onset in single mothers. The link between them and onset was via their association with humiliating or entrapping severe life events. Single parents were at a much raised risk of experiencing these events. Onset was also more likely to follow such an event…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Americanprogress.org. (2014). The Gender Wage Gap Differs by Occupation. Retrieved from americanprogress.org: http://americanprogress.org/issues/labor/news/2013/04/09/59698/the-gender-wage-gap-differs-by-occupation/

Brown, G., & Moran, P. (1997). Single mothers, poverty and depression. Psychological Medicine, 21-33.

Cdc.gov. (2013). Work-related health challenges facing women. Retrieved from cdc.gov: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/women/

Kay, K., & Shipman, C. (2014, April 14). The Confidence Gap. Retrieved from Theatlantic.com: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/


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