Does Sexism Still Exist In The Workplace?

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Does Sexism still exist in the workplace?

Does Sexism still exist in the workplace?


Sexism is the name given to the systematic oppression of women. In its most obvious forms, sexism includes conscious, deliberate, and overt discrimination against women, such as denying women the right to vote or own property, as was the practice in the United States in the early 19th century and is still seen in other parts of the world.

At the other end of the continuum, it also includes subtle behaviors and attitudes that might go unnoticed in everyday life; sexism is operating anytime a woman is expected (or expects herself) to diet to extreme thinness, maintain a youthful appearance in perpetuity, downplay her own competence, accept verbal or physical mistreatment, or otherwise “know her place” (Wolf, 2007). Although the conceptual isolation of sexism is useful for the purposes of discussion, it is important to note that sexism is just one part of an interlocking system of oppression that also includes racism, heterosexism, and classism, among others. So although some overarching themes can be explored with regard to sexism, these themes play out differently in the lives of women of color, lesbians, bisexual women, transgendered people, and poor and working-class women.


The so-called weapons of sexism include violence against women, homophobia, and economics. Males can exercise their aggressive masculinity by committing violence against females to keep them subordinate. Feminists charge that the global proliferation of pornography and the pandemic of battering, rape, sex trafficking, and sexual harassment are evidence of patriarchy as an oppressive worldwide system (Walker, 2006).

Economics is another weapon of sexism. Keeping females less well off economically than males, even though they often have the responsibility of supporting their children or older relatives, ensures female subordination. Unlike in the past, women today are more likely to be financially responsible for children (Albelda, 2005). Women's responsibility for children in a society that does not provide day care and other social services tends to leave them poor. U.S. females working full time earn about $.78 for every dollar earned by a male. Since the Reagan era, poverty has increased among women, a trend known as the feminization of poverty (Sheffield, 2004).

Sexism in the United States

The Wage Cap

The wage gap is one of the most obvious and enduring examples of the continuing presence of sexism in American culture. Despite the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, which outlawed sex discrimination regarding pay, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2005 that for every dollar that a man earns, a woman earns 77 cents. The same report demonstrated that women are 40% more likely to live in poverty than are men (Ronai, 2007).

The National Committee on Pay Equity, a coalition of legal, educational, professional, and civil rights organizations, explained in 2005 that women workers are concentrated in low-wage paying occupations such as clerical, service, and sales positions; furthermore, as women workers become more prevalent in an occupational segment, income levels there decrease. A 2003 ...
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