Gender equality in the workplace is something that involves offering men and women the same rewards, opportunities, and resources in a work context. Gender inequality is a problem in both developing and industrialized countries around the world, including the United States. In recent decades, research into and awareness of factors that contribute to gender inequality, such as the glass ceiling, pay gap, and gender segregation, has increased. However, there is still a lot to be done in order to achieve equality in the United States.


According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the United States is steadily falling behind other developed countries when it comes to women’s equality in the workplace. This is presumed to be due to a lack of government, societal, and business investment in support for this cause. The U.S. ranked dead last on an index of twenty countries when it came to gender equality. The index was based on women-friendly workplace policies, such as family-related leave, part-time employment, and flexible work arrangements for women with children. The United States is the only developed country that has yet to make paid parental leave mandatory for companies. Statistics indicate that only 16% of companies in the United States offer paid leave for parents following a birth.

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Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination refers to the fact that men have more opportunities in the workplace than women. For instance, men who apply for positions in academic institutions are more likely to receive higher appointments, including tenure positions or full professorships as opposed to women with similar qualifications. In the serving industry, women are less likely than men to receive offers for interviews or jobs for high-paying positions. This is partially based on customer preference for male servers as opposed to female ones. Men are also more likely to be hired for positions that are traditionally considered more masculine, for instance management positions.

Gender Segregation by Occupation

Gender segregation by occupation refers to the representation of males and females in each field. It also refers to the overrepresentation of men in management positions. In the United States, women have begun to enter traditionally male-dominated fields in the past two decades; however, there have not been increases in men entering female-dominated positions.

The Pay Gap

The pay gap refers to the difference in pay between a man and a woman doing the same job. The International Labor Organization indicated in 2010 that women are likely to earn approximately 81% of what men earn for doing the same job. In the 1990s, the Equal Pay Act is a piece of legislation that was introduced to target this inequality and indeed pay disparities have improved since then.

Quick Summary

Gender equality in the workplace refers to the opportunities that are available for women and men in the United States. Although the situation has improved in the past two decades, women are still at a disadvantage when it comes to pay, discrimination, and gender segregation.