Gender Inequality in the USA – Construction of Gender Inequality as a Social problem (SYG 2010)


Gender Inequality in the USA – Construction of Gender Inequality as a Social problem (SYG 2010)

Gender Inequality in USA


Gender inequality in US is a problem that has persisted for quite some time.  Despite being one of the leading economies, USA ranks poorly in gender parity in important sectors such as politics and employment. The women are the most affected gender in the disparities in various sectors. For instance, the gender pay gap is indicative of the low representation of women in the high paying jobs while being underrepresented in the highest paying jobs. Women spend considerable amount of time in undertaking volunteer work as compared to men.

Construction of Gender Inequality as a Social problem

Gender inequality has been constructed as a social problem due to the vast amounts of  light that the media and research reports have shown on the issue.  Jackson(2019) has made a claim of the gender equality taking more than 257 years before being realized.  She argues that the gender pay gap in USA is far from being closed.  In her article, she found out that the gender disparities are evident in four sectors of the economy such as education, politics, health and economics.  The Economic Global Forum Global Gender Gap report indicates that the  women are fairly represented in the middle management jobs while underrepresented in top ranking jobs
(Jackson, 2019). The jobs that are highly hit by automation are predominantly saturated by women. Interestingly, Jackson (2019), found out that women are reluctant in entering professions with high pay such as in the technology sector.

            Gender disparity in the education sector in US is not much pronounced. The enrollment of female students across the various educational levels has surpassed the 90% limit. Also, more women are enrolled in technical institutions as compared to men.  Jackson(2019), found the gender disparities in politics being worrying as a few women take up the electoral sits or even vie for elective posts.

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 Smith (2020) in his research article finds out that US has an issue with women being at the top leadership positions. In his examination of the departure of Elizabeth Warren from the electoral position, it is clear that gender inequality in women in politics is a social problem in US.  Smith(2020) points out that the exit of Warren from the presidential race left the Democratic party with only one woman candidate, a congressman. He raises gender inequality in US  being a social issue since despite other countries in the world taking in women leaders, the glass ceiling in US politics is far from being shuttered.  The gender inequality is constructed as a social issue in politics due to the sentiments accorded to women in political positions. Often, the women who speak gently and firmly are likened to the scolding that one receives from the mother. The research found out that gender inequality is often subscribed to the kind of fashion, tone of hair or even the voice that women possess.  Smith (2020), outlines that it is difficult for women to take up leadership positions in USA. The media has been described as fueling the disparities debate with the framing of the female candidates as unfit for electoral positions.

             Pecanha (2020) found out that the gender inequality portrayed in US politics is paradoxical in nature as more women turn up to vote as compared to men but they still remain underrepresented in leadership positions.  He claims that men have remained dominant in elective positions as compared to women long after women obtained the right to vote.  The women affiliation to Democratic Party has resulted in the democrats having more of the women leaders in representative position as compared to the Republicans. The Black women rate highly as supporters of the Democratic Party as compared to white women.

  Hogan and Perucci (1998) find that the gender disparity is considered as a social problem due to the gaps evident in the pay between the different genders and the differences in the retirement income.  Hogan and Perucci( 1998) raise the issue of gender inequality as a social issue due to the prevailing circumstances in the workplace. They make claims that the women tend to be segregated in occupations across the country. Women rarely work alongside men in the workplaces. The gender wage gap arises as women take up professions that have little progression in the amount of wages earned.  Hogan and Perucci (1998) found out that the retirement income gender gap is evidenced with more men than women earning pension. The probability of women to take up formal employment in addition to the inconsistencies in  employment due to the varying gender  make women to have less opportunities in pension schemes  as compared to men.

 I perceive gender inequality as a social problem especially due to the open manifestation in the political scene. Women are less represented in the leadership positions often leaving men with more than fair ground to engage in. Additionally, I find the media  as influential in the attitudes that people form around a certain candidate.  For instance, the media framing of the republican presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, did much in contribution of her failure in her presidential bid. Often, the people perception of Hillary Clinton from the media is one tough women leader who is easily likened to the tough mothers.

 Getting Gender Inequality on the Radar

The gender inequality can be placed on the social radar through highlighting the discrimination against women in various sectors. For instance, in the economic sector women are lowly represented in the high paying jobs while being over-represented in high paying jobs despite being equally qualified.  The leadership sector shall additionally be highlighted as less women take up leadership positions despite being as qualified as men. Social perceptions of women through their tone, voice and choice of dressing aggregate the impacts of the gender disparity.

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 The solution to the research problems is in advocacy in institutions of policies that compel institutions to maintain gender parity. The formulated policies for instance can stipulate that one third of all electoral posts should be held by women. The policy shall ensure more women are taken up in electoral posts more than the current threshold.

The research paper has sharpened my understanding of the issue of gender disparity despite US being one of the leading economies in the world. I have leant that the glass ceiling in the leadership positions is far from being shattered.  Women leaders are being frowned at. It would take much longer to achieve gender parity in the political scenes. It’s interesting to note that similar life choices may have different results in the real life. For instance, the choice to get married for women may mean the reduced probability in them earning an income.


Hogan, R., & Perrucci, C. C. (1998). Producing and Reproducing Class and Status Differences: Racial and Gender Gaps in U.S. Employment and Retirement Income. Social Problems, 45(4), 528–54

 Jackson, S (2019).Women won’t have equal pay until 2277, gender gap report says. NBC News.

 Pecanha, S (2020) Opinion | At this rate, it’ll take 60 years to reach gender equality in U.S. politics. Washington Post.

Smith, D. (2020, March 6). “We still have a problem with female authority”: how politics sets a trap for American women. The Guardian.

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