Gender inequalities are everywhere we look. Stereotypes undermine everything we do. Just from our names, media and toys, predisposed path are laid out in front of us, and these paths affect more in our lives than one might think.
The work place is a prime place that perpetuates the inequalities between genders. When people think of a CEO, generally a male prototype pops into our minds. According to Thinkprogress, only 4.5% of CEOs in the U.S. are female, and women in power make $1.6 million less than their male counterparts.
Just based on gender, some jobs are more likely to be filled by men. According to Thinkprogress, 15% of women surveyed said they were denied jobs and promotions because of their gender. Studies by the Association for Psychological Science show there are noticeable differences in the numbers of women and men in the fields of science and math.
In addition to job discrimination, women are also judged for their appearance far more than their intellectual ability. Esther McVey, a politician in Britain, was walking down the street in a very nice grey dress when the press attacked her outfit. They said she looked like she was going to a nightclub and the slit in her dress was way too high, among other ridiculous accusations.
Gender inequalities even undermine our shopping experiences. There is such thing as the “Pink Tax.” Companies take advantage of the already existing stereotype that most women love to shop. They add this “pink tax” to everyday products just because they are marketed to women. For example, women’s deodorant is 30 cents more than a man’s, even though there is nothing different about them. Other products like shampoo, razors, pain relievers, and body sprays get different pricing when their ingredients are almost identical. They lure in the female customers and end up charging them extra money. When junior Hanna Chuang learned of the pink tax, she was shocked. “That’s ridiculous,” Chuang said.
The bottom line is women pay for the perceived value of the company or brand. An example of a company at fault would be Dove. Dove sells women’s products, and sells the idea they are all about empowering women. However, Dove also owns Axe, a brand dedicated to men’s deodorants which are priced lower.
The above pictures are Dove and Axe deodorants from Target. The men’s prices are cheaper than women’s, and they have more deodorant inside. The men’s is 2.7 ounces and the women’s is 2.6 ounces, so the women pay more for less. Furthermore, the companies are owned by the same people – obvious inequalities. Junior Maddy Werner commented, “I don’t think it’s fair for the companies to charge more, because they know we have to buy the product. It’s very manipulative.”
It all starts when we’re infants. From the time we are born our culture has chosen a path for us based on our gender. When we are taken to toy stores at a young age, there are clear sides for each gender. Boys go to one side, typically filled with blues and “tougher” toys: trucks, action figures, and “manly” toys. The other side is pink and filled with Barbies, princesses and kitchen appliances.
It may start with our families, but is perpetuated by the media, marketing, and society. Gender stereotypes are everywhere; that’s what makes them so challenging to combat.
How do we change this? We need to spread awareness. Some actions are already being taken. For example, the Pink Tax issue has started a hashtag on Twitter to spread the word that women get overpriced for the same products sold to men.
We also need to teach young girls that it is okay to play with G.I Joe’s or trucks. We need to teach young boys that it is okay to play with Barbies and princesses. When our generation has children, we should teach our kids that gender doesn’t need to define us, starting with the toys we choose for them or the colors we paint their rooms.
If we don’t start spreading the word, little girls will grow up to think they can’t be CEOs of companies, and little boys will grow up thinking they can’t be nurses, ballerinas, or many other “female jobs.” It’s as simple as stopping the perpetuation of the stereotypes. The inequalities hurt everyone when we are not free to choose our paths regardless of our genders. So it’s up to all of us to make the change.