Free «Gender Discrimination» UK Essay Paper
Modern society claims to be at such a stage of its development when discrimination as a reality of social life is unacceptable. Therefore, one of the main targets of nowadays’ world community is a fight against any discrimination. Along with discrimination, gender discrimination has always been an actual and crucial issue. Many scientists, including sociologists, have paid significant attention to the danger of women’s discrimination. After a thorough discovering of this issue, the opinions of researchers were divided into two main groups. The first group thinks that gender discrimination is a serious problem that creates serious obstacles for women’s career development; the other group claims that there is no interrelation between sex and career opportunities. In such a situation, it is necessary to rely on the peculiarities of a modern economic system. One of its distinctive features is the orientation on getting as much profit as possible. Another one is the openness to the talented individuals (Friedman, 1970). The combination of these two elements almost wipes out all the prejudices about gender discrimination and gives a person an opportunity to use his or her creativity, ambitions, and uniqueness as a tool to success, regardless of the sex aspect. There is also a wide range of laws called to protect the rights of women as potential victims of discrimination. Among them, there are Equal Pay Act, Title VII Pay discrimination, and a number of other acts. Court practice in applying to these legal norms is rich in different precedents that form and develop the basis for protection from discrimination. All these aspects will be discussed in this paper.
Despite the variety of opinions on the issue of discrimination, it is necessary to outline that some facts evidently show that the problem of gender discrimination is too exaggerated. According to the duty ethics, a person should do things and act, relying on the criteria, whether this thing or action is right or wrong. A person should not think about the outcomes of the action but just do what is right, what is necessary. Applying this theory to the situation with gender discrimination, one should to say that women as alleged victims of discrimination must work harder. In addition, they should concentrate on the quality of their work. Under such conditions, women would not have time for blaming others and they will improve their work at the same time. In such a way, they would both hone their skills and get higher positions without any claims on imaginative discrimination. Therefore, there is just need to do what one has to do, and the result will come inevitably (Friedman, 1970).
Numerous facts prove that gender discrimination is not a fact of discrimination itself. First, according to the results of many investigations, there is a real disproportion in wages of men and women (Furchtgott-Roth, 2010). It may seem to be an important evidence of gender discrimination. However, it is necessary to think a little bit more about the conditions of the wages. After a thorough examination, it turns out that the widespread claim about “75 cents that women make for every dollar men make” (Dougherty, 2010) is only half of the truth. It means that generally, men earn more money, but the reasons for this are more than adequate and just. It is a result of the fact that men choose more difficult and, subsequently, better-paid jobs. Secondly, much more men work full-time in contrast to women who prefer family and often work part-time or take a maternity leave, which influences their professional experience. According to statistics, the difference between the men’s and women’s salaries depends on such objective facts as education, prior criteria for a workplace, a number of working hours, experience and personal ambitions (Bader, 2013). As women generally have lower educational degrees, prefer comfortable social environment to a high salary, work mostly part-time and take a maternity leave, they receive smaller compensations for objective reasons (Bader, 2013).
Another fact is that men are more often inclined to be oriented to the opportunity of career growth, while women tend to look for not a good salary but a friendly environment and some additional services such as insurance and other issues (Furchtgott-Roth, 2010). Duty-based ethics proposes the bet way to solve the current dilemma. If women start perceiving their work as a good, right thing to do, they should forget about any possible sequences or conditions of their work, including salary and further opportunities. In such a way, there comes a situation when people forget about profit and work to achieve a good result. It leads to the significant improvement of the quality of work and, subsequently, the raise of one’s salary. Therefore, focusing on the duty as the aim itself gives the desirable result without any conflicts and fights against stable social systems. It is clear from the current economic system built on the encouragement of each attempt of an employee to contribute to the development and greater profit of the organization (Friedman, 1970). Moreover, the legal background also especially supports and protects all the rights of employees who come from their duties. For instance, Equal Pay Act guarantees justice of payment for the same kind and amount of work, irrespective of the gender aspect. It means that duties to fulfill the work by an employee also bind the employer with the obligation to pay money according to the difficulty of the task and other objective conditions but in no way according to such an illegal and subjective criterion as gender.
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It is necessary to compare duty-based theory with other ethical theories to understand the relevance of duty-based theory as the best way to overcome the issues of gender discrimination. For instance, there is an interesting way to solve gender discrimination according to the virtue ethics. This theory is based on the belief that actions are classified as right or wrong not because of the meanings of those actions themselves but because of the person who acts. A virtuous person acts and behaves virtuously. According to this theory, the issue of gender discrimination should be considered different from the duty-based concept. As virtue ethics concentrates rather on a person than on action, it means that the fight against discrimination would be identified as a virtuous one under the condition that actors of this movement are considered virtuous persons. However, the weakest point of this approach is that it does not pay proper attention to the facts that precede the action. It means that if women are considered virtuous persons, then their fight against discrimination is also virtuous automatically. However, the crucial point in case with gender discrimination is to determine whether this claim has sufficient grounds and evidence as well as whether this situation takes place objectively or it is just the way to get some benefits from the situation. That is why it seems obvious that duty-based theory or deontology meets this basic requirement and helps to analyze the action as the right one or not, which overall leads to the effective result.
However, some may object to this thesis as follows. For instance, the case from the Supreme Court of the USA ILLY M. LEDBETTER, PETITIONER v. THE GOOD-YEAR TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY, INC is a well-known situation, connected with a fight against pay discrimination, based on gender aspect (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. 550 U.S. 618,2006). This case raised numerous discussions in American society. On the one hand, there was an evident disadvantage in one of the legal procedures related to the claim about discrimination. The point is that to be entitled to file a suit, a discriminated person is obliged to file a claim at EEOC within 180 days from the moment the act of discrimination took place. However, such a condition seemed to be unjust and hardly achievable, taking into account the reality of working conditions (Brake & Grossman, 2007). There was a widespread opinion that it was rather difficult to determine the fact of discrimination and it could last for years, and discriminated person would not even know about it (Bader, 2013). The matter is that the current labor market has a stable practice of keeping confidential information about the salary and other financial aspects of employment for each employee. It means that usually, these issues are not discussed among the staff. Such a situation creates favorable conditions for the discrimination from the side of an employer with a minimal risk to be exposed. Another important aspect raised with a help of this court case is related to the further reputational sequences for those who have managed to sue for gender discrimmination. The social opinion about those who blame their employers for discrimination is more negative than positive. Such people get the status of enormously sensitive individuals prone to conflicts. Moreover, the potential employers will have less desire to approve the candidate who may take him into a court in the nearest future. Additionally, it is necessary to mention that the court practice show, that only a few cases of this category are usually successful for the plaintiff. However, even positive judgment hardly covers expenses of the litigants for the defense and legal help (Bader, 2013). Overall, it turns out that the majority of those who become the victims of discrimination have serious psychological barriers and social pressure, which prevents them from fighting and protecting their rights.
However, even these arguments are not competitive and reasonable enough to state that gender discrimination is a significant problem for modern society. The first claim is that high level of secrecy makes it too difficult or almost impossible for a discriminated person to detect the fact of unequal treatment. However, as it followed from the official comments of lawyers, including honorable judges from the Supreme Court of the USA, the situations when discrimination was not obvious to the plaintiff do not follow the rule about 180 days of claim period (Brake & Grossman, 2007). Moreover, it is important to outline that each employee should feel and take personal responsibility for the relationships with employers. It means that the employee is the one who should make sure by any possible means that his or her rights are followed and protected.
Another aspect is a fear to be judged by society and to lose the case. This fear may serve as a positive factor too. First, the social pressure will exclude a number of those individuals who would like to use discrimination as a tool of their employer’s blackmail. Secondly, it creates such extreme conditions for the plaintiff that he or she is ready to fight for truth until the end. It means that those, who are truly victims of discrimination, have a chance to protect and reimburse their rights, and what is more, serve as an example for other silent victims.
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The last aspect is court practice rewards to the discrimination cases. Even though the judges are inclined to reject the claims of plaintiffs, there are still many positive judgments. It means that the judge relies not on the prejudices formed by the precedents or public opinion but on the relevance of evidence, the presence of proven fact of discrimination, and the letter of law as a respectful tool in the treatment of the court cases.
In conclusion, it is necessary to sum up the key aspects of gender discrimination in its interrelation with duty-based theory. Gender discrimination issue takes its roots from the very beginning of social relations. Doubtlessly, the economic development has encouraged women to work, which made the question of sex-based discrimination even more actual. There were historical periods when gender discrimination deprived women of many advantages of social life, including equal and justice payment or possibility to work in general. However, nowadays, society is targeted to be gender-blinded, which means that the priority to a candidate for vacancy is given not because of his or her gender but because of the intelligence, creativity, and other significant aspects of each person. Under these circumstances, all the claims about the unequal treatment of men and women by employers seem to be as reasonable as the majority of feminists claim. Nowadays, the profit that the work of a person may give to an employer is the priority in making the decision about hiring. Subsequently, there is an evident interrelation: if a person, irrespective of the gender works hard and he or she is determined to reach success, the surrounding circumstances will facilitate to this aim all the way long. If a person takes the work as a right duty, he or she has a positive attitude to the thing he or she does. A person does not have time to complain about his or her destiny, as there is a firm confidence in the fact that the thing is right. Such a confidence is a key element that inevitably leads to success. Therefore, the one who wants – seeks for opportunities, the one who does not want – seeks for reasons.
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