Features News Volume 69, Issue 6

Barriers to Gender Equality

During the current United States presidential campaign,  New York Times reported that Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren that he does not believe that a woman can be elected to this office. This candidate’s view illustrates that sexist attitudes continue even in 2020, posing barriers to women’s political progress. Obstacles such as these confront women in the form of gender discrimination in various areas of today’s society, even though there are laws in place to protect against this unjust treatment.

In the United States, most gender discrimination occurs in the workplace: hiring, pay,, and career advancement, despite legislation in place to prevent it, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Equal Pay Act, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. As such, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families,  white, African American, and Latina women are paid $.79, $.68, and $.55, respectively, for every dollar paid to men. In terms of workplace leadership, only 6% of CEOs of the 500 largest companies are women and for every 100 males promoted to manager only 79 women are, according to study by McKinsey Company.

 Globally, women face even more extreme sex-based discrimination throughout all levels of society. Politically, 155 out of 173 countries continue to enforce laws that allow for unequal treatment of women. In terms of education, one out of every four girls does not attend school in developing countries. Economically, although women represent 50% of the population worldwide, they own a mere 1% of the wealth, according to the Peace Corps.

Locally, Las Lomas students feel that gender discrimination is a concern at school. According to Sophomores Keilah Wright and Eliza Loventhal, although neither has personally experienced inequitable treatment directly, both “believe that gender discrimination exists at Las Lomas.” Wright explains that “it often occurs subconsciously” and she “often notices comments made that are sexist and demean girls,” which confirms the belief that broader sexist attitudes prevail across our society.