Discrimination in the workforce has long been a talked about issue in the United States. Once a hot button topic that many assumed had been taken care of, a clear and definite solution was never given and the problem of gender discrimination has persisted in the workforce today. I was not particularly aware of any discrimination of women of late until I was scrolling through my Facebook page (typical college student, I know), and discovered that three of my very close friends had shared the same article. Bill O’Reilly’s: “There has got to be some disadvantage to having a female president. Right?” became an overnight Facebook sensation with over 1 million shares. The quote that quickly became famous deserves to be included in this blog post.
“There haven’t been that many strong women leaders throughout history. But when you’re president of the United States you have to deal with people like Putin, you have got to deal with the real ornery Mullahs in Iran. Look, the Mullahs in Iran, they think women are like subspecies.”
I would also recommend watching the actual video footage of the incident here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/dorsey/bill-oreilly-there-has-got-to-be-some-downside-to-having-a-w
In case you do not have the time to watch the clip, here is a quick summary. In the interview with two other female correspondents, Bill O’Reilly repeatedly asked the women to come up with negative aspects of having a female president. Both looking extremely awkward and uncomfortable (and later frustrated and angry), and replied that there would be no more negativity involved with having a female president versus a male president. Both tried to make it clear to Mr. O’Reilly that he was being extremely sexist, but he missed their signals.
Curious as to what other articles/new stories about discrimination I had missed, I did a quick google news search for female discrimination in the work force. I was shocked with the number of recent articles that I discovered. Intrigued, I dug deeper in the source of the discrimination.
Discrimination of women can include any of the following: “Sexual harassment, withholding promotions based on gender, giving a different job title to a woman and preventing women from participating in training opportunities.” Discrimination against females can occur in several different categories: Pregnancy, appearance, physical availability, wages and consequence to employers.
Many employers will not hire pregnant women due to the fact that they are allotted 12 weeks of leave to take care of the child and the assumption that they will not be able to work as many hours with a family to take care of. Due to this form of discrimination, many who are either pregnant or think they will become pregnant within the year, conceal that fact from their interviewer. A women’s appearance is also a common form of discrimination when hiring. An attractive woman may be more likely to get hired and/or they might be less likely to be hired based on the “distraction” that they could cause in the office. For jobs that require physical strength, a woman might not get hired based on the thought process that she might not be able to complete the physical tasks as fast and/or efficiently as her male co-workers. Women also experience discrimination when it comes to wages. On average women earn 80% less than the average male worker. Although that statistic has been gradually lowering over several years, there is still a lot of work that has to be done to make the wages of men and women equal.
Not only is discrimination on display in many social aspects of daily life (see last blog post) but as mentioned above, it is also on clear display in the workforce. Although Bill O’Reilly was not the first to reinforce the fact that discrimination still exists, his comments brought forth a huge negative out lash from Fox viewers. As American citizens, we all must realize that our modern society is constantly changing. We have to change with it and catch up with the times. It is time for discrimination in the workforce to end (Equal rights (and pay) for all women worldwide.) It is time for the US to set the precedent!