GRSJ224/Gender Equality of Opportunity

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Equality of Opportunity

Equality of opportunity stipulates that all job applicants regardless of religion, sex, ethnicity, race, case, age, gender, identity, sexual orientation, disabilities, upbringing, and having well-connected relatives or friends should be treated fairly, given equal chance to apply, be selected, advance, and receive equal pay. Specifically according to the United Nations' landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948, it is stated that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, … birth or other status"[1].

In relevance to gender equality of opportunity, one of the 17, particularly the 5th, United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is gender equality which recognizes the persisting discrimination faced by women and girls worldwide. The aim is to provide women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes.

Discrimination on the Basis of Gender


Studies and meta-analyses in the past decade have shown evidence in the different job attribute preferences between men and women congruent with gender roles, stereotypes and the traditional family responsibilities of women and men. What this refers to is that women when considering jobs tend to focus on good hours, physical environment, social relationships and other intrinsic aspects while men place higher value on pay, opportunities of advancement, challenge, leadership and power[2]. In addition, women even when controlled for education level and race, avoid professions where there are few female role models, where they are likely to face discrimination and bias by male peers, and unlikely to find mentors. This is fully supported by an side-note fact that 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15-49 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period and 49 countries currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence[1].

Access to Supervisory Jobs

The breakthrough of women's access to managerial positions has played and continues to play a large role in decreasing the gender wage gap. Sociologists and economists have postulated different reasons for this result including a lower likelihood of women to discriminate against other women. A key consideration supported by a 2015 U.S. labor force study is that women who report to a female supervisor over a male supervisor earn higher pay. This happens even more so in more liberal states than conservative states[3]. However it is important to note that clear cause-and-effects cannot be deduced by the research today despite strong suggestive correlations, and future studies need to be conducted in order to better understand how and in what contexts female leadership ameliorates gender inequality.

Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is the gap between what men and women are paid. Usually, this refers to the median annual pay of all women who work full time year-round compared to the pay of all men who work full time year-round. This gap persists to exist for many reasons including bias against working mothers, occupational segregation, racial bias, disability, access to education, and age. The biggest issue at hand within the scope of gender pay gap is that male-dominated industries tend to have higher wages than industries and occupations made up mostly of female workers, insinuating that 'society values women’s work less, and therefore jobs dominated by women generally pay less than those dominated by men'[4].

For example in the case of engineering, a field where women make up only about 12% of the workforce population making them highly underrepresented, women constantly face wage penalties compared with men. In addition, women face 'exclusion and marginalization from their male engineering peers'[5].

In Canada, about 50% of the gender pay gap exists due to the fact that women tend to work in lower-paying industries and jobs—women-dominated industries tended to have lower average pay compared to sectors dominated by their counterpart. The fact that women tend to sort themselves into lower-paying occupations is a problem for not just Canada, but just as much for the U.S. and the U.K.. It is currently impossible to deduce whether these industries are just valued less by society which is paradoxically a completely different issue yet part of the vicious gender wage gap cycle or women choose these fields to avoid discrimination, feel more welcomed, and 'abide' by societal standards for their comfort.

Perceived Workplace Gender Discrimination and it's Implications

Although gender discrimination is a reality and statistically present in the every day, perceived gender discrimination poses a complication in hindering and self-handicapping women in the workplace and in any aspect in regards to occupation. Meta-analysis of correlations from across 10 countries have found that perceived discrimination at work is 'negatively related to job attitudes, psychological health, physical health outcomes and behaviours, and work-related outcomes'[6]. These negative effects can be seen stronger in more gender-egalitarian countries like North America and the U.S as compared to East Asian countries.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Gender Equality". United Nations. Retrieved November 20, 2019. 
  2. Corrigall, Elizabeth; Konrad, Alison (January 2006). "The Relationship of Job Attribute Preferences to Employment, Hours of Paid Work, and Family Responsibilities: An Analysis Comparing Women and Men". Sex Roles. 54: 95–111 – via ProQuest.  line feed character in |title= at position 46 (help)
  3. Maume, David; Ruppanner, Leah (March 2015). "State liberalism, female supervisors, and the gender wage gap". Social Science Research. 50: 126–138 – via Elsevier Science Direct. 
  4. Elsesser, Kim (April 1, 2019). "The Gender Pay Gap And The Career Choice Myth". Forbes. Retrieved November 20, 2019. 
  5. Cech, Erin (June 2013). "Ideological Wage Inequalities? The Technical/Social Dualism and the Gender Wage Gap in Engineering". Social Forces. 91: 1147–1182 – via JSTOR. 
  6. del Carmen Triana, María; Jayasinghe, Mevan; Pieper, Jenna; María Delgado, Dora; Li, Mingxiang (July 2019). "Perceived Workplace Gender Discrimination and Employee Consequences: A Meta-Analysis and Complementary Studies Considering Country Context". Journal of Management. 45: 2419–2447 – via Sagepub.  line feed character in |title= at position 42 (help)