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History of sexism

Misogyny and discrimination are some of the most redundant marks of the social, political, economic and cultural ergonomics of the world. In almost every era, from the industrial revolution to the information age, the power struggle between the sexes has seen the prolonged discrimination of women. One of the most understandable methods that this discrimination has manifested itself in modern society is the inequality in the opportunities that women and men have at the workplace. Men get paid more for the same positions women hold. In some industries, the very idea of a woman taking up a position is borderline unacceptable. Construction is one such industry. 

While in the United States there has been a recorded growth in the number of women who are hired into the construction industry by 11.6%, the numbers are still wanting to given the number of construction projects has grown almost as much making the change almost insignificant. This can be associated with a board spectrum of factors from construction project management, curriculum frameworks, poorly informed girl child nurturing, and legal policies and procedures. This consequently has a ripple effect on the staffing, training, and talent management in other industries as well as industries that are closely related to construction. While this is a key concern in gender equality, it is the responsibility of project management to pioneer change in the staffing policies, making the environment more accommodative, and instigate change on sexist attitudes towards the respective careers (Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor, 2017).

Sexism in the 21st century

The 21st Century has seen a significant growth in education and employment opportunities for women. Still, issues surrounding misogyny and sexist perspective and attitudes career are still prevalent in some career lines, and inequalities continue to undermine the advancement and progress of such industries and disciplines. While there are industries that continue to show progressive and significant strides in implementing equality of the sexes at the workplace, the construction trade continues falls behind in that respect.  Women that have the desire to make significant input and advance in the construction industry continue to face many challenges to the extent of limited access to entry-level jobs as well as the executive jobs, those who make it past entry face challenges in the workplace such as the overcoming the harsh environment such as sexist attitudes (Yi & Baggott, 2016). An intrinsic approach to the industry shows that 99% of employees in the infrastructural industry of the United States of America are men (Williams, 2017). It is ridiculous that construction as a career for women is still perceived outrageous. This review discusses the inequality in the construction trade both internationally and in the USA.

The 20th century made significant provisions to improve the equality of gender in the industries that supported their economies. For instance, in 1941, the first pro-equality committee was established. The Fair Employment Practices Committee was a significant first step to the road to gender equality at the office. For one, they made a policy where all vocational training programs and contractors that were under the federal government to implement policies and changes in their human resources (Dainty, Bagihole, Ansari, & Jackson, 2004). The goal of such a directive was to push for equal opportunities for all Americans. The directive that created the committee did not explicitly define sex as a single significant influence of creation of the committee. It, however, presented itself as a potential problem when the statistics indicated that 30% of the complaints came from women (Williams, 2015).

At the time, a lot of the men that formerly worked in factories and blue-collar jobs in the US had confirmed fighting in the Second World War. Their departure from the economy saw women take up non-traditional jobs in a bid to support the war economy. What was initially, an opportunity not apparent to many women became a plausible career choice (Ness, 2011). Upon return from war, the war veterans took back their original positions across different industries. By 1962, the Fair Employment Practices Committee sought to increase their scope for protection rights against discrimination in the workplace. For the second time, women were not considered under the protection of the improved policy on equality at the workplace (Ness, 2011). 

Civil Rights Movement

In late 60s and 70s, the Civil Rights Movement increased literacy, and cultural change saw a lot of single mothers take up office jobs. The movement saw the acknowledgment of sexism as a basis for discrimination (Ness, 2011). More women began demanding for equal payment and protection against discrimination and harassment at the workplace. In 1964, the Civil Rights Movement saw the protection of women by federal law after sex was added as a basis for discrimination. By 1978, the Civil Rights Act had ensured to protect the American Citizens from discrimination in the workplace on sexual, race, cultural and gender basis (Ness, 2011). 

Although the early 90s all through to 2017 has seen an aggressive and very efficient campaign for equality on all fronts of life, some areas still face many challenges in achieving the equality in job opportunities and even equal payment for marginalized groups of people. Among the most affected professions is the construction industry. It is safe to assume that when it comes to the construction industry, the amount of physical and very difficult manual jobs pose a significant cultural and social paradigm shift with regard to traditional jobs and gender roles.  An important point to note is that, the construction industry does not become solely dependent on masons and manual tasks. Far from that, the construction industry has segmented and a large number of skills that do not include manual tasks. Still, the industry suffers the highest imbalance regarding the equal participation of the sexes. 

The industrial revolution inspired a lot of different job opportunities between the sexes. For one the most of the non-traditional jobs that were available to different people were highly paying (Fielden et al., 2001). Architects, Contractors and building inspectors, for instance, stood a chance to make $20 to $30 on an hourly basis. The financial incentive that these jobs posted continued to push more women to take up jobs in different non-traditional jobs. More women graduated from Universities across the country and began practicing physics, law and even operations management among other professions that previously had not made provisions for the woman as a professional (Fielden et al., 2001).

Men versus Women in Construction Project Management

The difference in the composition of all employees has significantly reduced. For one, women account for 47% of the total employees in the American economy. While such progress may boast of cultural and political evolution, the construction industry accounts for a dismal 2.6 percent from the 47% (Moir, Thomson, & Kelleher, 2011). Jobs like masonry continue to record participation levels in women as low as one in every two hundred men. The disparity of gender balances goes all the way to even the most lucrative and highly regarded professions (“Women’s Bureau (WB) – Nontraditional Occupations for Women in 2008”, 2016). In the United States, 50 out of 300 architects are women. While the jobs that were formerly regarded as non-traditional saw more women take up positions in companies across the country, construction continues to be inherently discriminative against women (“Women’s Bureau (WB) – Nontraditional Occupations for Women in 2008”, 2016). 

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