“Gender equality: The state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender.” -Oxford Dictionary
When it comes to gender equality, there is a flawed system where women are held to a different standard than men even when they are performing the same tasks. In the workplace, a man gets paid more than his female co-worker even if they are doing the same things and to this day there is still no explanation for it.
A women of a family household is looked at very differently than what she should be. The term, “house wife,” makes people uneasy because it consists of the woman staying home to cook, clean, watch the kids, and have dinner prepared when their husband arrives home. The “house wife” stereotype suggests that women aren’t made for work outside of the house and their focus should be on housekeeping responsibilities.
Typically, women put more hours into these household activities than men and this greatly disadvantages women in the workplace. It is unrealistic to expect gender equality if workplaces demand that women be available all the time. Some women may never get to demonstrate their skill set in a workplace due to the fact that they’re bombarded with “house wife” duties at home.
The problem arises when young adults try to balance work and family, and women end up carrying nearly all of the caregiving responsibilities. In order for this cycle to be broken, there must be major changes in what a “house wife” really means so that women can get a chance in the workplace just like men.
In a 2015 article, the Wall Street Journal reported, “worries about balancing work and family life rank among the biggest deterrents for both men and women in aiming for an executive role.”
Things get tough because it’s hard to plan life without any unexpected obstacles popping up. A long term fix would be alternating home responsibilities between parents on a weekly basis. But, this may not be a permanent fix because a schedule change could cause loss of hours at work.
The Families and Work Institute has monitored worker’s attitudes toward flexibility benefits for years, and has never seen a decrease in the percentage of employees saying working flexible hours will damage their careers.
If this cycle continues, there will not be gender equality in the workplace any time soon. However, if we can lessen the work load on women at home so they can be in the workplace as much as men, progress would begin to be made.