What Is Gender Equality? - Definition & Issues

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  • 0:01 Gender Equality
  • 0:50 Issues in the U.S.
  • 3:31 International Issues
  • 4:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

In what ways are people discriminated against based on gender? And what does gender equality mean for both men and women? In this lesson, we'll explore gender equality and some issues both in America and internationally that are related to it.

Gender Equality

Luly wants her son and daughter to grow up in a world that is safe and equal for both of them, even though they are different genders. But she worries that her children will be treated differently in life because one is a girl and one is a boy. Luly is worrying about gender equality, or the condition in which neither gender is discriminated against. Usually, people think of gender equality as relating only to women, as they are usually the gender discriminated against. But men can face gender equality issues as well. America and other countries have made great strides in reaching for gender equality, but there are still issues both here and abroad that can arise. To help Luly understand gender equality better, let's take a look at some of those issues.

Issues in the U.S.

Here in America, gender equality is better than in many places around the world, as we'll see in a moment. In fact, things are so good here comparatively, that many people believe that there isn't a gender equality problem here at all. They maintain that women and men are treated equally all the time. However, there are still issues here in the U.S.

One major issue that is often is discussed is the pay gap, or the fact that, on average, women are paid less than men. This can be due to many things, including the fact that women might not negotiate their salary, that they might choose to go into lower paying careers, or that they might choose to take time off to take care of their families. But even when those things are eliminated, the average woman's salary is lower than the average man's salary for the same job and the same qualifications.

One issue related to the pay gap is the promotion gap, which deals with the fact that women, on average, get promoted less often than men. This promotion gap becomes bigger and bigger the higher up in an institution you go, so that there are far fewer female CEOs than male ones.

Women aren't the only ones who face gender equality issues at work, though. Men in traditionally female careers, such as teaching or nursing, often face stigma and pressures that men in other careers don't. For example, if Luly's son wants to be a teacher, he might have people who look down on him because of it or he might face pressure from society to move into another career. He could even be bullied for his career choices.

A related problem, which impacts both women and men in traditionally female careers, is that men in those careers are often singled out and pressured to be promoted to management. For example, if Luly's son feels that being a teacher is the right choice for him, he might still be pressured to become a principal. This means that there are fewer opportunities for female teachers to become principals, which is a negative thing. But it also can cause problems for men who don't want to be promoted and face pressure and discrimination or harassment if they resist.

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