It is 2017, and gender inequality is still very prominent, but in most cases, masked. Many people believe gender equality is a female issue, but gender inequality impacts both men and women, so as long as people have this misconception, gender equality can never be achieved. There are many forms of gender discrimination, but one of them is the lack of representation of women in certain jobs, specifically in leadership and technological positions. Back in 2016, Apple was publicly scrutinized for their treatment of their female employees.
Complaints were filed by female staff of sexist comments made by their male coworkers and the loss of opportunity for leadership positions in favor of their male colleagues. While Apple has claimed to work towards closing their gender gap, much have remain the same. Apple’s global workforce was 68 percent male and 32 percent female in 2016, but after a year, their workforce still comprises of 68 percent male and 32 percent female, with only a two percent increase in the number of women employees over the past three years. While women are far under-represented in Apple, Apple’s workforce fares better than other tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter.
Microsoft has the lowest composition of female employees with a workforce comprised of only 25.8% women, but the highest, Facebook, only beats Apple by 1% with a women workforce of 33%. When broken down further by position, the gender discrimination becomes more evident. Within these companies, the percentage of women in leadership positions is less than 30% with Microsoft faring the lowest at 17.9% and the highest of Twitter with 30%.
The percentage of women in technological roles are even lower with the lowest of 15% in Twitter and the highest of 23% in Apple. Such large corporations should be expected to have a diverse workforce with a more balanced gender composition; however, that is not the case. Even when companies such as Apple say they are working towards closing the gender gap, their progress is painstakingly slow, which goes to show gender inequality can be diminished, but never gone. The lack of women representation in leadership and technological positions is a major issue, yet the greatest form of gender discrimination is the gender pay gap. In the 21st century when both actors and actresses play equal roles, actresses make markedly less than actors. A report of the highest paid actors released by Forbes reveals that from his work of “Transformers,” Mark Wahlberg made a whopping $68 million dollars.
In comparison to the highest paid actress, with her Oscar award from her work in “La La Land,” Emma Stone made merely $26 million dollars, a large difference of $42 million dollars. Many actresses have also spoken out about their low pay grade in comparison to their male counterparts such as Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, and many more. The same could also be said about other countries like the United Kingdom.
BBC’s men employees make 9% more than their female counterparts. While BBC has tried to justify their gender pay gap, which is lower than the national average of 18%, by saying women are under-represented in senior positions, their justification is inadequate. It goes to show how gender equality can never be achieved because a lot of people do not trust women with leadership positions and thus get paid less. Similar to the pay discrepancy between Mark Wahlberg and Emma Stone, BBC’s highest paid male star, Chris Evans makes £2.
2 million while BBC’s highest paid female star, Claudia Winkleman makes merely between £450,000 and £500,000. Such a large salary discrepancy cannot be justified without acknowledging gender discrimination is in play. While the gender pay gap is the greatest form of gender discrimination, this is also just one form of it, yet this one form has plenty of evidence to show that gender inequality can never be achieved. Just as discrimination against women exists, men face gender inequality as well. A lot of men are held up to traditional stereotypes: men do not feel pain or cry, they are strong and tough fighters, and they are the breadwinner of the family. Often times, abuse against men are normalized because very few people think males can be subject to rape or relationship violence. Because of such views, men are less likely to seek help when they need it. A large gender discrimination issue is male rape.
One such example is the rape of a 13 year old boy. He was raped by a man in a forest, and he reported it to his teacher; however, his teacher dismissed him, and his family kept quiet. When the boy told peer educators, they reported the case to the police, but the police said the case was too old and dismissed him yet again. When the perpetrator raped another boy, he was caught and convicted.
Cases of male rape is too often overlooked because of ignorance and it being a social taboo. Even when people do report such cases, police officers often do not take victims seriously. This stigma was brought to light in a recent documentary Male Rape: Breaking the Silence. In this documentary, three victims of male rape: Alex, Neil, and Tanaka talk about their experiences being raped and their struggles in speaking out about it in fear of shame.
About one in six men are victims of rape or sexual abuse, but only 10% report it, and it takes an average 26 years for men to speak out about their experience. One of the victims, Alex got raped by a man in a pub toilet while he was waiting for his sister and friend. He struggled for seven years before deciding to speak out, but he was shut down when he called a sexual assault helpline to which the operator responded that men are perpetrators and women are the victims, so they could not help him. He has since established a charity, Stay Brave UK, to help sexual assault victims. Neil and Tanaka share similar experiences. Neil was raped by a man while he was out with friends at night, and Tanaka was sexually assaulted by a man who he refused to have unprotected sex with. All three men said they were afraid to get help because of the stigma faced by male rape victims.
They did not trust the police, and before their experiences, they never considered they could get raped as men. Specifically, Tanaka believes that had he heard of men who shared similar experiences as he did, he would have sought help earlier. Rape is already a horrible event, but these three men had to go through their experiences alone. They felt like they could not receive help and even when one of them built up the courage to get help, he was turned down.
Society hears a lot about women being victims of sexual assault, but men can be and also are victims of sexual assault. Because of traditional stereotypes, a lot of men may be pressured to live up to the ideals and refuse help. While resources to help all sexual assault victims are becoming more readily available, it is not enough because of little public awareness of this issue. Even where there is awareness, a lot of people still hold men to those traditional stereotypes and refuse to believe men can be victims of abuse or even of gender discrimination. People’s opinions and stereotypes will always prohibit gender equality from being achieved, and male rape epitomizes this. All of these examples show that both men and women are victims of gender inequality. People can educate and influence others on the topic, so inequality can reduce.
People can challenge the norm of gender inequality, and more people will try to fix it. No matter what, opinions, established norms, stereotypes, or cultural standards will always stand in the way to prevent gender equality from being achieved.