Discrimination Against Women in Male-Dominated Industries

How women continue to suffer from inequality based on gender


Ingrid Hernandez, Reporter

The phenomenon of the glass ceiling is surprisingly still in effect despite various social developments for gender equality over decades. The term came about during the 1980s and is a reference to the efforts of corporations and industries to limit the rise of women and other minorities in the workplace. 

Since World War II, females have been encouraged to work while men served the nation. Patriotic propaganda such as “Rosie the Riveter” urged women to fill these gaps and in a way created a sense of modernization and equality. However, to this day, when salaries for the same occupations are compared, women are still falling behind men. According to the fifth edition of “Women and Men in Management” by  Gary N. Powell, men can earn 25% to 40% more than women for equivalent roles. 

This kind of injustice is a major conflict women such as Poanie Williams, a former female police officer from Chicago. During her 31 years on the force, she describes working with her colleagues as “challenging” because some men didn’t believe that a woman could be as smart and capable.

According to Williams, “You have to know how to deal with these situations.”

Although the issue of women facing discrimination in male-dominated industries is no secret to our society, it appears as if people choose not to acknowledge this threat. When asked about why there is a lack of recognition of this dilemma, Margot Lee Shetterly,  author of Hidden Figures, claimed that people will often remain dormant until it eventually affects them personally in any way; then it becomes a real issue for people.

“If you ask people ‘do you think it’s unfair that women get paid less than men in xyz field?’ they might say ‘you know what I don’t really care, it’s not an important issue or maybe the woman is not as good’ you know they come up with a lot of excuses,” she said.

Shetterly’s nonfiction book the details the lives of three African American women who were human computers for NASA during the space race, and the struggles  they endured based on their gender and race.

The discouragement of women to pursue certain positions is so legitimate and evident to this day that it has lead to the establishment of programs dedicated to empower young girls and encourage them to go after STEM careers.

“If you’re the first woman in one of these industries, it is powerful for you to know that not only can it be done, but it has been done. It is really powerful for young women today who are going into math to know that not only can they do it, but there’s a lot of other women who’ve already done it.” quoted Shetterly.