contributions or inventions created by the ancient Chinese.
Read the topic carefully. Write a three to four (3-4) page paper (750-1,000 words) that responds to each of the items described in the topic.
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Ancient Chinese Contributions. Essay. To win a trip to China, you enter a contest to determine the four most useful contributions or inventions created by the ancient Chinese. (1) Identify eight to ten of these useful inventions or contributions. (2) Nominate four that you believe are the most ingenious or innovative. (3) Explain why you believe these four inventions or contributions are the most useful inventions or contributions from the ancient Chinese. (4) Identify one invention or contribution that you cannot live without and explain wh
Historically, gender differences have been at the core of social and economic injustice and women have faced fundamental disadvantages (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 351). Despite recent changes in formal equality –the introduction of protection for women in the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for example – informal barriers are still present which lead to the discrimination of women (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 89). The Canadian education system has not been immune to the effects of discrimination towards women; in fact, some argue that schools have been a vessel for inequality (Knudson-Martin & Mahoney, 2009, p. 45). This paper will argue that discrimination toward women inpost-secondary education has led to social and economic inequality that reaches much further than just educational institutions. The first section of the paper will outline current scholarly literature on education and specifically gender inequality in universities. This paper will then discuss why gender inequality in schools and education is a social problem. Finally, the essay will conclude with a discussion and commentary regarding the issue of social and economic inequality between genders as an educational system failure.
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
Many structural functionalistssuggest thateducation is a fundamental way that socialization occurs (Tepperman and Curtis, 2001, p. 347). Furthermore, that our society isobsessed with assigning social statuses to people based on their perceived level of ‘success’; this method of placing individuals or groups into social statuses is often referred to as ascribed status (Sasaki as cited inTepperman and Curtis, 2011, p. 347). The emphasis placed on social status is reinforced by individuals desire to gain upward social mobility – a process by which one moves up a perceived social or economic hierarchy in order to achieve a desired status in a meritocracy (holding power based on merit and not social status)(Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 347). The desire to gain upward social mobility has led to the belief that educational achievement will lead to increased social status (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 347). Structural functionalists argue that the function of schooling is to give people the desired human capital (in terms of abilities) in order to advance economic growth (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 361). Therefore, many Canadians believe that receiving post-secondary education will lead to higher social mobility, and thus, increase their human capital which will enable individuals to reach a higher ascribed status.
The educational system also aims to ‘sort’ individuals into distinct categories which send messages out to perspective employers regarding the individuals abilities; this approach is commonly referred to as signalling theory (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 349). Many scholars suggest that this may lead to economic inequality based on where an individual receives post-secondary education (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 349). For example, men have dominated the fields of engineering and medicine and women tend to study education and nursing. Although many of these jobs require similar educational achievement, education and nursing is not comparable to medicine and engineering in terms of financial reward (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 351). Connell (1996) argues that a symbolic structure in education is the ‘gendering of knowledge’, which refers to teachers defining certain subjects or areas as ‘masculine’ and others as ‘feminine’ (Connell, 1996, p. 214). Furthermore, Connell argues that perceptions of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ jobs are culturally defined, and thus, banning females from typically male dominated curriculum areas is a form of discrimination (Connell, 1996, p. 217).
A result of ‘sorting’ people into different categories is the division of individuals into two economic sectors: the primary labour market (high wage, secure, and highly skilled jobs) and the secondary labour market (low-paying, generally unstable, and unskilled jobs)(Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 350). The placement into each category is largely related to social traits, backgrounds, and abilities that have been achieved through formal post-secondary education (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 350). It is important to recognize that even in modern society, women make up a large portion of the secondary labour market and therefore consistently earn less, have less job security, and face more inequality in hiring practices (Fausto-Sterling, 1992, p. 5).
In 2008, Canadian women earned an average $30,100 compared to $47,000 earned by men (Williams, 2010). On average, women who have a post-secondary certificate or diploma earn 71.2% of what men with the same education earn (Williams, 2010). Women who attain a university degree earn only 68.3% of what men with a university degree earn. Furthermore, women who work full-time throughout the year earn on average $62,800 while men earn an average of $91,800 (Williams, 2010). In comparing the earning ratio between men and women across distinct occupations, women and men tend to have the least wage disparity in typically labeled ‘feminine’ vocations such as: natural sciences (on average, women earn 83.5% of men’s wages), teaching (83%), artistic/recreational (85.4%) and clerical (81.5%); and the most wage disparity in: medicine/health (56.8%), manufacturing (55.7%), occupations unique to primary industry (49%), and government/religion/social sciences (49.8%)(Williams, 2010).
GENDER BIAS IN POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
The conflict theory approach suggests that the educational system services as a vessel of inequality based on class, race, and gender (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 362). An area that this theory may be placed emphatically is on the issue of gender inequality in the post-secondary educational system. Throughout Canadian history, females have been marginalized in the educational system. For example, before Confederation, young girls attended school with boys, but were often pulled out of school in order to fulfill familial duties (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 351). When these young women did attend school and show an interest in post-secondary education, they were guided into fields such as nursing and education (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 351 &Macneill, 2011). At one point in history, women were completely banned form attending medical school (a typically male-dominated field) (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 351). Additionally, many of the most highly ‘skilled’ and well-paid jobs such as doctor and lawyer are still predominately held by males (Fausto-Sterling, 1992, p. 5 &MacNeill, 2011).
The discrimination of women in post-secondary education has had a direct influence on socioeconomic inequality between men and women. Banks (1988) argues that although the overt sexual discrimination against women in law schools is decreasing, an even more damaging form of covert sexism and gender-bias remains (Banks, 1988, p. 137). Throughout the 1970s, law schools catered specifically to male students, and any benefits to female students were considered ‘secondary’ and unimportant (Banks, 1988, p. 138). Additionally, women tend to stay silent about inequality in law school because “the law school classroom, environment, structure, and language tend to exclude women or make them feel inferior” (Banks, 1988, p. 146). Banks (1988) suggests that this trend does not simply affect law school students, but the covert sexism filters into the entire justice system (Banks, 1988, p. 137). Sexism is a form of discrimination, and thus, sexism within the walls of our law schools may have a lasting affect on the individuals that enter the field of law. Therefore, women who enter the field of law are faced with discrimination from all areas in the justice system that is dominated by males. As a result, women are faced with discrimination in hiring practices, less pay, difficulty in promotion, and an uncomfortable work environment.
Stratton et. al. (2005) suggest that a informal discrimination still exists within medical schools (Stratton et. al, 2005, p. 402). This study found that women tend to think about discrimination and sexism before deciding on which medical specialization to enroll in (Stratton et. al., 2005, p. 403). Women tend to enroll in areas such as gynecology and obstetrics, while men enroll in neurology and surgery (Stratton et. al., 2005, p. 405). The research reinforces the idea that discrimination against women may influence their decision in which field to study in post-secondary education and that women as informally ‘pushed’ into areas which are culturally defined as ‘feminine’ and do not provide equal economic gains (Stratton et. al., 2005, p. 402).
Although societal perceptions have changed over time, historical stereotypes have reinforced the idea thatwomen should not achieve the same social and economic statuses as men.The issue of gender inequality in terms of social and economic status remains significantly influenced by achieved education level (Coulombe&Frenette, 2007, p. 24). In a report released by Statistics Canada, Coulombe and Frenette (2007) suggest that education level can almost fully explain the decline in economic inequality between genders since the 1980s (Coulombe&Frenette, 2007, p. 24). This evolving trend indicates that education level is perhaps the most significant predictor of socioeconomic class. One may argue that this is a direct result of the formal changes made to protect women’s rights in the Constitution Act, 1982. It is important to acknowledge that since the Constitution Act, 1982, there have been many changes to the way society perceives formal equality but informal barriers still remain for women. Although the Charter of Rights and Freedoms may ‘formally’ protect women, gender inequality remains permissive in our culture and therefore continues to make it difficult for females to achieve true equality. Until ‘informal’ barriers such as discrimination, social injustice, and stereotypes are eliminated, social and economic inequality will remain a significant issue for women.
The educational system is supposed to provide universal support and learning opportunities for all but it fails to provide for distinct issues relating to women. A cornerstone of our democratic society is that every individual, regardless or race, gender, or class, is afforded the same rights under and before the law(Constitution Act, 1982). However, this has not been the case for women who have faced discrimination in the educational system. Current research illustrates that as women gain equality in certain sectors of the job market, those jobs decrease in prestige and pay (Tepperman& Curtis, 2011, p. 353). Women who have fought gender stereotypes throughout their educational experience to break through the social construction of a typical ‘male’ vocation, are met with a decrease in the social status and pay of that particular job.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
It is important to note, however, that social and economic equality can be achieved however slow the process may be. In order to continue the trend of positive reinforcement for women’s equality in the educational system and workforce, we must continue to educate future generations and send the message that inequality and discrimination will not be tolerated. Our society is made up of discriminative images everywhere we look, and thus, we must start early in the developmental process, ie. early elementary school, in order to provide our future with the foundation for equality. We must also advance policy in regard to the equal treatment for women in post-secondary institutions as well as hiring practices.
This essay has examined the effect that the post-secondary educational system in Canada has had on social and economic inequality between males and females. Throughout history, women have faced a constant struggle to receive equal education in comparison to men. At one time, women were barred from attending highly skilled post-secondary institutions (such as medical schools). When women did receive higher education, they were guided into typically ‘feminine’ vocations such as nursing and education. Not only are these jobs perceived as overtly feminine, but they are paid far less in comparison to typical ‘male’ dominant jobs. Although recent trends have illustrated women are closing the gap in economic disparity, this paper has argued that the gap remains pervasive because of a failed post-secondary educational system. This system has failed to provide equal rights and protections which are outlined in our Constitution. This failure has lead to a system where women still earn less than males and are disproportionately represented in unemployment and low socioeconomic statuses. Our educational system has failed to teach our younger generations that inequality and discrimination will not be tolerated. In order to make societal changes, we must first educate our children to accept all human beings as equal.
Banks, T. L. (1988). Gender bias in the classroom. Journal of Legal Education, 38(2), 137-146.
The Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11
Cool, J. (2010). Wage Gap Between Women and Men. Ottawa: Library of Parliament. Retrieved from http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2010-30-e.pdf
Connell, R. W. (1996). Teaching the boys: New research on masculinity, and gender studies for schools. Teachers College Record, 98(2), 206- 235.
Coulombe, S., Frenette, M. (2007).Has Higher Education among Young Women Substantially Reduced the Gender Gap in Employment and Earnings?. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11f0019m/11f0019m2007301-eng.pdf
Fausto-Sterling, A. (1992). Myths of Gender: Biological Theories About Women and Men. New York, NY: BasicBooks.
Fausto-Sterling, A. (2009). Dueling dualisms. In A. L. Ferber, K. Holcomb, & T. Wentling, Sex, Gender & Sexuality (pp. 6-21). New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Knudson-Martin, C., & Mahoney, A.R. (2009).Couples, Gender, and Power: Creating Change in Intimate Relationships. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
MacNeill, T. (2011, November 23). Schools and education [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from University of Ontario Institute of Technology WebCT site: http://www.uoit.ca/connect
Stratton, T.D., McLaughlin, M.A., Witte, F.M., Fosson, S.E., & Nora, L.M. (2005).Does students’ exposure to gender discrimination and sexual harassment in medical school affect specialty choice and residency program selection?.Academic Medicine, 80(4), 400-408.
Tepperman& Curtis. (2011). Social Problems: A Canadian Perspective, 3rd Edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Williams, C. (2010). Economic Well Being: A Gender-based Statistical Report. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2010001/article/11388-eng.pdf
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