Inequality in the Economic Sphere

Inequality in the Economic Sphere

In spite of the gains made by the women’s movement toward gender equality in American life, true equality has not been achieved in many areas, including the economic sphere. Surveys show that women on average earn significantly less than male workers, and indeed more than this, that women are paid significantly less than men for the same work. The overall figure usually given is that women earn sixty cents for every dollar paid to a male worker. Women come up shot in other areas as well–they are employed at a lower rate than their proportion of the population, are less likely to advance, and more and more are the heads of households at or below the poverty level. Black women show an even wider disparity than white women in all these areas, and in the black community there are many single mothers as heads of households who have a particular difficulty finding a job and supporting their families. One of the reasons for this situation is the problem of black male-female relationships. Research shows the nature of this relationship, and black literature also reflects the difficult course of male-female relationships in the black community.

Rodgers-Rose (1980) notes the dimensions of the problem as she writes,

One of the most complex and pressing issues in the struggle for Black survival is centered in and grows out of the relationship between Black men and women. This relationship, in the final analysis, determines how they support each other as men and woman and how they will raise their children (Rodgers-Rose, 1980, 251).

This relationship takes place in the context of the larger society, and this is a society which itself has defined role behavior in which men are supposed to be aggressive and women are supposed to be passive.:

With such a definition of role behavior, based on inequality rather than equality, the relationship between men and women cannot help but be tenuous (Rodgers-Rose, 1980, 251).


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