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Today we will discuss about the extent of job discrimination in Distribution of Income Among Working Men and
society. Women, 1994
Points to be covered in this lesson:
Income ($) Percent of men Percent of women
Job discrimination based on race and gender
with that income with that income
How do we estimate whether an institution or a set of 1 to 2,499 7 14
institutions is practic-ing discrimination against a 2,500 to 4,999 4 10
certain group? 5,000 to 9,999 12 21
By looking at statistical indicators of how the members of that 10,000 to 14,999 13 15
group are distributed within the institution. 15,000 to 24,999 20 19
25,000 to 49,999 29 17
A prima facie indication of discrimination exists when a 50,000 to 74,999 10 3
disproportionate num-ber of the members of a certain group 75,000 and over 6 1
hold the less desirable positions within the institutions in spite of
their preferences and abilities.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population
Three kinds of com-parisons can provide evidence for such a Reports.
The evidence of racial and sexual discrimination provided by the
1. Comparisons of the average benefits the institutions bestow quan-titative measures cited can be filled out qualitatively by
on the discriminated group with the average benefits the examining the occu-pational distribution of racial and sexual
institutions bestow on other groups; minorities. As the figures suggests, larger percentages of white
2. Comparisons of the proportion of the discriminated group males move into the higher paying occu-pations, while minori-
found in the lowest levels of the in-stitutions with the ties and women end up in those that are less desirable.
proportions of other groups found at those levels; Consequently, although many white women have moved into
3. Com-parisons of the proportions of that group that hold the middle-manage-ment positions in recent years, neither they nor
more advantageous positions with the proportions of other minorities have yet been al-lowed into the top-paying senior
groups that hold those same positions. management and top executive positions.

If we look at American society in terms of these three kinds of Just as the most desirable occupations are held by whites, while
comparisons, it becomes clear that some form of racial and sexual the less desirable are held by blacks, so also the most well-
discrimination is present in American society as a whole. It is also paying occupations tend to be reserved for men, and the
clear that for some segments of the minority popula- tion (such remainder for women. The following table illustrates the
as young college-educated black males) disparities. Studies indicate that despite two decades of women
entering the workforce in record numbers, women managers
discrimina-tion is not as intense as it once was.
still are not being promoted from middle-management
Average Income Comparisons positions into senior or top-management posts be-cause they
Income comparisons provide the most suggestive indicators of encounter an impenetrable “glass ceiling” through which they
discrim-ination. If we compare the average incomes of nonwhite may look but not enter.
American families, for example, with the average incomes of white It is some-times suggested that women choose to work in
American families, we see that white family incomes are those jobs that have relatively low pay and low prestige. It is
substantially above those of nonwhites. suggested sometimes, for example, that women believe that
Contrary to a commonly held belief, the income gap between only certain jobs (such as secretary or kindergarten teacher) are
whites and minorities has been increasing rather than decreasing. “appropriate” for women; that many women choose courses of
Since 1970, in fact, even during periods when the real incomes study that suit them only for such jobs; that many women
of whites have gone up, real minority incomes have not kept up. choose those jobs because they plan to raise children and these
In 1970 the average income for a black family was 65 percent of a jobs are relatively easy to leave and re-enter; that many women
white family’s average income; in 1994 the black family’s in- come choose these jobs because they have limited demands and allow
was 63 percent of the white family’s income. them time to raise children; that many women defer to the
Income comparisons also reveal large inequalities based on sex. A demands of their husbands’ careers and choose to forgo
com-parison of average incomes for men and women shows that developing their own careers. Al-though choice plays some role
women receive only a portion of what men receive. A recent in pay differentials, however, researchers who have studied the
study found, in fact, that firms employing mostly men paid their differences in earnings between men and women have all con-
workers on average 40% more than those employing mostly cluded that wage differentials cannot be accounted for simply on
women. the basis of such factors.

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Median Weekly Earnings of Selected Occupations and minorities. A major study of eco-nomic and population trends
Percent of Men and Women in those Occupations, 1993 during the nineties concluded that the 1990s would be character-
ized by the following:
Percent of total workforce in • First, most new workers entering
Weekly earnings the occupation who are: the labor force during the 1990s will not be
Occupation Men Women white males, but women and minorities.
($) (%) (%) Although a generation ago white males
held the largest share of the job market,
Secretaries 386 1 99 between 1985 and the year 2000 white males
Receptionists 316 2 98 will comprise only 15 percent of all new
Kindergarten teachers 353 3 97 workers en-tering the labor force. Women
Typists 366 6 94 and minorities will take their place. Three
Teacher's aides 270 7 93 fifths of all new entrants coming into
Bank tellers 292 9 91 business between 1985 and 2000 will be
Bookkeepers 375 10 90 women, a trend created by sheer economic
House cleaners and servants 205 11 89 necessity as well as cultural redefinitions of
Sewing machine operators 226 14 86 the role of women. By the year 2000, about
Waiters and waitresses 230 26 74 47 percent of the workforce will be women,
Social Workers 511 33 67 and 61 percent of all American women will
Computer operators 437 39 61 be em-ployed. Native minorities and
School administrators 778 44 56 immigrants will make up 42 percent of all
Accountants 612 49 51 new workers during this decade.
Management analysts 775 53 47 • Second, this large influx of women
Operations analysts 793 60 40 and minorities will encounter major
Computer systems analysts 821 69 31 difficulties if current trends do not change.
Marketing managers 851 70 30 First, as we saw, a sizable proportion of
Doctors 1,019 72 28 women are still concentrated in traditionally
Industrial engineers 861 84 16 female jobs that pay less than traditionally
Chemical engineers 996 91 9 male jobs. Second, at the present time
Aerospace engineers 1,008 92 8 women encounter bar-riers (the so-called
Airplane pilots 1,086 97 3 “glass ceiling”) when attempting to advance
into top -paying top management
Sour ce: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and positions.
Earnings, June 1994, Table 56 The large numbers of minorities entering the workforce will
One study found that only half of the earnings gap might be also en-counter significant disadvantages if current trends do
ac-counted for by women’s choices while other studies have not change. As these large waves of minorities hit the labor
found it could ac-count for a bit more or a bit less. market, they will find that most of the new good jobs awaiting
them require extremely high levels of skill and ed-ucation that
All studies, however, have demonstrated that only a portion of
the gap can be accounted for on the basis of male and female they do not have. Of all the new jobs that will be created be-
tween now and the year 2000, more than half will require some
differences in education, work experience, work continuity, self-
education beyond high school and almost a third will require a
imposed work restrictions, and absenteeism. These studies show
college degree.
that even after taking such differences into account, a gap
between the earnings of men and women remains that can only Among the fastest-growing fields will be professions with
be accounted for by discrimination in the labor market. extremely high education requirements, such as technicians,
engineers, social scientists, lawyers, math-ematicians, scientists,
A report of the National Academy of Sciences concluded,
and health professionals; while those fields that will actually see
“about 35 to 40 percent of the disparity in average earnings is
declines in numbers consist of jobs that require relatively low
due to sex seg-regation because women are essentially steered
levels of education and skills, such as machine tenders and
into lower-paying ‘women’s jobs.’ Some studies have shown
operators, blue collar supervisors, assemblers, hand workers,
that perhaps only one tenth of the wage differences between
miners, and farmers. Even those new jobs that require relatively
men and women can be accounted for by differences in their
less skills will have tough require-ments: Secretaries, clerks, and
“personalities and tastes.” Similar studies have shown that half
cashiers will need the ability to read and write clearly, to under-
of the earnings differences between white and minority workers
stand directions, and to use computers; assembly-line work-ers
cannot be accounted for by differences of work history, of on-
are already being required to learn statistical process control
the-job training, of absenteeism, nor of self-imposed restrictions
methods employing basic algebra and statistics. The new jobs
on work hours and 10cation.
waiting for minorities will thus demand more education and
To make matters worse, several unexpected trends that emerged in higher levels of language, math, and reasoning skills.
the early nineties and that will be with us until the end of the
century promise to increase the difficulties facing women and

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Unfortunately, although a significant proportion of whites are Overview
education-ally disadvantaged, minorities are currently the least • Studies indicate that even after taking into account male and
advantaged in terms of skill levels and education. Studies have female differences in education, work experience, work
shown that only about three fifths of whites, two fifths of continuity, self-imposed work restrictions, and absenteeism,
Hispanics, and one quarter of blacks could find informa-tion in a
a gap between the earnings of men and women remains, that
news article or almanac; only 25 percent of whites, 7 percent of
can only be accounted for by discrimination in the labor
Hispanics, and 3 percent of blacks could interpret a bus
schedule; and only 44 percent of whites, 20 percent of Hispan-
ics, and 8 percent of blacks could fig-ure out the change they were Activity
owed from buying two items. Discuss the types of job discrimination. How can we determine
In recent years, moreover, an especially troublesome obstacle that job discrimination?
work-ing women face has been brought to light: sexual
harassment. Forty-two per-cent of all women working for the
federal government reported that they had experienced some
form of uninvited and unwanted sexual attention, ranging from
sexual remarks to attempted rape or assault. Women working as
execu-tives, prison guards, and even as rabbis, have reported
being sexually ha-rassed. Victims of such verbal or physical
forms of sexual harassment were most likely to be single or
divorced, between the ages of 20 and 44, have some college
education, and work in a predominantly male environ- ment or
for a male supervisor.
In 1992 about 5000 complaints of sexual harassment were filed
with the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, and thou-sands of other complaints were lodged
with state civil rights commissions.
It is clear, then, that unless a number of current trends change,
women and minorities, who will comprise the bulk of new
workers between now and the end of the century, will find
themselves in highly disadvantaged positions as they enter the
The various statistical comparisons that we have examined,
together with the extensive research showing that these
differences are not because of any simple way to differences in
preferences or abilities, indicate that American business institu-
tions incorporate some degree of systematic discrimination,
much of it, perhaps, an unconscious relic of the past. Whether
we compare av-erage incomes, proportional representation in the
highest economic positions, or proportional representation in
the lowest economic positions, it turns out that women and
minorities are not equal to white males, and the last twenty years
have seen but small narrowing of the racial and sexual gaps.
Moreover, a number of ominous trends indicate that unless we
embark on some major changes, the situation for minorities and
women will not improve.
Of course, finding that our economic institutions as a whole still
embody a great deal of discrimination does not show that any
particular business is dis-criminatory. To find out whether a
particular firm is discriminatory, we would have to make the same
sorts of comparisons among the various employment levels of
the firm that we made above among the various economic and
occu-pation all levels of American society as a whole. To facilitate
such comparisons within firms, employers today are required to
report to the government the numbers of minorities and women
their firm employs in each of nine cate- gories: officials and
managers, professionals, technicians, sales workers, office and
clerical workers, skilled craft workers, semiskilled operatives,
unskilled la-borers, and service workers.

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