Gender: Gender and Glass Escalator Effect Essay

Submitted By Hill_smith
Words: 936
Pages: 4

Gender Whether a person is male or female is determined by biological factors and they are born a particular sex. In contrast, whether a person is masculine or feminine is determined by social norms and customs that influence them as they grow. These social norms are thrust upon them from the moment they take their first breath and continue throughout life. The concept of the glass escalator helps explain how gender is socially constructed in the workforce. It will be shown that for men in the United States breaking these socially constructed roles of gender is difficult in their personal lives, careers, and amongst their peers. Even when a man chooses to break into a traditionally feminine career it is the social pressures from many sources that make this challenging. When a girl is born in the United States, she is wrapped in pink blankets, and given a pink, little hat. She is described as sweet, innocent, and beautiful. Her parents receive cards and gifts, from family and friends, that are decorated with images of ballerinas, dancers, and other aspirations that are considered feminine. In contrast when a little boy is born the blankets and hats are blue, the cards and gifts are covered in baseball bats and footballs and other masculine symbols and he is described as a bruiser and tough little man. The social expectations are thrust upon these little humans when they are just minutes old. As they grow and develop these gender pressures follow them. Girls are encouraged to learn to cook and nurture “like mommy” and boys are encouraged to help dad with the chores and be strong and dependable. Without a conscious effort these growing males and females are also developing into a social world that very strongly defines who and what they should grow up to be. Parents may not even realize the role they play in this social phenomenon, yet they do know that "My daughter, the physician," resonates far more favorably in most peoples' ears than "My son, the nurse." (Williams, 1992) and so they raise the child within those socially acceptable frames. As these males and females grow up they continue to find social pressures to be masculine and feminine respectively, in school, in sports and even in their homes. These gender stereotypes are reflected in all areas of their lives. By the time a man is ready to choose his career path there are so many social expectations that his options might feel limited by what would be acceptable socially. When a man decides to break through those barriers and choose a career path that would be considered feminine he may be met with resistance in his social life as well as in his career of choice. “For men, the major barriers to integration have little to do with their treatment once they decide to enter these fields. Rather, we need to address the social and cultural sanctions applied to men who do "women's work" which keep men from even considering these occupations.” (Williams, 1992) Once a man has chosen his career path and it is not a traditionally masculine choice he faces various challenges. He can be looked upon as a homosexual, or as wimpy, by his social group. On a positive note he may get hired more easily, because the employer may look positively on having a male in that particular career. Often times though, once hired, men are quickly encouraged to move into executive positions which are more socially acceptable gender wise. This is known as the glass escalator effect. “Instead of being a source of discrimination, these prejudices can add to the "glass escalator effect" by pressuring men to move out of the most female-identified areas, and