It has long been known that the women of the past went through many hardships in order to live with the freedom that they have today. Not even a century ago, women were discriminated against in the workforce, with the expectation that they would take the low-ranking jobs in society. Husbands were permitted to control their wives’ income, and there was little that could have been done about it at the time. Fortunately, in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act Title VII, where women of the suburban class gained rights that they did not have before. This Act stated that segregation between males and females was not permitted in the workforce and that discrimination cannot be made in the employment of any individual based on their gender (High Expectations, 1960s PowerPoint). Prior to this Act, John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, which was a significant improvement towards equality for women in the workforce (Second Wave Feminism Lecture). It required that men and women of the same occupation be given equal pay if they worked within the same organization or company.
In an article written by Celestine Bohlen for the New York Times, it is depicted that in today’s society, a different number of occupations have been created due to the remarkable increase in technological and scientific advancements. The STEM field, which includes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, has expanded and has rapidly become one of the most important fields of the century. As positions have been filling up in the STEM field, it has come to the attention of many individuals that the male population is holding a majority of these occupations. This male takeover is due to the fact that it is the societal stereotype that men dominate these fields (Bohlen). It was proven in a study that in order to resolve the issue, girls should be encouraged from a young age to pursue a job in one of the fields of STEM and that the hostility that women receive from others for pursuing such a career should be addressed.
There is an apparent similarity between the events of the past and the events that are occurring today. Women are not necessarily segregated in the workforce, but there is an evident divide between men and women in the STEM field. In both instances, it was expected that men uptake positions that receive higher pay and that require more mental skill, whilst women have occupations with lower pay and positions. In addition, women face a great deal of discouragement, which includes the hostility that they receive from men and the fact that it is challenging to pursue a career and raise a family at the same time (Bohlen). However, just as before, women are making breakthroughs, with the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 helping women then, and many conferences that are being held all over the world to push women into the STEM field today. Emanuela Aureli, a consultant at Spencer Stuart, states that if women do not partake in crediting themselves to their ideas and creations, they will lose their voice (Bohlen). In other words, Aureli is urging women to take part in what they are able to create and take credit for their achievements; otherwise, they will be underrepresented and taken for granted in the STEM field.
The main difference between job segregation in the past and the divide between men and women today is the amount of support that women received. In the 1900s, women did not have any encouragement from the government or their families. Today, many government regulations prevent companies and organizations from discriminating against women, creating endless opportunities for women. The primary obstacle is the stereotypes that society has set, which can undoubtedly be addressed with time.