Paid Work Experiences: Intersection of Class, Gender, and Race - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1735 Words
Date:  2023-05-22


The intersection of different sociological and demographic factor affect paid work experiences in different ways. Findings from comparative studies indicate that the intersection of various demographic variables such as class, gender, and race have a far-reaching impact on the paid work experiences of various people in contemporary society (Young, 2016). However, most of the available literature predominantly focuses on understanding the relationship between gender and paid work experiences. These experiences vary from inequality in access to employment opportunities, discrimination at the workplace, and practical differences in the amount of compensation that various types of employees receive at their respective workplaces. Also, evidence from comparative studies indicates that women and men experience persistent inequalities regarding their working conditions, wage levels, work environment, career opportunities, and work time (Reyes, 2017). Women receive lower wages when compared to their male counterparts employed in the same category of job in similar companies.

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According to Pay Scale (2020), the disparities and differences in terms of payment among men and women is a long-term historical issue that illustrates the negative experiences associated with paid work. This difference in gender-based payment remains a critical issue in society despite the countermeasures taken by various policymakers across the world. For example, the gender pay gap, which is a measure of the difference in the amount of salary received by male workers against that of their female counterparts, remains a reality for a plethora of women across the United States' labor market. Overall, women in America earn only 81.4% of the amount that their male colleagues make (Martin, 2019). However, this experience becomes worse when considering the intersection of gender and race or ethnicity.

Findings from empirical studies indicate that the negative experiences, including a wider pay gap, tend to be higher among women of color when compared to their white counterparts in the United States (Reyes, 2017). Asian women received the highest amount in terms of salaries, with their weekly average earning totaling to $965 as Hispanic women earned the least wages of up to $621 in 2019 (Martin, 2019). The United States Bureau of Labour Statistics reported that the median earnings of Black women averaged at $691, which transformed to 82.8% of those earned by the white peers (Pay Scale, 2020). However, it is critical to understand that the wage gap is not just an issue for women of color. Men of color also suffer from a systematic racial pay gap, with most of the African American men earning salaries that are considerably lower than those of their white male colleagues (Young, 2016). Age is yet another factor that is critical to consider when analyzing how the intersection of different demographic factors affect paid work experiences.

Martin (2019) maintained that a plethora of men across the United States earns more than their female counterparts at every age. Men's salaries continue to rise at the expense of women despite efforts taken to address this negative encounter in payment. Women reach their peak earning age at 44 as opposed to men who attain their highest earnings at age 55 (Martin, 2019). Also, many women earn fewer salaries when compared to their male peers from the time they join the American labor force. For example, pay-scale reports gathered and analyzed from various sources in the United States indicate that women bring in an average salary of $40,400 at 22 as opposed to men make a median pay amounting to $53,500 (Pay Scale, 2020). Women experience rapid growth in their salaries as opposed to men, but they tend to plateau earlier. For example, the average wage received by 38-year-old women stands at $64,000, which is the same as a 27-year-old man (Martin, 2019). These statistics highlight how the intersection between different demographic factors impacts the paid work experience of different individuals across the United States.

According to Martin (2019), pay gaps between men and women originate from various factors. For example, lack of representation and occupational discrimination are essential variables in the occurrence of these typical disparities. The total number of women running highly-influential and well-performing companies, such as those ranked in the Fortune 500 list, is at a considerably high record. Yet, they still only account for a total of 6.6% of chief executive officers (CEOs) (Pay Scale, 2020). Comparatively, women of all races and ethnicities alongside their male counterparts of color suffer from the negative experience of lower representation at higher levels of organizations when compared to their male counterparts. Pay-scale reports also highlight a wide range of challenges experienced during the job search process by women and men of color as a crucial source of discrimination (Reyes, 2017). For example, women benefit less often from critical processes such as employee referrals, which play a vital role in helping applicants to gain employment.

Nonetheless, women and men of color have a higher probability of facing gender-based harassment and abuse at their places of work as opposed to their white colleagues apart from payment discrimination and the widening pay gap. Many women continue to report cases of sexual abuse at the workplace, either through verbal or non-verbal utterances. Most of the perpetrators of discrimination against women and men of color are mainly their white counterparts occupying high-ranked positions in their corresponding organizations. However, men of color that occupy higher positions in typical organizations and believe to be members of the upper class in the society tend to harass women and men of their ethnicity. Class is, therefore, a vital demographic factor to put into consideration when examining how the intersection of different demographic factors impact paid work experiences (Young, 2016). Most of the upper-class members have a positive experience with their paid work as opposed to the poor and those who belong to the lower middle class.

Karl Marx, one of the most famous German philosophers, historians, sociologists, and economists, analyzed the impact of class on the labor market (Skousen, 2015) widely. The analysis made by this influential theorist remains vital in understanding how the intersection of class and other demographic variable affect the impact of paid work experiences. Marx developed his conflict theory by focusing on the concept of the existence of only two classes of people in modern societies. These classes included the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. People in the upper social class and the poor compared to Marx's classes of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, respectively. Most of the people in the upper social class refer to themselves as the elites and personal factors of production, such as land, labor, capital, entrepreneurship. The elites own companies and employ the poor masses of the society to work for them at a predetermined fee, termed as monthly salaries (Young, 2016). The elites, therefore, record positive experiences because they earn freely from work done by the proletariat who depend exclusively on them for a living.

How Neoliberalism Impact Economic Inequalities in Relation to Education

Understanding the impact of neoliberalism on economic inequalities concerning education remains an area of focus among a plethora of contemporary researchers. According to Monbiot (2016), neoliberalism is an umbrella term commonly used about the resurgence of the ideas that dominated the nineteenth century widely associated with the concept of free-market capitalization. Most of these ideas began reappearing in the twentieth century as essential modifications of the views held by the liberal society (Fotaki & Prasad, 2015). Such plans included liberalization policies such as measures of austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reduction in government spending. Another crucial example was the surge in the concept of privatization, which sought to increase the role of the private sector in a given economy or society. A myriad of these market-based ideologies and their associated policies became popular in the 1980s after the culmination of the outdated Keynesian principles (Shizha & Kariwo, 2011). Today, neoliberalism continues to have a far-reaching impact across the world.

Education provides the best example of an economic sector widely affected by the surge in the principles of neoliberalism (Monbiot, 2016). Critics of neoliberalism argue that this concept culminated in the privatization of major economic sectors, including trade, agriculture, transport, and education. The result of the inherent privatization of this vital industrial sector appears through how their management eventually became individual interests. The bourgeoisie believed to be in the ownership and control of factors of production; therefore, it took over people's social, economic, and political life to maximize their gains. Neoliberalism continues to have a far-reaching adverse impact across the world, especially in developing countries, where a significant percentage of people are proletariats (Shizha & Kariwo, 2011). Most of the imperial powers collaborate with the proletariats in the developing parts of the world to exploit their natural as well as human resources for selfish gains.

Nonetheless, the idea of neoliberalism is still evolving into an important economic trend in most of the developing countries. The concept began as a result of its promotion by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States, respectively (Fotaki & Prasad, 2015). The education sector is increasingly evolving into one sector heavily impacted by the adoption of the ideas and concepts of neoliberalism. The effects associated with the surge of neoliberalism in education appear through a corresponding rise in economic inequalities across the world. Such inequalities result from the adoption of a free-market approach to policymaking in education. Governments that embrace neoliberalism promote patriarchal measures such as privatization, the introduction of public spending cuts, and deregulation (Shizha & Kariwo, 2011). These three concepts account for the widespread increase in economic inequalities across the world.

Privatization in the education sector means giving a few members of the society the powers and mandate to build schools, take control of learning facilities, and reducing the influence of the government in the entire learning process (Monbiot, 2016). As a result, privatization creates economic inequalities by ensuring that most of the privately managed learning institutions charge high educational costs. It is only the bourgeoisie and their children who can adequately cater to the high educational costs charged by these schools. Most of the children living in impoverished families have parents and relatives who cannot cater for continuous increment in school fees end up gaining low-quality education from public schools. Such students may also lack the financial capacity to progress to higher levels of learning, such as high schools, colleges, and universities (Fotaki & Prasad, 2015). Therefore, privatization of the education sector creates and increases economic inequality because such poor students cannot acquire high-quality education and the necessary skills needed to compete in the labor market favorably.

On the other hand, the success and sustainability of public institutions, such as schools rely exclusively on the budgetary allocations received fro...

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