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Free «Understanding Gender & Sexual Orientation» Essay Sample

1. Power based on gender.

According to Harper (1990) “power is gender biased” (p. 83). It means that only one of the genders has it, while others feel powerless. This gender imbalance can be seen through the tendencies at a workplace: difference in salaries, positions taken by representatives of different genders etc. All the studies show that all power is currently in the hands of men, and that has a negative impact on women at a workplace. This power of gender can be seen even in wages. Despite the legislation that should eliminate discrimination at a workplace (Equal Pay Act of 1963), women still earn only 76 cents for each dollar earned by men (Giapponi and McEvoy, 2006, p. 138). Moreover this inequality is seen in the positions taken by men and women. Women are often under-represented in the high management positions (Andershon and Shinew, 2003, p. 229).  

It is essential to underline that women feel powerless not only individually, but also as the whole gender (Harper, 1990, p. 82). Due to historically formed socialization processes women are less prepared to compete with men. Therefore despite personal qualities women from the very beginning are not ready for the rivalry in male-dominated environment. As a result, there is a continuous gender imbalance on the decision-making power levels. And all powers n the workplace, society and politics remain in the hands of one gender.


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2. Gender equity and sexual identity

It is common knowledge that a dominant gender (heterosexual males) holds the power both in social and professional field. Other genders have to exist according to the rules set by the gender at power. This is what Anderson & Shinew (2003) describe as the “good old boys network” (p. 238). Therefore other genders become subordinate to the dominant one. Even though the situation is slowly changing and women at a workplace start feeling the positive discrimination and changing attitudes of men, which gives them more privileges, there is still one gender at power.

Heterosexual males still occupy executive positions, although situation is slowly changing. It is interesting that women and gay men are coping with the situation in different ways. Although genders are trying to adjust to the system, women are more involved in changing it. Gay men, as seen in the case presented by Johnson & Samdahl (2005), are trying to stay connected to the gender at power. Unable to be a part of hegemonic heterosexual masculinity, gay men try to preserve and cherish their masculinity and maintain control by reinforcing the idea of masculinity overpowering femininity.

3. Practice in sport setting.

The two articles studied for this assignment have closeted homosexuals and the coming out process in the center of attention. Although Day & Schoenrade (2000) consider the possible dangers of the openness of gay men and lesbians at the workplace, at the same time the authors note that research shows no significant change of attitudes towards the openly gay people (p. 348). Adams & Anderson (2011) come to the same conclusion in their study of a coming out process of a gay soccer player. The authors emphasize supportive attitudes of teammates and note that as the teammates were already emotionally close, there was no negative attitude or homophobia towards the gay team member (Adams & Anderson, 2011, p. 10). While Day & Schoenrade (2000) emphasize the importance of anti-discrimination policies officially introduced in companies (p. 349), the research of Adams & Anderson (2011) shows that positive attitudes towards gay teammates can exist without any official statements. In fact the two researches clearly demonstrate the 10-year-gap between them. 


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