Gender Diversity in the Workplace

Women have difficulties in fitting into the boundaries created by the society. Inequality based on gender, race, class, and sexuality is Increasingly extending itself throughout the world. The social definitions of femininity have gained a strong position in the modern world and its principles have permeated into the personal, educational, and working experiences. The 21st-century commercialization of labor that created on a basis of racial, ethnic, and class differences, causes an enormous number of problems. It is a well-known fact that women of color, the majority of which have low-income working class parents, had voiced their opinions and beliefs for a better life. Despite the oppression they had faced, they argued that the world is multinational, and that the nature of race, class, gender, and sexuality hierarchies is always interconnected. Even though the working conditions of today’s women have greatly improved, they still face inequality, violence, and humiliation in occupational environment. The purpose of this term paper is to compare and contrast the accountability of Korean women in nail salons and female law attorneys to social definitions of femininity, and conditions under which they vary. Moreover, it will discuss the structure of the mentioned occupational sectors, their key features, advancement opportunities, and their overall occupational inequality by gender, race, and class. 

First, I will discuss the main aspects of both fields of occupation, and their employment statistics. Next, I will review the structure of the profession of a lawyer and a manicurist. Finally, I will examine the social relations between the coworkers and the gender inequality they face in their jobs. 


Key Features

For centuries, women who obtained higher education could hardly get even a low-paid job. Their choice was limited to primarily female-dominated professions such as nursing and teaching. Even though over the last few decades there was an increase in the percentage of college-educated women that have high-paying jobs, the gender inequality persists in both organizations and society as a whole. It is very difficult for women to become leaders whom the coworkers would recognize and encourage.

Women were always victims of the social definitions of femininity, but this situation is currently changing. For instance, until recently, women supported stereotypes of them being mothers, whose primary objective is to take care of the kids and be a housewife. Today, the notion of ideal womanhood is reshaped and women become powerful members of American community (Lecture, Model Minority). The Korean women, in turn, should strive to resist the prevalent model minority stereotypes (Lecture, Model Minority). It is vital to frame the commercialization of labor through the gender, race, and class characteristics.  When Korean manicurists work with a middle class person, especially women, they may see them as inferior to the customer. Usually, immigrants are been humiliated and have no support and respect.

The current situation with the occupation of female attorneys and manicurists is very different. The lawyer’s job is to provide legal services to those who need them. The reasons for choosing this profession may be the desire of intellectual challenge, problem solution, and interest in advocacy (Rhode 7). Moreover, they strive to make a difference in civil, social, environmental, and economic issues around the world. Female attorneys have always wanted to ensure their financial independence through the use of their professional skills in the sector of legal services(Rhode 7). Unlike the female lawyers, the manicurists are taking care of people’s nails appearances The ultimate purpose of this occupation is to clean, shape and make finger- and toenails neat and beautiful. The Korean immigrants work as manicurists to get at least some money to support themselves and their families (Nir). This job is not as desirable as the one of the lawyer, but it provides basic resources for life. Furthermore, the female workers often are victims of abuse from their bosses and receive low wages at the same time (Nir).

Additionally, these two occupations provide different levels of benefits. Both lawyers and manicurists receive training opportunities to become more qualified and professional at their jobs. The nail salons may provide housing for their employees, which are not very comfortable and often lack all modern conveniences (Nir). The lawyers, in turn, can usually afford to live in technologically advanced contemporary houses. Moreover, they may get free vacations from the companies. The employers usually cover their transportation expenses. The mobility rates of these two occupations are incomparable. The attorneys travel with their clients everywhere and anywhere they need, whereas the manicurists should always stay in their salons unless they are not self-employed (Nir). The nail salon workers have virtually no mobility opportunities.

Overall, it is a proved fact that female workers can be high performers in any occupational sector. The only problem is that some men still hold to the stereotypes and some of the women are not able to prove these stereotypes wrong. Because of the fact that some women underestimate their capabilities, men often possess better jobs and better opportunities. Historically, they support the notion of patriarchate to legitimize their priority in both personal and professional lives.

Occupational Employment Statistics

Next, I will discuss the percentage of women in the professions under consideration, the differences of income, and the dominating gender. The number of women, their salary in these two different occupations varies across the country. For instance, the number of women occupied in personal care and service job comprises nearly 95 percent of the total number of workers (Women in the Labor Force: A Databook 39). It is evidently a female-dominated profession. Surprisingly enough, they earn just as much as other males working in their field, and three times less than an average female attorney per week (Women in the Labor Force: A Databook 68). In contrast, the female lawyers account for the 33 percent of the total number of employed personnel (Women in the Labor Force: A Databook 36). Even though the amount of women in this profession is steadily growing, it remains a male-dominated sector. Moreover, their average weekly full-time wage and salary comprise one and a half thousand dollars, which is only approximately 79 percent of what men earn in the same positions (Women in the Labor Force: A Databook 65). Unfortunately, in comparison to their male colleges, women are underpaid workers who strive to succeed in their profession

Workplace Structures

One of the most severe challenges for each occupation is to maintain balance between professional and personal lives. Nearly two-thirds of female lawyers face a conflict between family and work. The majority of people believe that this is an obstacle for advancement (Rhode 6). Working women are strained because they have to do multiple things at one time (Hochschild and Machung 126). For instance, they check phone calls, clean the house, pay bills, and take care of kids while having a full-time job (Hochschild and Machung 126). Women feel satisfied only when they successfully combine these various activities.  At the same time, the Korean manicurist work on average six days a week, and they almost do not see their families (Nir). Thus, they resort to hiring nurses and have to pay them nearly half of their income. Usually, these nannies are the same immigrants as the manicurists (Cheever 32). If their families are in Korea, the only way to take care of them is to send them the money they earned in the USA (Cheever 32). 

However, the reasons for entering these two fields of occupation are quite diverse. Women enter the legal industry to continue their professional growth and because of the desire to progress intellectually and become successful. Thousands of women look for a job of the manicurist that does not require any special training, degrees, and sometimes even documents (Cheever 32). Women enter this occupation in order to earn money and help their families financially. 

The biggest drawback in this profession is that there is practically no opportunities for career advancement.  These women work at the lowest salaries, and the employers may manipulate them. Unlike manicurists, lawyers have great opportunities for professional advancement.  Contrary to the manicurists, lawyers can easily manipulate their employers because they have professional background, knowledge and experience. 

Social Relations and Emotional Labor

Social relations are an inevitable part of a successful career. Due to the alteration of gender relations, the recent social improvements occurred very rapidly. For centuries, male domination was characteristic of social relations at workplaces. However, everything has changed with the women’s joining the traditionally male-dominant jobs. Unfortunately, even in the 21st century some men believe that women should be subordinate to them. emale lawyers are professionals and try to mentor those relations that are crucial for their advancement (Rhode 7). They do not strive for dominance but still require gender equality at workplaces. There are many of those men who resist to accept the changes of gender roles. In contrast to attorneys, women dominate the cosmetology industry. Thus, the workplace relations are far less complex and diverse. Due to the continual communication and interaction with their colleagues women should support and respect each others. Thus, it is vital to remember that in every job, there will always be those who strive to supersede their coworkers. 

The next problem is that women face in their workplaces is sexual harassment, which may be in a form of a request, or in a form of physical abuse (Lecture, Sexualization of the Workplace). Most often it happens with underprivileged immigrants. This issue may affect woman’s employment by creating hostile working environment instead of a place where it is pleasant to spend one’s time. Thus, the two key factors that influence the organizational structure of workplace, the hiring decisions, and promotion are gender and sexuality (Lecture, Sexualization of the Workplace). Overall, such situations may cause emotional alienation, making women’s feelings influence the job performance requirements (Lecture, Emotional Labor & Body Labor).

Another significant factor of working process is the emotional labor, which helps people manage their feelings according to the company’s set rules and guidelines. The scholars characterize the profession of a lawyer as one of power and authority. Women acquire these characteristics at the job (Wharton 152). They always communicate with clients and possess the techniques of emotion management (Wharton 152).  Just like lawyers, the manicurists also interact with clients but in a more routine way (Wharton 152). Unlike the attorneys, they cannot be neutral or emotionally detached because they work with their clients. Thus, the manicurists experience more physical labor and less emotional one, as contrary to the lawyers (Kang 20). 

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Occupational Gender Inequality

The gender inequality is a fundamental issue that requires detailed comprehension and addressing. The feminists are women who strive to make changes for equatly in the lives and experiences of females of various ethnicities, nationalities, and social classes (Pessar 37). All occupation sectors have physical and mental disparities, which are a double burden for a women (Pessar 38). Despite all the previous and current difficulties, women are willing to make profound changes in gender ideology and labor division (Pessar 42).

The gender inequality in the legal sector is still present but is steadily diminishing. For instance, in 2000, some studies revealed that only a quarter of female attorneys believe that men deserve professional advancement more than women. However, some male clients and lawyers still think that female attorney lack competitiveness and insistence (Rhode 15). These traditional stereotypes cause other gender biases in the` decision-making processes. For example, attorneys consider working mothers as less committed (Rhode 15). Unfortunately, there are not so many feminists who can go for a job and be pushy and strident in order to succeed. There are many of those who just leave thus making the gender gap bigger.

Unlike lawyers, the Korean manicurists have almost always engaged themselves in low-paid jobs (Duffy 314). They are occupied in a multi-million industry in which they are underpaid and cannot live on a “socially accepted standard of living” (Kang). This job has always been less segregated by sex, but the disproportionate number of immigrant workers has remained. Moreover, they have been treated as members of the global reserve army of labor (Lecture, Women & Work: Global Considerations). Thus, they face inequality from their employers rather than their colleagues of opposing sex(Duffy 314). Owners claim that they help immigrants by providing them with jobs but at the same time they are disgracing and humiliating them (Nir). Women sometimes work for several weeks without pay, knowing that the job causes plenty of severe health problems, including miscarriage and cancer,  due to the inhaled fumes. Those Korean women who work in this industry are desperate to get any occupation in order to provide financial support to their families.


It  is quite evident that gender diversity in the workplaces can cause inequality. After discussing the peculiarities of two occupations, we have reached a conclusion that the occupation itself does not impact the disparities. It is vital to say that both female attorneys and manicurists face the same problems from male colleagues and employers. Undoubtedly, there are prospects for women’s resistance and empowerment in these jobs. Firstly, there should be equal payment for identical work regardless of gender. Secondly, women should eliminate gender inequality by drastically decreasing their reliance on men.Finally, the women should not be afraid to report on these problems to various and governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Thus, even though it is a big international problem but there is a possibility to address it.

Jul 10, 2019 in Socioligy
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