A commentary on gender inequality through culture.
I recently came across this great visualization of pocket sizes from the wonderful team at The Pudding, comparing the pocket sizes of women’s & men’s jeans.
This prompted me to think of all the other subtle indicators of gender inequality, and I looked into some visualizations and datasets that showcase the disparity between aspects of life and culture between men and women.
First up is dialogue in film and television. The Pudding also has this interesting visualization of dialogue in highest-grossing films. It’s really a shame but no surprise here, the majority of all these films have more males with speaking roles and dialogue than females. Additionally, there are several films with 100% male dialogue (imagine avoiding women in a film altogether!).
Expanding out to a metric that’s more general and well-known, here’s a great graph from the Wall Street Journal on the pay gaps of men and women in different professions in the workforce.
It’s surprising to see that in every profession, men earn more than women do. It’s stylized in a graph similar to a min-max-average graph, showing two sets of relevant data at once (it’s great to show differences in the length between the two dots).
This leads to a great question––where does this disparity come from? Wage gap deniers commonly propose the following question: if women are paid less but are just as competent, why don’t companies hire all women? (often also citing some economic Darwinism argument…) There’s actually a simple refutation to this question––parenthood.
While looking into this, I found a Data Face article detailing the various parental leave policies in the United States (and compared to the world).
The idea is as follows: if companies are mandated to provide unpaid leave to their female employees, versus minimal leave for their male employees––this is incentive to hire male workers whom they know will not be on leave for an extended period of time. Additionally, a significant break in work would be detrimental to anyone’s career.
Although there are many more of these indicators and norms that reflect the disparity between males and females in all areas of life, these are but some key yet hidden aspects of culture that showcase this.
More interesting sources
Many of the causes and effects of gender inequality can become clear through the data. Cultural paradigms beget long-standing paradigms and norms in the workplace, and we should be aware of these underlying factors that are causing men and women to be perceived differently and compensated unequally.