Lets talk about gender inequality

by René on November 21, 2014 - 10:24am

Dear everybody,


because we have students from so many countries in our both classes, I would like to use the opportunity and compare them with regard to gender inequality.

I am from Germany and we have still huge differences in gender equality. Although men and women are equal before the law in most aspects, one has only to look on the numbers to understand the big differences: In our parliament just 36.5% of the seats belong to women [1]. Even though our chancellor (Angela Merkel) is female, 10 out of 15 ministers are male [2]. You can continue this list no matter where you look. In every higher position (judge, military, professor ...) women are highly underrepresented. Furthermore, the inequality is influenced by problems like the gender pay gap [3] or glass ceiling [4]. 

If you take one step away from the level of organisations and state, you see inequality in everybody’s life. Sexual harassment and objectification of women are often visible and, sadly, often accepted. From my own perspective, I can often observe stereotypes talkiing to other people or watching the media. Even in my own words and reactions, I sometimes recognize that I treat or appraise the sexes differently.

What do you think about this? Do you exerience gender inequality your country or your own life? Let's talk about it.


Best regards,



This shall not be an article, but more of an invitation to discuss. So excuse all the Wikipedia-links, please : ). 

[1] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frauenanteil_im_Deutschen_Bundestag_seit_1949#Tabelle_1:_Frauenanteil_des_Deutschen_Bundestags_seit_1949_.28gesamt.29 (I am sorry, that link is in German)

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_of_Germany

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap#European_Union

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_ceiling




Hey René,
thanks for that your idea! It should be interesting.

I am from the Czech Republic, so close to Germany and as some economists like to say we are the 17th state of Germany, in the gender issue we are also as a younger brother... However, the problems in our smaller country are maybe much bigger. Take a look at some numbers.

In the elections to the Chamber of Deputies in 2013 just 39 women were elected from the total number out of 200 deputies, that averages 19,5 % [1], [2]. The Czech government has 15 members + prime minister, of which only 3 women [3]. In the Senate the situation is very similar. Expressed as a percentage 18,5 % out of all senators are female, it means 15 women out of 81 senators [4], [5]. Our country have never had a female prime minister or president and the number of female minister was never higher than five since 1992 [6]. (And I guess it was not better before...)

However, this inequality is evident in lots of another labour positions. For example, look at the employees in the education system because this institution is the closest to me as a student. Someone who has never studied at a university perhaps do not tell that there are little female teachers. Even if I just think about the word "teacher" I more likely imagine a woman than a man. In general, in the education system not a little female employees work [7], [8] the problem is which positions they do and on which level of education.

According to data from 2011 published by Eurostat in 2013 [9] in the Czech Republic 97 % workers in primary education, 58 % in upper secondary education and just 36 % academic staff in tertiary education are women. If we look more closely at the academic society, which should be traditionally open-mind, the term of gender inequality is used not just in the gender studies literature but unfortunately it is up in the air in everyday reality.

Notwithstanding, more females than males study at the Czech universities [10], markedly more men hold the post in top management of public universities and much less women are readers (24,8 %) and professors (14,1%) (the data are from academic year 2012/2013) [11].

Another important thing associated with the gender inequality topic is the different salary for the same work. The numbers found in an article by Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic show that the Czech women can get up to 21 % less money as men do for the same work [12]. Well, if a lady get a job finally which is nowadays worthy just for men she is paid less. Of course, logically… SO SAD STORY.

I would like to end my comment how I started – topic of politics. In the Czech Republic there is “an award” called Sexistické prasátečko (The Sexist Piggie). People can send on the web page pictures of sexist advert. Lots of this commercial show half-nacked women while they promote paint, boiler, etc. This year “the winners” are two political parties [13]. Big applause!

[1] http://www.volby.cz/pls/ps2013/ps122?xjazyk=CZ&xkraj=0&xstrana=0&xv=2, 12/01/2014.
[2] http://www.psp.cz/en/sqw/hp.sqw?k=192, 12/01/2014.
[3] http://www.vlada.cz/en/vlada/, 12/01/2014.
[4]http://www.senat.cz/senatori/index.php?par_2=2&lng=en&ke_dni=1.12.2014&O=10, 12/01/2014.
[5] http://padesatprocent.cz/cz/zeny-v-politice/senat/vysledky-voleb-a-zasto..., 12/01/2014.
[6] http://padesatprocent.ecn.cz/cz/zeny-v-politice/vlada-cr/zeny-ve-vladach, 12/01/2014.
[7] http://www.czso.cz/csu/2013edicniplan.nsf/t/6D0027D719/$File/1413133303.pdf, 12/01/2014.
[8] http://www.czso.cz/csu/2013edicniplan.nsf/t/6D0027D70F/$File/1413133302.pdf, 12/01/2014.
[9] Eurostat Newsrelease. Almost a third of women and 5% of men having a young child worked part-time in 2011. Eurostat Press Office, 2013. At: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-13-37_en.htm, 12/01/2014.
[10] http://www.czso.cz/csu/2013edicniplan.nsf/t/6D0027D6A0/$File/1413133306.pdf, 12/01/2014.
[11] http://www.czso.cz/csu/2013edicniplan.nsf/t/6D0027D6BB/$File/1413133304.pdf, 12/01/2014.
[12] http://www.spcr.cz/en/european-commission/rozdil-v-platech-zen-a-muzu-v-..., 12/01/2014.
[13] http://prasatecko.cz/, 12/01/2014.

Hi René, I find also that it is a good idea !

I think that France is close to Germany concerning gender equality. Of course men and women are equal before the law. But we can still pinpoint a lot of inequalities.

I noticed that there are only 155 women in the Assemblée nationale (our parlament) since 2012, namely 26,9 % out of all deputies. But it is despite all an improvement compared to the last elections in 2007 : only 17% of deputies were women. Indeed, we can say that for instance parity in politics consisted only for men to let women have the least important occupations...

Nevertheless, gender is currently very present in our society. First, gay marriage brought some interrogations about homosexuality and sexe discrimination. There is still today a big confrontation between two groups in the society : those who are in favour and those who are contra. The opponents are brought together in lobbies. And there is the question of medical help with conception which also concerns right of women. And more recently what is called « theory of gender » in France (I will probably write something about it). Indeed, the ancient secretary of Right of Women and Education wanted that one teach pupils about the equality between girls and boys. But some opponents are thinking that one want to deny biological differencies. Here is exactly the question : what means gender exactly ?

You say that there are inequalities in everybody's life (sexual harassment, etc). I'am a woman, so I know it. And I think that it is something which comes from the culture, the representations of the citizens, the institutions, the structure of the society, etc. For example, to my mind, gallantry is the first thing which proves that one consider women as inferiors because the base of gallantry is of course to respect the woman but it is also to say that she needs a man to bring her bag because she is less strong … !

Hi René,
I also come from France and I would like to especially emphasize the relationship between leadership positions and gender inequalities. It does clearly appear that men are more present the higher is the position in firms. And this is especially true when looking at boarder of big firms from the CAC 40 to the DAX 30. In 2011 a law called Copé-Zimmerman has been voted to establish a minima of 20% of women present at the board of directors although if the european proposed a quota of 40%, it has been a breakthrough in the economical area. But if the rate of women present on high position increases those past years, a new phenomenon has appeared as it seems that the glass ceiling, that does exist, will switch into a qualitative one instead of quantitate one that it historically used to be. Indeed it gradually appears that female administrators are further promoted depending on the kind of mandate : for example to endorse an independent statue or to represent salaries kind of position are much more gave to women than the representation of shareholders.
It still exist in France a really strong tendency that sends back to a heritage of a tradition based on the prestige and selectivity from which the educational system is resulting.
A key representation could be the access to the "Grandes écoles" or business schools (that are the royal way to access to leadership). A simple report of the rate of boys and girls who present the "concours" shows that there simply are more boys applying to it than girls and proportionally even more that integrate those programs than girls.
We can wonder if the lower self-confidence in their chance to success does not come at stake for women in their application or not to this programs.

About the author

Hey everybody,
my name is René, I am 21 and am studying Linguistics and Sociology here in Potsdam University. I am really interested in languages and nerdy linguistic stuff. But my hobbys are more usuall, like reading, swimming, cooking and going to drink a beer.