If we eliminate occupational segregation in the workforce we will not eliminate gender inequality, at least not right away. It is possible over time and through generations that gender inequality decreases but the change has to come mainly from society's perspective. In this essay I will provide examples as to why I believe eliminating gender inequality would not be happening anytime in the near future, but is not completely out the door.
I'm going to use my workplace as a prime example as I'm sure others that are employed will see how gender inequality relates to their own work environment. I work for a large convenience store chains corporate office. We have many different departments within our office: Real Estate, Marketing, Operations, Human Resources, Customer Service, Petroleum, IT etc... When looking at each department I find it extremely interesting that while our Operations department is almost completely equally divided other departments are not. Our Real Estate department consists of all males (minus the admin assistant who is of course female). Our Human Resources department is made up of all females in the office (with the exception of two males who work outside the office). Our President of the company is male and our Vice President of the company is African American male (not necessarily stereotypical), and even myself being the Executive Administrative Assistant and Customer Service Supervisor fall into the stereotype. In my head I think if we divide up all of the departments with equal amounts of male and female workers eliminating occupational segregation we will still run into our own preconceived notions. For example I have three heavy boxes of confidential information in my office that needs to go down to the shred it container. I'm going to ask the Director of Construction whose office is next to mine to move these for me. If the Director of Construction was now a female, I wouldn't be asking her to help me. Back to society and our preconceived notions if I am a male now reporting to a female supervisor am I going to give her the same respect I gave my previous male supervisor...I doubt it. Do I think she can do the job just as well as the male supervisor did...probably not? Also if we would eliminate the occupational segregation over time what is going to prevent supervisors from homosocial reproduction? If this is not prevented we are going to end up right back to where we started.
The interesting part of all of this is what I've learned from Rosabeth Kanter's research (a couple of semesters ago), and which is why I believe with time it is a possibility to reduce gender inequality in the workplace. Kanter's interesting research explains that the job made the person. People who had a lower paying, non-promising advancement job acted differently than people who had a higher paying, promotion promising job. Their behavior on the job then created stereotypes for that gender. If I was a woman in a low paying job stuck under the glass ceiling, I'm most likely going to be less enthusiastic about my job, which then reflects on my job performance. If statistics prove that women are more likely to hold jobs such as these then society is going to have a preconceived notion about females in the workplace. With this discovery we get into a deeper mindset that occupational segregation could be creating gender inequality at the workplace. Wow, this theory boggles my mind. With this being said I believe that by simply eliminating occupational segregation it will not immediately resolve gender inequality, but if it was done based on Kanter's research over time and through generational gaps it could be reduced.