Gender Discrimination as an Ethical Issue

Today’s society is inevitably related to the notions of discrimination, inequality, and ethical injustice due to the increasing rates of incompetence incidence based on racial, gender, or ethnic affiliation. While the modern world should pool its efforts to even slightly modify the existing tendency, the already existing achievements in the equality paradigm should not be overlooked. Thus, today’s attention to the issue is frequently brought to the peculiarities of a global problem, with discriminators being barely aware of their offensive actions, as the algorithms of detecting discrimination have been considerably modified over the past years (Kleinberg et al., 2018). As a result, many institutions and phenomena used to represent the absence of discrimination are now being accused of mistreating individuals based on their affiliation or beliefs.

A prime example of such an accusation is the recent study the revealed a severe payment gap among the professors at Princeton, claiming male employees to receive a significantly higher salary. According to the US Department of Labor’s findings, in the timeframe between 2012 and 2014, more than a hundred female workers at the Ivy League university were underpaid compared to the average male workers’ profit (Thorbecke, 2020). To settle the conflict, the facility’s administration has agreed to pay back the calculated discrepancy, along with ensuring no further financial discrimination acts for the university employees.

On the one hand, such an example is an explicit example of gender discrimination that has been tackling society for centuries. The researchers claim the gender economic gap to be relevant for at least another 100 years, anticipating the problem resolution to happen no earlier than the year 2133 (Verniers & Vala, 2018). Although there should be no reasonable justification for such a severe human rights violation, there still exists a major difference in the approaches to salary calculation.

While some enterprises are still driven by various biases related to the women’s ability to combine family care and professionalism, others fail to achieve financial equality due to their intentional disregard of gender peculiarities. The previous pattern of Princeton University’s administration work was primarily based upon the duties of a staff employee without paying specific attention in terms of age, gender, experience, and other external factors (Thorbecke, 2020). Thus, the overall university management system resulted in a severe discrepancy in terms of salary due to already existing misconceptions prevailing in the educational system. These issues include the ratio of male to female college professors, male and female professors’ prejudiced affiliation to certain subjects, etc. To mitigate such a negative outcome, university leaders ensured their ambition to eradicate any trials of discrimination on campus to guarantee equally satisfying working conditions for each worker.

The following example demonstrates how a seemingly harmless procedure of salary allocation might lead to a severe ethical conflict, which leads to the contribution to the global issue of discrimination. Hence, it becomes obvious that the overall system of decision-making should be modified in order to be ethically acceptable. One of the most beneficial decision-making approaches in the existing social equality context is the evidence-based model of reaching a consensus.

The overall concept presupposes one’s ability to perform deductive reasoning through a meticulous analysis of the primary data in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion (Brownstein et al., 2019). In fact, the vast majority of today’s sociological research is dedicated to the issues of gender inequality and statistical data on gender discrimination in the workplace, indicating both synchronic and diachronic patterns of its expansion. It is primarily created to become the basis for one’s empirical research and policy implementation so that the issue of discrimination is gradually eradicated from the social model. Hence, such role models as educational establishments of the Ivy League are to be the first to consider the existing data in order to make well-balanced and respectful decisions.

Another crucial aspect of the following issue is the necessity of the employees’ involvement in the overall decision-making process to secure job satisfaction to the maximum extent. Such an approach is also known as a shared decision-making model, implying the collective effort aimed at reaching a consensus. In such a way, the overall discontent with the management’s decisions will be reduced, and the team’s actual expectations from the workplace. Thus, considering the situation in Princeton, the issue of underpayment could have been resolved without the US Department of Labor intervention once the employees were occasionally surveyed on the subject of their job satisfaction and financial security.

Taking everything into consideration, it might be concluded that today’s focus on the matter of equality has made management and enterprises in general incapable of neglecting the issue in the workplace. For this reason, the process of decision-making and work organization should be evaluated from all the possible perspectives in order to make sure the outcome is ethically acceptable. The example of payment discrepancy in one of the leading universities in the US serves as a prime example of how the slightest act of ignorance might lead to a series of severe consequences. Thus, in order to remain relevant in terms of modern ethical frameworks, it is of paramount importance to consider the existing statistical data and account for the team’s thoughts on the matter before reaching a certain decision.


Brownstein, N. C., Louis, T. A., O’Hagan, A., & Pendergast, J. (2019). The role of expert judgment in statistical inference and evidence-based decision-making. The American Statistician, 73(sup1), 56-68.

Kleinberg, J., Ludwig, J., Mullainathan, S., & Sunstein, C. R. (2018). Discrimination in the age of algorithms. Journal of Legal Analysis, 10, 113-174.

Thorbecke, C. (2020). Princeton agrees to backpay nearly $1M to female professors after gender discrimination allegations. Web.

Verniers, C., & Vala, J. (2018). Justifying gender discrimination in the workplace: the mediating role of motherhood myths. PloS one, 13(1), e0190657.

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