Gender Inequality, Discrimination and the Way we Dress Reflect Today's Workplace Resemblance to 'Mad Men'

By Allison Boccamazzo April 08, 2013

Season six of the hit AMC show ‘Mad Men’ newly premiered across millions of televisions nationwide, yet do we realize that when we go back to work that next Monday morning, the office we stroll into is quite similar to that lived by Don Draper and Co.? According to the Huffington Post yesterday, there are more similarities than we care to notice, perhaps signaling to us that we haven’t yet evolved out of the rash office aura of the 1960’s workplace.

Here are some ideas HP gives to make its point:

We Are Still Overtly Concerned About the Way We Look at Work

 You can’t really deny this point. For most of us in corporate America, four days of the week are spent in form fitting, sleek outfits that showcase our professionalism, and in many ways, the basics of who we are and how we’d like to be perceived at work. While the style of the swift 60s can make almost any woman swoon, the layered and quite dapper looks of the show’s male cast never go unnoticed.

Today, men usually don blazers, suits or jackets, and for a more business casual look, slacks and a nice button down or collared shirt. Meanwhile, women can wear dresses draped with a cardigan or a pair of tailored trousers with a billowy blouse. The point here is that today’s modern take on corporate dress code is, in its own unique way, an homage to those who once occupied those desks and cubicles long before us.

There is Still LGBT Workplace Discrimination

Remember Sterling Cooper, who was quietly fired back in season four mainly due to his sexuality? Unfortunately, this is still a battle many face in corporate workplace settings – especially among the LGBT community. Despite the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which if passed, would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employing anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity – there is still a ways to go.

In fact, statistics from 2011 show that 15 to 43 percent of gay and transgender workers have experienced some form of discrimination while at work. Even more, 8 to 17 percent of gay or transgender workers report experiencing a lack of consideration for a position or even being fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, 10 to 28 percent report receiving negative remarks or evaluations that have resulted in missing promotions or other benefits due to them being gay or transgender.

Women Still Receive Lower Pay than Men

As of 2012, women working full-time received only 80.9 percent of what men did, HP reports. Even worse, this has gone down from 82.2 percent in 2011, as reported by the Washington Post. In the show, Peggy Olson gets a job as a copywriter, yet it still remains a mystery as to why she is not paid as much as her fellow male counterparts. This actually leads to her quitting her job.

Image via

Across the board, as of April 2012, the median earnings for women were at almost $37,000, while for men it was a solid $47,715 – almost $10,000 more per year, according to the Center for American Progress. In 2010, nearly two thirds of families (almost 64 percent), boasted the mother as the breadwinner, which only further calls for action to offer equal pay to nurture a more balanced family life.

What do you think about these similarities between the 1960’s workplace and corporate America today?

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Web Editor

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