Unfortunately, today, women are still paid less than men are, even when they do similar work and have similar education, skills and experience. .
Functional theory helps to explain why there is discrimination of women in the workplace and why it has lasted as long as it has. According to functional theory, society is based on stability and the cooperation of its parts to maintain that stability. Because of the longstanding tradition of women staying home while their husbands go to work, women fell into the roll in society of the domesticated housekeeper. Functional Theory states that society tends to maintain its equilibrium and that any change disrupts this equilibrium. Therefore, women joining the workforce have met a lot of resistance, and society has to make changes elsewhere - for instance recognizing the equality of women in the workforce - to compensate for these changes in order to reach equilibrium again.
Another viewpoint is conflict theory, which stresses the competition between groups over limited resources. Conflict theorists believe that groups in power use their power to maintain their favorable position and to keep those without power from gaining so they will not jeopardize their position. From this point of view, the group in power (men) intentionally keeps women unequal in the workplace so that they will not threaten its position of power and control over resources. In addition, men that hold high positions in the workplace may perpetuate discrimination of women so that they can get away with paying them less and therefore keep their payroll low.
A third perspective, interactionist theory, concentrates on the interactions between individuals in their daily lives and the shared symbols and definitions people use to communicate with each other and understand the world around them. This theory could help to explain the discrimination of women in the workforce by showing how women are seen symbolically as inferior by individuals in the work place, and how this image is passed on to each generation.