Gender Discrimination Against Women in the Workplace

Topics: Discrimination, Gender, Sexism Pages: 11 (3183 words) Published: May 25, 2013
Gender Discrimination Against Women In Business
According to Bryan (2007), the barriers to women’s advancement in organizations today have a relatively straightforward cause. Most organizations have been created by and for men and are based on male experiences. Even though women have entered the workforce in droves in the past generation, and it is generally agreed that they add enormous value. Organizational definitions of competence and leadership are still predicated on traits stereotypically associated with men that are tough, aggressive and decisive. Even though many households today have working fathers and mothers, most organizations act as if the historical division of household labor still holds-with women primarily responsible for matters of the heart. Outdated or not, those realities drive organizational life (Bryan, 2007).

Challenges for women begin in childhood. Young girls may be brought up to believe that they are only suited for professions or, in some cases, only to serve as wives and mothers. Gender lines are drawn early, and exclusions for women continue throughout adulthood. These constant messages may lead to a false belief that women do not belong in the high-powered corporate world. More women are starting businesses than men, more women are in the workforce than men, and the majority of degree-holders are now women (Wolfe, 2010). Yet, according to the Department of Labor, women are still only dominating fields and industries that are often seen as “female”. The positions that women held from 1997-2006 varies from secretaries and administrative assistants, to accountants and auditors (Department of Labor, 2007). 3

Gender Discrimination In The Workplace
Data collected from a wide array of sources reveal the following pattern with regard to gender discrimination in the U.S. workplace. In general, the proportion of women employed as computer scientists appears to reflect the proportion of women graduating with degrees in that area. However, when women are hired, they tend to start at lower positions and/or earn lower starting salaries than men (Isaac, 1995). Over time, the gap is found even in studies that equate years of experience, level of education and industry (Isaac, 1995).

In almost every industry, women occupy a very small proportion of the higher-level positions (White, 1992). For example, a 1988 study found that only three Chief Executive Officer’s among the Fortune 1000 were women, and only 1.7% of the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President’s were women (White, 1992). In a 1993 study of Stanford MBA’s, graduates from the class of 1982 were tracked over time. It was found that 71% of the men are currently in the top four rungs of management, whereas 34% of women had reached those positions (Smith & Mitchell, 1993). A Study of the ten largest makers of weapons found that women made up 5.3% of the senior management positions (Sims, 1993). According to Koretz (1990), a study was performed in 1987 in which they tracked 100 women executives who were on the fast track from as far back as 1976. They found that none of those 100 women had made it to the top position in a public corporation, unless they started the business or inherited the position (White, 1992).

Women consistently make less money than men in almost every industry, even when they first start their jobs (Schwartz, 1988, & Mahar, 1993). Gender or sex discrimination in the United 4
States has a long tradition, partaking of a much wider-phenomenon of discrimination against women that is both ancient and global. Only recently have social movements and laws in the industrialized countries recognized the right of women to own property, vote, marry whom they choose, limit the number of children they will bear, or have equal opportunities in the workplace (Mayer, 2010). Gender and Society

According to Mead (2010), “Men have always...
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