Women in the Workplace
Contemporary Social Problems & the Workplace, SOC 402
Women in the Workplace
Women in the workplace have become a commonality since the economy has taken a downturn that requires both parents to work outside the home to provide financially for their families. In 1961, labor force participation among women was below 30%, compared to more than 75% in 1996 (Gazso, 2004). Although women have garnered jobs, they experience inequality in the workplace. Such inequality is referred to as gender inequality, which signifies the obvious or hidden disparities among individuals based on the performance of gender. The mindset that a woman belongs in the home taking care of household duties and the children, women are not as strong as men, and women are sensitive and cannot adequately manage people are factors that affect their pay within the workforce. The glass ceiling effect is an indissoluble barrier that facilitates keeping women and individuals of minority groups from progressing into the upper realm of the corporate ladder, regardless of their credentials or accomplishments. This is mainly accomplished due to male hiring their counterparts. This bias whether it is consciously or unconsciously made accelerates poverty, racism, and even smothers the need for diversity within the workplace. Without diversity companies are making decisions which can suffocate their benefits and goals of reaching customers of a different gender or culture. 20 countries participated in the International Labor Organizational meeting in Geneva in December, 1997. The countries agreed that "social attitudes and cultural biases were identified as major factors discriminating against women and holding them back from attaining higher-level jobs" (Wirth, 1998, p. 247). It is quite unfortunate that social attitudes still view women as homemakers and often portray women as having weak management skills and unable to make the hard decisions. This perception bias or erroneous view of women often determine if a woman is hired regardless of her accomplishments, educational level and resume. It also facilitates the wage disparity between women and their male counterparts in the work center. It is believed that a woman being hired into a position will not seek a higher salary based on her education and also based on the limited number of women in the higher echelons of companies. Theorists postulate that women's primary responsibilities for family life create their unequal workplace experiences (Dunn, Almquist and Chafetz, 1993). Growing up in an environment where a woman’s primary role has been raising kids and ensuring a meal was prepared for her husband after a long day at work requires a mental change for both men and women. Balancing a family along with demands of a career creates a serious problem for most women and therefore they require accommodation. Accommodations can be as simple as having flexibility with work hours or being able to telecommute a few days a week. With working with many civilian counterparts in the workforce they have implemented telecommuting three times a week to alleviate some of the cost associated with budget cuts. These jobs range from full-time positions, part-time, temporary and contract work for the government. A woman’s career can be adversely affected by interruptions that stem from becoming pregnant and often taking time away from their occupations to raise their children. This can be viewed as lacking focus and thus receive disapproval of climbing the corporate ladder. As managers individuals are expected to have formal and informal power. Women are placed in conflict between their professional class and their sexual category which often undermine their authority. Women predominate in positions or career fields where female in-role behavior is viewed as an asset. These positions include assisting, helping, nurturing, and being sympathetic to customers...
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