Equality is defined as the state of being equal in status, rights and opportunities. Woman have continuously fought to achieve equality. Today woman are seen as equally competent to hold corporate and political leadership positions, but the gap between woman and men in such positions remains unchanged as it does when it comes to the contributions of raising a family. Women continue to be dismayed because their efforts go unseen or they are faced to choose between exceling in a career and caring for their families. Though the number of woman in the workforce has significantly increased, woman in top position continue to be vague almost non-existent when compared to the number of men in such positions. Woman continuously will sacrifice opportunities for advancements because of family responsibilities. While this may sometimes seem like an unfair ultimatum, many woman are taking on the challenge and managing to do both. The decision to do both does come at a cost, the decision to remain in the workforce bring new challenges such as salary gaps, harassment and bias employers.
The Endless Job of a Woman
As a child, a false expectation of how a woman contributes has been implemented. Woman grow up believing that it is their responsibility alone to maintain the family home and care for children. These idea is a stereotype that is culturally based creating expectation for appropriate behavior for female. (Gender roles in children, 2020) This gender role play has a significant impact when it comes to shaping the way a woman will initially define her future.
The job of a woman is endless, Women ages 15 to 54 spent more time than men caring for and helping household members, much of which involved providing childcare. Of those ages 25 and older, women spent more time than men doing household activities such as cleaning house, preparing meals, and doing laundry, while men spent more time doing paid work. (‘How Women and Men Spend Their Time, 2015’, 2017) If household chores doesn’t take all your time try adding a full-time job next to it. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics 75% of employed women usually worked full time which is consistent with working 35+ hours a week, the remaining 25% usually worked part time, or 1-34 hours a week. That’s a solid 33 million out of the 74.6 million-strong working women, and women are the sole or primary breadwinner for 40% of households with children. (Elting, 2019) Truth be told woman are overwhelmed and overworked because of the expectation that are placed on them both on and off the job.
As if the chaos of balancing family and work isn’t enough, woman also face hostile work environments. As woman enter the workforce they are also entering occupations that have been dominated by the male gender, which can be challenging to accept for some, this can result in woman being omitted form important decision making processes and harassment. This leaves the working woman faced with the decision to report inappropriate conduct of coworkers with the fearing of being reprimanded or choosing not report and would rather leave jobs, switch career or quite the workforce entirely.
The words “Salary Gap” almost speak for themselves, the salary gap–seventy-nine cents on the dollar–is well-documented and well-known. (Elting, 2019), that is because the work of women is less valued as is their pay. So why would anyone choose to stay at a job that doesn’t value them? Woman are constantly being cut down at various angles, and the pay gap hurts especially when you are paying high cost for child care, when the cost of child care is competing with the wages you are earning it becomes an easy choice especially as a mother to decide to leave a position.
Why Woman are Overlooked during the Hiring Process
The idea that men are presumably the bester choices when seek to feel leadership roles is nothing new. According to researchers at the University’s School of Psychology they conducted two experimental studies that suggest that women have to demonstrate high performance in order to be hired to senior roles, opposed to men in which they valued potential more highly than performance suggesting that a woman is held to a higher standard during the selection process. (Staff, 2019) This suggest that woman’s leadership potential is not recognized by potential employers. These makes it quite difficult for woman, yet alone mothers to rise up the corporate ladder.
Having qualified woman in leadership roles is not the problem. By 2014, 88% of women had completed high school or more, and by 2013, 37% had completed four years of college. Meaning more women have received a graduate education when compared to men. 11% of women ages 25-34 had two or more years of graduate school when compared to men who were at 8%. (Michigan, 2015) Women make up nearly half the workforce, yet they hold just 14 % of senior executive positions at Fortune 500 companies and 40% of managerial positions overall. (Guest, 2014) The decision when hiring for leadership position has nothing to do with the competence needed to adequately perform in the position but rather the ability and potential to excel at the position. They are searching for someone that will grow with the position, someone that may eventually grow into other leadership roles. This is something that employers believe woman cannot do because of the many obligation that come with being a woman. They want an individual’s full attention focused on their job position and believe woman lack this ability. They do not want to hire someone that they are going to train just to find out that they are going to be leaving to raise a family. Woman are an unpredictable pick and that leaves employers uneasy.
Woman are thriving when it comes to being educated, but until woman can overcome the barrier to take on leadership roles they will continue to remain in the shadow of men. They must learn to share their responsibilities at home with their partners. Woman have fought so hard for equality in the world, but have overlooked it in the matter of their own homes. It is important that the generation of woman to come teach the importance of equality both in the world and at home. It is important to demonstrate that roles are not done by gender expectation but rather through equal partnership. If woman are able to educate the male gender about equality at home, then it won’t be such a strange idea in the work place.
- Elting, L. (2019, August 21). Why Women Quit. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizelting/2019/08/21/why-women-quit/#4efaf8b016fa
- Gender roles in childhood. (2020, April 17). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_roles_in_childhood
- Guest, G. (2014, March 13). Setting women on the fruitful path to leadership. Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2014-03-women-fruitful-path-leadership.html
- How Women and Men Spend Their Time, 2015. (2017, March 1). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2017/women-at-work/
- Law, T. (2020, January 16). Women Are Majority of Workforce, But Still Face Challenges. Retrieved from https://time.com/5766787/women-workforce/
- Michigan, U. O. (2015, April 30). Glass ceiling is thicker for mothers. Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2015-04-glass-ceiling-thicker-mothers.html
- Staff, S. X. (2019, May 14). Women’s leadership potential for top jobs overlooked in favor of men. Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-women-leadership-potential-jobs-overlooked.html