The first problem women face in the workplace that is going to be discussed in this report is gender inequality. There are a few different examples of how this inequality affects women in the workplace. The two major examples that will be discussed in this section of the report are unequal pay and family responsibilities discrimination.
The first example that is going to be discussed is unequal pay. On average, women working full-time earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn. This tendency doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon. According to a report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), it will take until around the year 2058 for that gap to be resolved. Although the gender wage gap in the U.S. is lower than the gap in many other countries, the U.S. hasn’t seen any improvement on it since the mid-1990’s (Quick, 2018).
The report by IWPR was based on a study of nation and state data focused on women’s employment and earnings in 2013. The report stated that among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Florida will likely be the first state where women’s median annual earnings will be consistent with men’s. Although this is good news, it is said that women will have to wait until the year 2038 before they see any difference. In fact, states like Louisiana, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming aren’t expected to see a change until the next century (Quick, 2018).
To add to the stereotypical gender roles, women are much more likely than men to work in service occupations like personal care aides, home health aides, nursing assistants, and other roles that involve empathy and sympathy. Although these occupations are on the rise as far as growth for the upcoming years, the median annual earnings for these jobs are less than $25,000 per year. In addition, women are less likely than men to work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations. These types of jobs are stereotypically more demanding, and meant to be fulfilled by men. According to the report, only 4.6% of women work in STEM occupations, compared to 10.3% of men (Quick, 2018).
Although the entire U.S. needs to reconsider how it treats women in the workplace, there is a little bit of hope. The top five states with the most employment and earning opportunities for women are Washington, D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Unfortunately, women living in West Virginia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas are experiencing the least opportunities. For example, the median annual earnings for women working full-time in D.C. is approximately $60,000, compared to $30,300 for women with the same job characteristics living in West Virginia. The report also states that in general, women working in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions have a better earnings composite index than women working in the South. A lot of this has to do with the economy of each state; however, the gender gap widens after age 35. Women statistically go from earning about 90% of what men are paid, to roughly 75-85% after turning 35 (Mulhere, 2018).
While higher education is generally an effective tool for increasing earnings, it has not proven itself to be an effective tool against the gender wage gap. Women have earned more college degrees at every level than men for several years yet a wage gap persists.The authors of a report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce say it can be easy to disregard that gap as the result of individual choices such as women’s choice of major or job, or decision to work part-time. It is true that women disproportionately choose to major in less profitable fields, such as education or psychology, and that women work on average 37 hours to men’s 40 hours a week.
Labor force experience, industry, union status, and occupation do explain much of the gender wage gap, but previous research, which the Georgetown CEW report cites, has found women still only earn 92 cents for every dollar earned by men for doing the same job (Mulhere, 2018).In other words, of the 22-cent pay gap between men and women, 36%, or 8 cents, has no obvious measurable rationale. That leaves reasons including discrimination, societal beliefs about difference in each gender’s abilities, and subconscious biases around salary agreement as possible explanations.
The second example of gender inequality that will be discussed is family responsibilities. Although the contribution of men to household and childcare has grown significantly in recent years, it is still far below women’s contributions. This creates a concern for most working women in the United States, as they are expected to balance two jobs simultaneously, one in the workplace, and one at home (Quick, 2018)
In addition, since Congress enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is a law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin, and religion, the proportion of women who work outside the home has dramatically increased. The rise has been especially dramatic for mothers of young children. The total amount of time that couples with children spend working has also increased. Despite these changes, women continue to be many families’ primary caregivers. The responsibilities for family caregiving are not limited to just childcare. There has also been an increasing proportion of caregiving devoted to the elderly. As with childcare, women are un-equally responsible for caring for the elderly, including parents, spouses, and other relatives. Many women also are responsible for caring for family members with disabilities (Kmblegal.com, 2018).
In recent years, there has been an increase in family responsibilities discrimination (FRD). FRD is a term for workplace discrimination based on biases about how employees with family caregiving responsibilities will or should act. For example, employers may assume that new parents, typically mothers, will not be as committed to their jobs or as reliable as they were before they had children. Or an employer might believe that mothers “should” be home with their children and may give them assignments that do not require travel or late hours. This type of discrimination emerges because the employer’s actions are based on stereotypes rather than the individual employee’s performance or own desires (Kmblegal.com, 2018).
Possibly, the most common form of FRD is known as “maternal wall” bias. Maternal wall bias is bias against women because they are mothers. Maternal wall bias tends to be provoked at one of three moments when maternity becomes prominent. Either when a woman announces her pregnancy, or begins to appear pregnant, when she returns from maternity leave, or when she switches from full-time work to a flexible work arrangement. Maternal wall bias is also involved in the common “lack of fit” pattern of FRD, which involves an employer’s assumption that a particular, usually high-powered, job is inappropriate for a mother. The employer typically sends the mother toward more “suitable” employment roles, which generally have little or no opportunity for advancement (Kmblegal.com, 2018).
Women in the Workplace: Age
“Age discrimination laws do less to protect older women who may suffer from both age and sex discrimination and, based on earlier research, they say ‘physical appearance matters more for women’ since ‘age detracts more from physical appearance for women than for men.” When women age they are getting less value of themselves just because of their age and how they look like they get older.
Generation in women in workplace education has increased significantly. Back then women didn’t need to get there bachelors for nursing, but to be in charge of the whole floor they need a bachelor. This nurse she wanted to be a charge nurse but, they told her she needs her bachelors. She is close to retirement so she was like this is a waste of my time to go back to school. When all her loans have been paid off a long time ago. So she decided not to go back and get not get her bachelors and continue to be a bedside nurse on the floor.
Women working in the workplace are belittled in most of the fields that they are wanted to go into. They think that only men can have jobs like that not women. Fields such as technology workplaces they feel like they can’t do that job as a woman. Just because they are women the government things that they can’t do as much as a man can do in a job.
This is not unusual. Across socioeconomic classes, women are increasingly enrolling and completing postsecondary education, while, even as opportunities for people without a college education shrink, men’s rates of graduation remain relatively stagnant. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, 72.5 percent of females who had recently graduated from high school were enrolled in a two-year or four-year college, compared to 65.8 percent of men. That’s a big difference from 1967, when 57 percent of recent male high-school grads were in college, compared to 47.2 percent of women.
Today’s young adults (Millennials ages 21 to 36 in 2017) are much better educated than the Silent Generation. The educational trajectory of young women across the generations has been especially steep. Among Silent Generation women, only 9% had completed at least four years of college when they were young. By comparison, Millennial women are four times (36%) as likely as their Silent predecessors were to have at least a bachelor’s degree at the same age.
Women of the ages 25 to 29 go to school to obtain a degree. They had a higher rate than men did at this time in 1996 of going to college. “Counting the entire population 25 and older, even women and men who are retired, women are ahead of men in college graduation. That is to say, the average adult woman in the U.S. is more likely to be a college graduate than the average adult man.” More and more women are getting a higher degree in college.
Young women today are much more likely to be working, compared with Silent Generation women during their young adult years. In 1965, when Silent women were young, a majority (58%) were not participating in the labor force and 40% were employed. Among Millennials, that pattern has flipped. Today, 71% of young Millennial women are employed, while 26% are not in the labor force. This shift to more women in the workplace occurred as early as 1985 when Boomers were young. Then, nearly seven-in-ten young Boomer women (66%) were employed and 29% were not in the labor force.
A greater share of Millennial women has a bachelor’s degree than their male counterparts – a reversal from the Silent Generation. In the past half-century, growing shares of both men and women have earned a bachelor’s degree. However, women have made bigger gains over the period. Among Millennials ages 21 to 36 in 2017, women are 7 percentage points more likely than men to have finished at least a bachelor’s degree (36% vs. 29%). Back when Silents were ages 21 to 36, women were 6 points less likely than men to have finished at least four years of college education. Gen Xers were the first generation of women to outpace men in educational attainment, with a 3-percentage-point advantage among Gen X women ages 21 to 36. By comparison, the Baby Boom generation was the most recent in which men were better educated than women, having a 2-point advantage over young Boomer women.
Attained degree. At age 25, participants were asked about the qualifications they had attained since leaving school. Those who reported that they had completed a bachelor’s or higher level degree qualification from a university or equivalent tertiary institution were classified as having attained a degree. Overall highest educational qualification. Based on data collected in the 18, 21 and 25-year interviews, participants’ highest educational qualifications at age 25 were classified on a seven-point scale where ‘1’ denoted no qualifications and ‘7’ denoted a university degree. This measure had a mean of 4.2 and a standard deviation of 2.2.
Women in the Workplace: Race
Many people think all women are well represented but women of minorities face the greatest obstacles and receive the least support. Minority women lag behind white men, men of color and white women facing more obstacles and a steeper path. According to Lowell (2006), women’s wages will reach parity with men by 2058, but it may take even longer when taking race into account. In order to capture the picture of racial inequality, jobs that have been viewed as “women’s work,” such as caregiving and cleaning, are still predominantly filled by women of color where they are constantly paid less than a living wage. An example is the position a home health aide who makes a median pay salary of $11.12 per hour which ultimately causes lack of financial security. The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics characterizes this job as having high physical and emotional demands, low pay and lack of advancement opportunities. Home health aides also have the responsibility of cleaning waste. They have a high risk of back injuries, minor infections, risk of assault from disoriented or mentally ill patients. Women who are financially insecure live more stressful lives which may lead to decreased quality of overall health. In addition, the lack of financial security also continues into retirement which effects the quality of life.
Black women feel that they come across as aggressive, bossy and selfish when they speak their mind compared to a man or white women. Making them feel like they can’t be their true self, forcing them to change their tone and to be less direct (Graham). These women must constantly negotiate between identities that are imposed by the external world. Black women filed sexual harassment charges nearly three times the rate of white(Patrick). For black women who are trying to be both seen and valued in predominantly white spaces it has been a challenge(Graham).
One major challenge for Hispanic women is English fluency. Hispanic women are falling behind and are currently a quarter below the poverty line, and more than half are near poverty. More than one in five Hispanics have not completed high school by age 29, making them less likely to complete a college degree (O’ Brien). Less education and job training and work experiences explaining why they earn less. For that reason, Hispanic women must work twice as hard to provide for their families.
Asian women are most likely to have a graduate education but less likely to have supervisory responsibilities or promotions. They also have reported that coworkers feel uncomfortable around them. These women feel pressured to change in order to fit into their work environments making it difficult to advance (Catalyst). Mary Min said, ‘In certain cases in Western society, especially at the workplace, respect can sometimes be taken advantage of” and people perceive it as weakness rather than respect(Askarinam).
It’s clear that women of color face more obstacles to advance, either by lack of support or education. They don’t only bring diversity into a company but they can reach out to attract more qualified employees. More than 90% of the companies polled in a survey of 279 companies said prioritizing gender and racial diversity lead to better business results(Hunter).