Equal Opportunities for Women’s Career
Women often experience male dominated barriers when they seek to rise to the top of organization ranks. Despite the moves that have been made for equal opportunity employment, men and women that start in the same job often are not paid equally, and do not advance at the same rate. In a male dominated business world, the women are seen as weaker, less intelligent, passive, fragile, with a lack of commitment to their career often because of family obligations.
Managers often form alliances with those that tend to have the same background and lifestyle as themselves, since women are seen as different they cannot bond with those upper level managers and often get overlooked when new management positions are open. (Maume p. 483) The glass-ceiling is the lack of mobility for women in careers, due to prejudices against women”s ability to perform as well as men. Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, known as the Glass Ceiling act, established the glass ceiling commission to study and make recommendations about eliminating the barriers and to create opportunities to advance women and minorities.
If men hold the higher positions, choosing who is most suitable for promotion it is likely that women will remain in the minority with power positions. Women often move into male jobs either because market conditions force employees to reach down into the labor queue to hire women or because men reevaluate and then vacate jobs. (Maume p. 483) Traditionally women are offer less opportunity for training than males, if women are not getting equal education for a company then it cannot simply be gender that may later cause poor performance in a higher management position.
Training is often expensive, since companies as a whole feel that women are more concerned with family priorities they offer it to those they believe will stay the longest and in their (male) minds be most attentive, the men. Studies show that after 12 years 56% of white men will be waiting for promotions with 44% already advanced, while 85% of white women and 93% of black women will remain waiting for a promotion. Maume p483) Some men often feel that the glass ceiling does simply not exist and that women”s over all performance has been causing the divide in distribution of power.
One example of this view is an article that was printed in Men”s Health magazine, although this is not scholarly it provided insight to the propaganda that is kept alive by men to other men. The article was titled “The Glass Ceiling has been shattered” and went on to describe that women were simply inferior in management positions. The writer Jeffrey Csatari believes that men did not build the glass ceiling.
It was built by women”s poor performance, he sighted a study in the University of Minnesota that found female managers tend to hire timid and self effacing employees with no corporate potential, as opposed to male counterparts who hired self assertive and competent employees. (Csatari p. 43) This article was published in a national men”s magazine, with no mention about the training level of the managers studied, it may be variables in the training they were provided or job experiece rather than gender that caused the differences in employee choice.
Men made the study standard, which made the test biased since men were writing the rules of which employee would be successful and which would fail, perhaps women do not simply make decisions on what is said but are closely attentive to body language as well. The economist Solomon Polachek holds a hypothesis that each occupation has a rate of atrophy that job skills depreciate with lack of use. Earnings power declines at atrophy, therefore if women plan to participate inconsistantly in the labor market they would best benefit from jobs with low atrophy rates like teaching and service work. Duncan p. 479)
These jobs are often classified as women”s jobs, which have a traditionally lower starting salary than male jobs. If the view that Mr. Polachek holds were universal than it would make advancement for women almost impossible if they planned to have families and take off work for any period of time. Differences in male and female preferences in jobs do exist however and can account for some of the inequality in the business world.
The Hawthorne Studies of the 1930″s and studies since have shown that women choose positions that are more meaningful, with positive social relations as opposed to males that choose careers on basis of income potential. (Tolbert p168) The traditional views of women as the supporting partner and the man as the primary earner have become barriers for women that would like to advance. Job desegregation does not yet exist wide spread however, there has been occupational desegregation. Women have been entering into traditionally male jobs in increasing numbers.
When a job gets a majority of female occupants the occupation tends to become a female “ghetto” with the males moving on to higher paying positions within that field. (England p17) The government has passed laws but women as a whole have to strive to break the perceptions men hold of their abilities. The double duties of women at work along with their life after hours, with household duties along with childcare should be examples of the strength of women”s abilities not as just a weakness.
The alternative that men would like to perpetuate is that women should be more like men. Women are responding to the challenge of the workplace, some are moving to the higher levels, but through much adversity. The choice of many women is to start their own businesses such as Mary Kay cosmetics, and Avon that is female dominated. The abilities of a person to succeed are not rooted in their gender but in the individual goals and knowledge. Women are typically being kept from the higher level positions by men that consider only other males their peers, and women as inferior.
If women have to strive to be more like men to advance in business, does this mean that they are to stop producing children and forgo the family that males are entitled to in order to achieve the equality that they deserve. Hopefully, women will be able to achieve both career and family without having to sacrifice one for the other, or be seen as weak. The ability to be a mother is a sign of dedication, commitment, and strength not weakness, as males believe.