Ever since the 1930s, women have been occupying jobs in America. Though the identity of women workers has changed the following decades, one thing has not changed: The fact that there are still gender discrepancies in the workplace. For example, “in 1920, men wages were 40 cents per hour while on the contrary women wages were 25 cents per hour” (Carson and Bonk). Even after the Great Depression many Americans believed that the place of a woman belonged in the house tending to daily household chores and to the children. These inequalities have not disappeared and by eliminating unfair business such as the gender wage gap and the glass ceiling, women will receive greater job opportunities and will be able to succeed,
One major reason why women are not able to prosper in the last few decades is the existence of the Glass Ceiling, a metaphor that represents an “invisible barrier” which limits minorities and women from achieving high positions in corporations in America. This metaphorical ceiling still exists today as it did decades ago. One way modern corporations tend to limit power for women in the workplace is by dividing the possibilities of the job unequally. For example, white male have dominated the more desirable jobs in the workplace due to the employer’s bias towards them. According to William A. Darity Jr., “To preserve the existing power structure in an organization and society employers may place women and minorities in positions or departments that only allow them to supervise female or minority subordinates”. (Darity Jr.). If women are only assigned to work under women, they are essentially trapped. They can not move up to a prestigious position nor can they work with their male colleagues. This limits their success and their opportunities to get further in the firm as they have less interview opportunity options and has them intrapped in a loop of women management, leading to women earning less money. They would be earning more if they were not in this loop. Another way employers limit women from succeeding in the workplace is due to homosocial reproduction. According to James R. Elliott and Ryan A. Smith from the American Sociological Association, homosocial reproduction is defined as “it tends to reproduce the social characteristics of organizational power structures over successive generations of workers” (Elliot and Smith). In other words, homosocial reproduction is the concept of employers are more likely to employ workers who look and resemble themselves. If women are interviewed by white males, then they are already at a disadvantage to a competitor who is a male for the same job. This , as the article references, only increases inequality in the workplace by limiting the opportunities women have at earning a successful and high paying job, as they hire people who reflect qualities of those who are already in the top, like the interviewers themselves. Due to both the unfair task division and homosocial reproduction, women are not able to advance further in the workplace. They both limit their opportunities at getting promotions or interviews, ultimately impacting the success in a woman’s career and in life. In order to change these issues, men will have to be more open to hiring women and willing to give them hard and challenging work in order to prove themselves worthy of a promotion. By using their privilege, they can hire more women, who can then make it to prestigious positions, ultimately becoming superiors and hiring more women.
Some argue that the reason why women do not receive enough pay or opportunities is because women voluntarily choose to do non-promotional tasks. Non-promotional tasks are tasks which are important to businesses but are not valued enough to be work capable for a promotional level such as organizing files and mentoring new employees. Since women do these tasks voluntarily there is no reason why they should not be rewarded for doing them. A study was conducted, consisting of over 3,000 people from different sectors, such as tech, retail and marketing. According to the conductor of the study Kari Paul, who is also a journalist at Market Watch, states “Women are assigned 55% of work in the office and do 10% more work than men” (Paul). If women are doing more work than men and are also doing these non-promotional tasks at work, women should be paid accordingly. The women do more amounts of gross work, and men should take that into consideration for promotions and pay raises. If men use their power to do so, the women will receive greater promotional opportunities and will earn more as well.
Perhaps the most important reason why women are restricted in the modern workplace is the prevalent gender wage gap, as the income gap prevents women from having less purchasing power and will not be able to buy things they like. As mentioned above, wage gaps have been an issue since the implication of women in the workforce, and has not ended since. For example, in a Medical Economic study conducted in 2019, it states that “28% of male physicians make $0-199K while only 45% of women physicians make that much, and that 52% of males nake $200-399k while 45% of women physicians make that much” (Medical Economics Vol. 96). This means that more male physicians make substantially more money than female physicians. This confirms that there is an evident wage gap even for a high earning job such as a physician. This limits those women physicians from earning their full capacity which should equal their male peers, as they undergo the same education and the same procedures. Another instance of gender inequalities is in the paycheck. Using data from the U.S. Department of Labour, Thomas Riggs made a line graph, showing the average earnings of both genders, spanning from 1960 to 2010. The male line on average has always been $10,000 higher than the woman’s graph. According to Riggs “Females earned 76.5% of males earnings meaning that female workers made on average 77 cents for every dollar made by male workers” (Riggs). This should not be the case since men and women perform the same exact tasks, and both of these examples limit women from obtaining success and happiness as well. If women earn less from the same job, they will have to work another job, making their lives stressful, also prohibiting them from buying things that would bring them joy. This ruins their chances of success and must be changed in order to feel equal and not limit the choices to pick professions based on their pays. This also makes women more dependent on their husbands since they will make more than them even for the same position in the same firm.
In conclusion, due to gender inequalities in corporate America, women are in a way oppressed through the existence of the glass ceiling and the gender wage gap. The glass ceiling exists because women are assigned different responsibilities and are less likely to be hired through homosocial reproduction. The Gender Wage Gap removes purchasing power from women making them more dependent on men. All business owners must address these issues and try to make reform by informing their employees about these issues and what they can do about confronting them. It should be only fair that everyone has the same opportunities and income regardless of gender.
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