Thursday, September 8, 2016

Are men to blame for the 'glass ceiling' for women? -Clare Flowers

Women still face many gender barriers in the workplace. Men who are in more traditionally structured marriages; where women are “stay-at-home Mom’s” tend to feel less positive about the presence of women in the workplace.  They believe that not only are females a distraction in the place of business but they also compete with men for getting the job in the first place and for promotions. While some companies have made strides in hiring more qualified women, they tend to be looked over for promotions since they may not be the family “breadwinner” and do not require a higher wage. According to Nikki Gloudeman, "Things will only start to change once we stop blaming women, and start challenging the flawed system they must navigate." (the Huffington Post, 2016).

    During World War II, thousands of American workers were called off to serve in the military.  Women were required to take their places in offices and factories to continue to hold our economy together.  There were posters of “Rosie the Riveter” to encourage women to help with the need.   Men cannot be to blame for this shift in our workforce.  When the soldiers returned, many women were happy to return to their traditional roles.  Others wanted to continue to work outside the home, adding to the family income.  While women often do perform jobs held by men, they are limited cannot lift the same amount of weight or keep up with a conveyor belt built to suit men. In an article titled “Prove Yourself Again:  Why Women Get Overlooked for Management Positions,” Joan C. Williams, a professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law interviewed 127 women, speaking about a  “Prove it Again” bias in which women have to prove themselves again and again to get selected for management jobs.”  She found that women’s mistakes are noticed more often and remembered longer; women’s successes are attributed to luck, women are judged by a different standard, and while women’s ideas do not get ignored, they are often attributed to a male counterpart.  (Williams,, 2015).    

    In my opinion, men are proportionately more to  blame for the glass ceiling.  These are my reasons:  (1) in major companies,  albeit a token woman now and then, men are the Presidents, Directors, Chief Economic Officers, Chief Operating Officers and Human Resource Chiefs -- they make decisions based on their point-of-reference -- male mindset; (2) women are in most of the traditional fields such as secretaries, hostesses, waitresses, planners and in retail -- hence, they are perceived as less intelligent, cheaper investments, high turnover and receive wages to prove their lesser economic worth; and, (3) mandated female hiring initiatives such as affirmative action are outdated and are rarely used in professional organizations.  Men in the higher positions in companies hire who they want in their company; who will represent them to the public, drink a six pack of beer without falling over, drive a nice car  and who have a low golf handicap.  Add a minority race to the woman wanting to be hired; you don’t have a chance.

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