Although women have gained increasing power in the workplace thanks to several political movements, gender discrimination still remains an issue in numerous organizations. No matter what choices women make or what skills they have, women still get paid less and are promoted less frequently than men. In addition, it is reported that women are less likely than men to hold senior or executive positions (The Balance, 2017). This paper is going to discuss about a provocative statement: “Actually women are too weak for management” in terms of gender issues within the organization. The body of this paper contains three parts. The first part points out the current issue about gender discrimination in the workplace and its consequences. The following part discusses about two major reasons why gender discrimination exists in organizations, while the last part provides recommendations for this issue.
Gender discrimination in organizations
According to Foley et. al, (2002), gender discrimination is an important matter in organizations. Women usually report in survey that they have experienced gender discrimination at work(Walker and Smith, 2002). In terms of entrepreneurship, it is harder for women than men to begin a business due to their lacks of credit and opportunities (Cooke and Xiao, 2014). Regarding business work environment, women are still more likely than men to get to low-paid jobs, and have less fundamental rights, social security or their own voice. The truth is that for a similar position and same measure of commitment, women don’t generally get an equivalent shake in getting paid and promoted (Stamarski and Son Hing, 2015). According to the US Census Bureau, as cited by The Balance (2017), women in general earned 80% of what men earned for working the same number of hours. Women also must work additionally 44 days to earn the same annual wage as their male counterpart (The Balance, 2017). In addition, it is as well reported that women needs to work for longer time to get promoted. Qualified women may not get promoted because of getting pregnant or going to get pregnant (The Balance, 2017).
Besides, the two most popular invisible barriers that women cannot break in the workplace are sticky floor and glass ceiling. Sticky floor is a term that describe a type of discrimination that keeps women at the lowest level of job scale, for example, waitresses, secretaries, nurses, etc (Abidin, Noor and Ngah, 2016). Meanwhile, glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that block women from advancing to the top level (Purcell, MacArthur and Samblanet, 2010). In other words, it represents the struggles women have to face when achieving senior and executive positions. The statement “Actually women are too weak for management” represents the glass ceiling discrimination. One reason for ladies frustrated upward development is the predominance of excessively numerous male managers at the top acting as a barrier for the women achieving the top. In USA, women constituted around 46% of the aggregate workforce, however their inhabitancies at the top level was just 2% (Michael, 2007). Even though women who are facing glass ceiling are in better positions than women who are facing sticky floor, they are in a same situation that they cannot get promoted. In addition to glass ceiling is the term “glass escalator”. This term describe how fast men are going up to the top level in occupations that were dominated by women in the past. In other words, it is more obvious to imagine that while men are riding escalator, women are walking on stair to achieve the top level positions.
Because of gender discrimination, women in general have, lower socio-economic status than men do (Stamarski and Son Hing, 2015). It is obvious that the gender disparity has hurtful impacts on the economy and advancement. According to Kim (2015), gender discrimination affects negatively on job satisfaction and work engagement, causing decreasing productivity. According to Rajalakshmi and Selvam (2017) if women are empowered, all of society will profit, and be stronger. It is believed that woman empowering in business can emphatically ascribe to financial development and reduce poverty (Zarar, Moula Bukhsh and Khaskheli, 2017). In addition, given the issues of ageing population and shrinking labour force, a larger proportion of women should be engaged in economic activities. Therefore, it is necessary to look all the more particularly at the hindrances which keep women from playing a more dynamic part in business work environments.
Reasons for gender discrimination
Keeping the setting to business work environment, this paper considers two major reasons prompting sex disparity. The first reason is the gender stereotypes, or the out dated customary culture and beliefs that men are superior to women. Society, environment, and parents’ attitude towards their children are the sources of gender discrimination (Borup, 2005). In a family, girls are usually considered weak, vulnerable, and consequently followers, while boys are, for the most part, credited to be powerful, aggressive, and the pioneers. Because of this attitude of parents, girls grow up with a thought that they are less important than boys. Besides, at school, male students are encouraged more to raise questions, and to participate in various kinds of sport.
In the society, women’s income is not usually considered as the main financial source for a family. While men usually participate in economic activities, women usually stay at home to take care of the family and cook. At the workplace, women are considered to be nostalgic, accommodating, superstitious, incongruent with high pressure and high requesting occupations (Kaushik, Sharma and Kumar Kaushik, 2014). Women are also believed to be emotionally weak and can’t be extreme disciplinarian (Kaushik, Sharma and Kumar Kaushik, 2014). Therefore, most of the positions at the top level of management are held by men. This can help explain the existence of glass ceiling in organizations. Indeed, a family photograph on a man’ working desk makes him a gentle man while for woman it is perceived that she focuses on her home, not her profession (Michael, 2007). As a result, because of the way society, environment and parents see and treat women, women eventually find themselves subordinate to men, accept it as a rule, and pass that perception on to their offspring.
The second reason of gender discrimination relates to women’s capacity and efficiency. Since women are vital part of the family, most of them don’t go to work because of family burden. As a matter of fact, a significant number of women have left the work due to getting marriage, pregnancy, and child care. YeomJi-hye, educator of social welfare at Jungwon University, demonstrated Korean ladies business rate moves along a M curve as they quit working in their 30s to watch over youngsters and come back to work in their 40s (Herald, 2017). In any case, ordinarily a lady’s profession tops in her 30s in light of the fact that once she stops, and wishes to come back to work later, she frequently winds up in low paid, brief, and part-time employment (Herald, 2017) . In addition, because of the family responsibilities, and a need for work-life balance, women are less likely than men to work long hours, to travel abroad, and to devote their time entirely to the company.
Given that women are less likely than men to hold senior or executive positions because of their choices, not because of discrimination, there has been an ongoing public debate that glass ceiling is only a myth, not a reality. Stamarski and Son Hing (2015) believed that women would rather not reach the top positions than scarify their family responsibilities. Furthermore, studies have found that one possible reason women are not accomplishing senior or executives positions is because of the fields they worked in (Draulans, 2003). The general population elevated to the top levels manage some part of regulating benefits and misfortunes for the organization or bring income into the association. Top positions normally originates from management in the zones of finance, production, or sales. Supervisors in those key zones achieve the senior or executive positions, whereas women are usually engaged in other zones, for example, HR and administration, and therefore, do not usually hold the highest positions inside an organization.
From the point of view of companies, they need to reduce their employment turnover rates and expenses of maternity leave, childcare, and retirement schemes. Therefore, organizations have a tendency not to contract a large number of women, regardless of how qualified they are. Organizations may contend that men are typically more experienced and willing to work extra hours, devote more to their employments than ladies. Despite what might be expected, women will probably leave the workforce in the wake of getting marriage, which causes higher employment turnover rates and training costs (Foley et. al, 2002). Considering all of these costs, organizations would prefer not to give a lot of training or advancement to women. Such discrimination against women can attribute to Human Resource policies. For example, women who have young children may experience discrimination when interviewing for job when they are asked about family responsibilities. As a result, a qualified women candidate may fail the interview if the interviewer feels that she has a lot of family responsibilities to fulfil, such as taking care of young children. For the same token, managers may pass women over for promotion because of their beliefs in women’s role and ability.
Recently, there have been many legal measures and affirmative actions to protect women, and encourage women to participate in economic activities. However, researches have shown that, legal measures can help women achieve the middle management positions, with limited authority and low salary, yet cannot help women to achieve the top level positions (Adams and Funk, 2009). In other words, even though these measures and actions increase the inflow of women into companies, they do not ensure that those women will achieve the senior or executives positions.
In terms of the first reason, it is because of the gender stereotypes that are passed on from parents, and prior generations. The real method to reduce gender stereotypes is through education. Parents and teachers play the most important role in setting up the identity of a child. Youngsters learn gender at an early age from their family. Girls figure out how to play with dolls, while boys play with cars. Instead of discouraging child from a toy that is designed for the other sexual orientation, parents should urge a kid to be more dynamic and to attempt everything that he or she may like. In other words, when a girl is born, her parents should treat her equally to their other sons, and make her think that she is as good as other boys. The education environment is also essential in shaping a child’s identity. Without acknowledging it, numerous instructors support male understudies. This may come through asking boys more troublesome inquiries or intruding on girls while they are speaking. Educators ought to find out about sexual orientation discrimination, and what they can do to stop it. In other words, teachers become one of the key factor in making the change for the better of the society; therefor need to demonstrate their fairness to all of students, in spite of their gender.
In terms of the second reason, companies usually do not want to hire women because they are afraid of high employment turnover rate, expenses for maternity leave, on-site childcare, and legal measures or affirmative acts such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), Affordable Care Act (ACA), Equal Pay Act(EPA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (Wilkie, 2015). PDA prohibits employers from discriminating against women due to their pregnancy, medical leave, or childcare. ACA requires employers to allow women to have reasonable breaks up to one year after their child birth. EPA prohibits employers from pay discriminating against women. Meanwhile, EEOC prohibits employers from discriminating against women due to their family responsibilities for young children or elderly parents.
According to these policies, a business ought to abstain from settling on work choices construct exclusively with respect to sexual orientation and also apply all working environment arrangements in an unbiased way. This implies businesses should utilize an indistinguishable criteria to assess employees and give men and women the same opportunity in recruitment and advancement. Managers ought to build up a zero resistance strategy for sexual orientation separation and try to give training to all levels of position. Further, businesses ought to abstain from participating in unlawful sex stereotyping and in addition treating men and ladies contrastingly in view of pregnancy, medicinal leave or providing care obligations. In addition, organizations need to comprehend that the disallowance against sex separation applies to women.
However, as mentioned earlier, these acts can just only stimulate the inflow of women workforce into organizations, but cannot ensure that women will hold top level position. The key solution for this issue lies in the culture, value of organization and HR policies. In order to encourage the participation of women in top level positions, companies should have HR policies that give equal opportunity of training and promotion to both men and women.
The statement that “Women are too weak for management” addresses the issue of glass ceiling in organizations. There has been an on-going public debate that whether glass ceiling is a myth or a reality. Arguments supporting that glass ceiling is a myth include claims that women make their own choice to leave job, that women do not usually work in the field of finance, production, or sales, and that women do not have sufficient characteristics to lead (Draulans, 2003). Arguments supporting that glass ceiling is a reality includes various examples of gender stereotypes in the workplace, for example, women are considered to be nostalgic, accommodating, superstitious, incongruent with high pressure and high requesting occupations (Kaushik, Sharma and Kumar Kaushik, 2014).
In order to find appropriate solutions for this issue, this paper looks at the two factors for gender discrimination at work. For the first factor, parents, and teachers play an essential role in shaping a child’ identity, and their duty is to create a better environment for the children in general. In particular, girls should not be discouraged from playing with trucks, and boys should not be discouraged from playing with dolls. Parents should urge their children to attempt for everything their children enjoy doing and should provide them the same opportunity regardless of their gender. For the second reason, several acts have been enacted to protect women rights at work, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), Affordable Care Act (ACA), Equal Pay Act(EPA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (Wilkie, 2015). Nevertheless, company’s HR policies are the key solution to this issue. Companies should have appropriate HR policies that help build diversity in the organization, provide equal promoting opportunities to both men and women, as well as ensure that there is no gender inequality in the organization.