Challenges for Women in the Work Place

The workplace is a changed environment. For centuries, men and women have been held to such stark different standards at school, at home, and in the workplace. Only recently have women been given the opportunities men have benefited from. Women account for half of the educational force, and even more women earn advanced degrees. But our way of thinking of men and women still has to catch up.

While women are doing well at universities, they are still struggling with success in the work force. They make less progress, less money, have fewer opportunities.

Here are 5 major factors plaguing women in the work place:

  1. Women are interviewed less.

Yep, right from the get go women have it harder. Right down to the interview process. Decision-makers who hire candidates are more likely to favor a competent man than a competent woman, particularly in the tech industry. A study conducted by the University of Chicago found that two-thirds of hiring managers selected male job candidates even when the men did not perform as well as the women during the application process.

A study was done where the same resumes were sent to male and female hiring managers, and the male names garnered more offers, better pay, and more mentoring opportunities than the female candidates.

  1. Women make less than men.

Over a lifetime of work, a woman with a bachelor’s degree will earn a third less than a man with the same degree. Women start behind and never catch up.

  1. Women don’t get promoted the way men do.

Men are promoted on potential, women on performance. That’s why young male hotshots move up the ladder ahead of their seasoned female peers. Women are judged on what they have actually done, whereas men are judged on promise and potential.

  1. The Bitch Factor.

A major problem still plagues women: when a woman is clearly competent she is also judged as unlikeable – by both men and women. The more accomplished a woman becomes, the more she may suffer in the workplace. Competent men are seen as forceful, worthy of promotion, and likely to succeed. It’s a plus. Women who display competence often pay a price (literally, a third of the price).

  1. Men get all the credit.

Women work hard and achieve the desired results – and the men get the credit. Several studies have shown that credit is far more often given to a male team member than a female. Specifically, females were rated as being less competent, less influential, and less likely to have played a leadership role on work tasks. Both men and women fell into the trap of giving higher marks to the male team member. The problem here is that this isn’t a matter of conscious discrimination, but rather a skewed idea we all have in our heads about what men and woman can or can’t do.

We have centuries of socialization to work against, and only a few decades of progress to work with. Changing our perception of men and women, the work they do, the value they are worth, will take time. For forever, women have been mothers and homemakers. So now women have to work twice as hard to get half as much in the work place, because they are continuously having to prove they are more than homemakers. Men get twice as far and twice as much just for showing up.

Men bring their privileges with them, and women yield to the weight of societal stereotypes. Are women taking over the world, as some pundits have argued? The facts and research say no. Despite the gains women have made over the last several decades, equality remains a distant goal.



One thought on “Challenges for Women in the Work Place

  1. Pingback: 48 Hours in the Life of Basic Sexual Harassment – Angry Feminist

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