Women must overcome the many hurdles that contribute to the existence of the glass ceiling, like education, lifestyle, and cliquish behavior based on stereotypes. In order for the United States to see gender equality in the workforce, there must be major attitude adjustments that can only be influenced by cultural changes brought on by new governments policies. One of the main reasons women were considered substandard in the past is their lack of schooling.
In the past, women were discouraged from pursuing higher education because it was believed that they were intellectually inferior and could not mentally handle complexities of advanced learning. This old belief has been debunked with the continuous surge of women excelling in post-graduation studies. Women have since received better opportunities in the general working environment, and as of 2010 “comprise 47 percent of the total U. S. labor force” (Women).
As women are establishing their roles in predominantly male fields, men also see advantages in female dominated careers and experience what is now call the glass elevator. Though this may be considered unfair due to the prejudices women already face, it shows that norms of gender association with particular jobs are less prevalent and cultivates the movement towards gender equality in the workforce. The public is seeing more attention paid to women for top managerial positions as the years pass. “There are now 20 female CEOs running America’s largest companies…more than half landed the job between 2011 and 2012” (Howard).
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Despite the improvements in equal education and job opportunity, however, there is still a dominance of men in managerial roles and an overall wage difference between genders within the same professions. “95% of senior managers were men” (Conundrum) and “the median annual earning for full-time, year-round women workers in 2010 was $36,931 compared to men’s $47,715” (Earnings).
With women earning only 77% of what their male counterparts receive and the miniscule percentage increases, there are obviously some deep-rooted cultural factors at work that prevent complete gender equality.
It is often argued that women are overlooked because those prestigious occupations require a dedication that prospective mothers do not have the time for. Leaves of absence, even for a short period of time, seem to be detrimental for one’s career development. Companies do not want to take the risk of filling a demanding position with a woman who might take maternity leave. Men, for the most part, do not have the option to take time off, even if they decide to have children; therefore, they are better candidates.
Traditional views of family hold that men should be the breadwinners and women should play the domestic role and take care of the children. On the contrary, the evolution of roles in the modern nuclear family has progressed so that roles are not as governed by gender as they used to be. There are increased numbers of stay-at-home fathers with career wives and single parents. Company policies are beginning to recognize paternity leaves to accommodate the new development of cultural norms.
The argument that women are more susceptible to taking leaves of absence is becoming weaker. Some women are reluctant to even pursue higher positions because of the dissatisfaction from hostile male work environments. Women are excluded from testosterone-fueled activities, like “jock-talk and late-night boozing [that] still oil the wheels of progress,” and are disadvantaged from landing potential clients (Conundrum).
Who is more Fortunate? Are men or women more fortunate? Physically, men may be more fortunate; for men do not give birth, do not have to deal with periods and menopause, and do not spend a long time getting prepared each morning. But what is the answer if we just look at the temperament? In relationships, men are surely less fortunate than women: men often must take risks for the relationship; ...
Consequently, they must work even harder to compensate for their supposed shortcomings or create their own private practice to have a more hospitable work life.
The comradery amongst men make it so women must ask for their promotions and assignment while their male coworkers are offered those opportunities. Even with the required programs and seminars that promote equal treatment and tolerance of women, there is still an inherent belief that women are inferior and is demonstrated in more passive ways. The changes in law against overt discrimination of women do not alter the mindset that is culturally instilled from childhood. From an early age, children are subconsciously presented with the notion that men are stronger and better than women.
Media entertainment portrayed to children has majority male leads with female as the sidekick. “71% of the speaking roles for the 50 top growing PG, G and PG-13 movies had men’s or boy’s voices” (Williams).
Furthermore, the creators of these programs are predominantly male as well, creating a viscous cycle of ranking women as secondary to men. Even when females play the main character, they are generally identified as beautiful and clueless. The developing minds of our country are molded to think that women are sex objects who cannot hold their own in the working world.
There is a lack of female role models continues through adulthood as well. As, previously mentioned few women actually achieve the same high status as men. When they do they are labeled with negative characteristics and are not well supported by the public. Countries that have more equal employment rates show greater concern for gender equality in their value system. In Norway, the country with the highest percentage of female directors, “legislation has been passed decreeing that by the end of 2006 all companies must have at least two women on their boards” (Conundrum).
Affirmative action has already been implemented in the United States, why not take it a step further and specify the law to areas that need it the most? There is no reason for women to be playing such a minor role at the executive level and the government should support this fact. “A study published by Harvard Business School found firms with female board members were more likely than companies with all-male boards to be leaders when ranked by revenue or profit” (Williams).
Glass Ceiling Women hold just 9 per cent of executive positions in Australia - Candy TymsonGender Differences It is commonly argued that female and males are very different with respect to their personal characteristics, such as motivational issues and experience. (Lieber male, 2002) Even when female and males have the same characteristics, there is still some difference with respect to their ...
In research data calculated by Catalyst, Fortune 500 companies with the most female employees in senior management outperformed those with fewer women in high positions (Fortune).
Statistically, women are just as suited if not more so than men to fulfill high level managerial roles. Whether it is because women must work that much harder to prove themselves or because their thinking brings a diversity to decision making, it is obvious appointing more women can only be beneficial.
The glass ceiling, though porous, still exists today and can only be remedied by reinforcing the importance of gender equality in future generations and instilling better legislative policies. The United States is considered the land of opportunity and freedom but there needs to be greater understanding of what limitations society puts on its individuals. Women’s rights have been an ongoing battle; despite the improvements it is not over yet and there is still a ways to go. Without the help of politics, it will be harder for the public to recognize there is a problem and mature culturally.