It’s been an amazing past few years to live in and watch women become CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, run for high ranking public offices, serve alongside men in our military (recently being allowed in active combat roles) and even become pastors/preachers. We live in amazing times for women and the evolution of our culture!!
That being said, there are still areas of concern when it comes to true equality in our workforce. Yes, women can run Fortune 500 companies and serve in active combat in our military, however, we still are not deemed equal in many other avenues of our workforce. We have women who have accomplished amazing things however, statistically women, as a whole, are still not an equal gender in our workforce (not yet anyway). I do know that age can play a factor in people’s perception of the current workforce so as a 34 year old married woman with children there are still areas of concern regarding real equality. Here are some of the concerns I see today:
- Equal Pay & Promotion Opportunities is a myth (right now)
- According to the 2012 US Census, on average, women tend to make as little as 77 cents for every dollar men earn for equivalent work. Even with political support and recognition to the situation, the pay gap remains still a constant scenario in many positions. Political support and recognition has contributed in providing slightly better equality in groups ranging from 25 – 34 years of age however, the gap remains at approximately 75% for 45-54 yrs of age range.
- Even at the top scale of the spectrum (CEOs and Directors), women earn 42% less than men according to a report published by the Journalist Resource.
- Internal Guilt is an overwhelming power causing for instability in Work/Life Balance
- Women are evolving as a gender from a position of the “house wife” to”corporate power houses” and it can get confusing. The roles seem so polar opposite (my opinion is they are much more similar than they seem) which may restrain us to singular roles.
- Internally and externally women can feel that “having it all” comes at a price. You can’t be a boss and a mother; you can’t nurture a marriage and your career at the same time. These conflicting ideals and lifestyles seem contradictory and can push individuals to decide that choices and sacrifices need to be made.
- Feel pressure to join the “Boys Clubs”
- It’s common to see a group of men in upper level positions band together for collaboration, networking, etc which is great, however, women can feel that the only way for their voice to be heard is to become part of this “club”. Women feel the need to hide their natural nature as to not be deemed as emotional reactors in lieu of rational thinkers.
- These Boys Clubs have tendency to condone alpha-male cultures and make women feel the need to compromise their beliefs in become a part of the group. Women begin to laugh at the misogynistic jokes in order to show they are just “one of the guys”.
- Work Flexibility
- Leveling the playing field between men and women does not mean taking the inherent good from women (children, family, etc) to make things fair but to provide additional options for women to maintain the life they choose to live and achieve their goals.
- Work/Life choices are becoming more mainstream in larger corporations however, we can’t forget about the small businesses which do make up the majority of our workforce. Temporary disability and Family has not yet been provided by every state leaving many women without options should they become pregnant or need to care for sick family members.
These concerns are not to diminish the improvements we’ve made over the years. Times have changed quite a bit in the past 30 years and have catapulted in the last 10 years for equality. I don’t want to take away from that because I’m so proud of our nation as a whole for those achievements. I truly believe and have witnessed over the years the power of this country and its citizens to look at our history and modify our future for the better.
We as women have a choice in our current status, we can fall back into the routines of everyday and accept the roles and categories we are, by routine, placed in….Or we can push for further evolution. It’s not an easy task and currently requires us to fight harder than men but I believe that women have the mental, physical and emotional strength for this challenge. History has shown it.
In addition, I don’t want anyone to feel my call for action means that every women should aspire to be working women. I believe in the hard work stay at home mothers and wives do as well. We are individuals that deserve a choice. Whether we decide to run our house or run our businesses, should be our choice…Once that choice is made, women need to be treated fairly to a man in ability, strength and experience. The rewards for both should be equivalent.
I’ve never truly depicted myself as a feminist even though I have feministic ways (I guess)….I’ve hung out with “Boys Clubs” where I’ve worked…I’ve listened to the sexist jokes, heard poor statements made on fellow women employees in my career and all the while smiled and laughed without a true second thought to the experience…I don’t blame either gender or American corporations for our current culture. I understand what societies mentality has been in the past and that we are trying to change for a better future.
Simply, I hope that my daughters will one day wake up to a country that will no longer try to put them in a box… Roles should no longer be categorized by sex by either gender and we need to find a better analysis that fits our evolving culture so we avoid taking steps back. This country will continue its fight to modify its mentality that things have to be black or white and we can continue to adjust for the gray areas in our modern society.