Last Updated 14 Oct 2020

Changing Roles of Women in the Workplace

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Subtopic 1: Changing Roles of Women in the Workplace Today’s society is seeing emancipation of women in many spheres, including the workplace. In many families women are providers on a par with men, and often sole providers, as is the case with divorcees. The proliferation of single-parent families and high divorce rates will eventually prompt society to look at female employment as an important social factor. A quick rise in the education standards of women has prompted a rise in their position in hierarchies.

Women have received access to companies and industries where previously only men were employed. This process is likely to continue as challenging market environments will prompt executives to make full use of the capacity of their employees, regardless of their gender. Subtopic 2: Constraints for Women in the Workforce The main constraints women face are related to the fact that most bosses are still male and hold to their stereotypes. Many of them are governed by the inner urge not to relinquish the reins of male power and to let women into their business, giving them authority.

Others can be quite willing to promote women, but are held back by stereotypes that women will be engaged in family matters or less ambitious than men, as is the case with the boss mentioned in Section 1. These stereotypes can also exist in women who themselves as rare exceptions to the common rule. Results of Socialization on Women's Expectations of Themselves Socialization in all cases imposes certain stereotypes upon individuals, consistent with the cultural norms of a given society.

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On the one hand, these stereotypes help people to adjust to society, learn its norms and stereotypical behavior that will help others treat them as members of the community. Thus, a woman who does not seek to beautify herself and acts as if she is indifferent towards her looks, will not be accepted by society in most cases. At the same time, socialization puts constraints on people, making them act in only one way, up to the social norms that are present here and now. Subtopic 4: Discrimination and Legislation

Even though legislation, as pointed out in Section 1, is not always effective in maintaining women’s rights, it is necessary. First, it eliminates obvious violations, such as when employer place ads in which they make it clear that they prefer applicants of only one sex. Second, these acts alert the employer to the need to maintain gender equality in the workplace. Legislation needs to be realized not only in letter, but also in spirit, which makes it necessary for the employer to maintain certain standards.

Subtopic 5: Strategies for Overcoming Constraints, Including Networking Mentors Women can overcome constraints they face in employment by better adapting to reality and by pioneering initiatives that will lead to greater flexibility for women in the workplace. Any strategy will have to target a specific group of people who build constraints in the workplace. Thus, a good way to start is to ask oneself why these people build constraints for women: do they really think women are worse employees? Or are they doing so unconsciously?

Subtopic 6: A Description and Analysis of Teamwork Team skills are not inborn; they can also be developed in people. Thus, both men and women can strengthen their team skills and become better team members. Improving team skills in people will help them to become better professionals. Ideally, this development should help promote women in the workplace as more and more people will learn to appreciate people not based on their gender, but on their contribution to team building and output. Subtopic 1: Changing Roles of Women in the Workplace

Reports from female executives show that women have begun to win themselves a place in industries which were considered to be predominantly male, such as manufacturing, IT, sports, accounting, etc. Rebecca A. Morgan, president of Fulcrum ConsultingWorks Inc. in Cleveland insists that “her work conducting sweeping manufacturing operations overhauls -- including advanced technological solutions -- put her in a unique class as a female manufacturing consultant and has earned her accolades from male peers” while only a few decades ago a woman on the manufacturing floor could only raise eyebrows (O’Shea 2002).

The overall participation of women in the workplace has risen, and more and more women are promoted to managerial positions. This is happening despite the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ that reserves the top-tier positions for men only. The increase in female presence has given rise to female networks between women employees. It has led many to believe that “women also build hierarchies among themselves naturally” (O’Shea 2002). Subtopic 2: Constraints for Women in the Workforce Women’s participation in the workforce is an age-old reality that has now translated into 48% of employees being women (ERA).

Now, 3 out of 5 women of childbearing age are in the workforce. Out of mothers with kids under 2, 6 and 18 years of age, 58%, 62% and 70% work respectively (ERA). This suggests that a working mother is a reality for many children, and women’s employment is a serious factor for the family. A study by US Census Bureau indicates the reasons for this wide proliferation of this phenomenon: most women (70%) work out of economic need to support themselves and their families (ERA).

1997 AFL-CIO survey arrived at the conclusion that 40% of working women are the sole bread-winners in their households, and many have children to support. Although women are a growing presence in the workplace, many employers still fail to accommodate their needs, for instance, the need to take time off in order to give birth to a child or to care to very young children. As of today, only 53% of employers provide some kind of assistance to their female employees in the time of pregnancy, childbirth or later weeks (ERA).

This means that females are at a disadvantage as compared to men in terms of financial situation and can be forced to rely on their own savings at the time when their need for money is the greatest. Many employers will not keep a woman’s job for longer than a few weeks if she chooses to spend time with her newborn child. All this puts a woman who decides to have a child while working at a disadvantage. The economic status of women still lags considerable behind that of their male colleagues.

Thus, 59% of employees whose wages are under $8 per hour are female. Out of households headed by female providers, 36%, or 4. 5 million families, lived below the poverty level in 1993. Overall, on median income families headed by female bread-winners was the lowest of all household types. Finally, discrimination is directly confirmed by ‘audit’ tests “in which white and minority (or male and female) job seekers are given similar resumes and sent to the same set of firms to apply for a job” (Stephanopoulos, Edley 1995).

These studies mostly find that fewer interviews are offered to female or minority job-seekers. Subtopic 3: Results of Socialization on Women's Expectations of Themselves Socialization of women “often results in women seeing themselves and other women as less than men” (Eberhardt 1995). Women are taught that they are valued for their looks, not brains, and accustomed to their nurturing position. They acquire the idea that with age, as they lose their attraction, they will also lose their value as women, which they can replace only with motherhood.

With respect to men, women are taught to act as ‘cheerleaders’, welcoming male initiative and downplaying their own competence. Subtopic 4: Discrimination and Legislation Legislators and policy-makers have long recognized the need to adapt policies so as to remedy the unequal gender situation in the workplace. Policy-making bodies like US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) were formed, as well as private and non-profit organizations that aim at promoting women’s rights and removinf constraints women face in the workplace.

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