Women in the Workplace Has Been Explored Term Paper

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¶ … women in the workplace has been explored thoroughly in the past half century. From the 1950s to the 1980s, the growth of women entering the workplace was set at a blistering place. It fostered a strong culture and overall transformation of the American society and especially business dynamics. However, the overall pace of growth in women entering the workplace has been in slow decline since the mid 1990s. Although many claim that the recent decline has nothing to do with discrimination, or any other prevailing external force, experts still explain that there are major problems with women staying active in the workplace dynamic. Strong indications are that the reconfiguration of women's lives as a result of both the pressures of pursuing a career and also starting a family has stressed many to limits.

There are still many barriers to women working within the workplace however the cultural and economic impact they have had has definitely reshaped the landscape for women everywhere.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Women in the Workplace Has Been Explored Assignment

In general the work environment for women has dramatically improved; in the height of women in the workplace as much as 77% of all women between the age of 25 and 45 were in the labor force. Today that figure had decreased to slightly over 65%. Although this may appear too many as a downturn of sorts, in reality the quality of jobs that women are receiving have been significantly upgraded. Job segregation based upon gender had been traditionally applied well into the 80s and as a result few could break through to industries that were exclusive male clubs. However, in the modern workplace, women within management positions have increased by 300% since the start of 1990. The number of male executives of Fortune 500 companies still outnumbers females significantly, major gains have been made. The supposed glass ceiling that women faced have slowly eroded and the best and brightest has been able to climb to the top of their respective industries. Part of the reason for greater female responsibility and respectability in the workplace has to do with political reforms of the past decade, which has caused gender discrimination to be a term of the by-gone era. Moreover the stress of creating diversity in the workplace has forced many companies to change its hiring strategy away from their traditional grounds to recruit more women and minorities. All of this means that the current state of affairs for women in the workplace is relatively positive. However, this does not mean that problems do not persist. There are four major problems that we will discuss today that still have a strong influence on women in the workplace, in many ways these issues have very complicated implications attached that have caused them to go into the "grey area" in the much publicized gender divide. The first issue is concerns the delicate issue of maternity within the workplace. As women inevitably begin to start a family, they must place their careers on hold in order to have children. However, because of the complexity in dealing with this issue, women are confronted with dangerously stopping their careers or decreasing their leverage as a result of maternity. Second, sexual harassment within the workplace is still a prevalent concern that can't be resolved at present. Third, the issue of the formidable glass ceiling in management for women, which as eroded away but still in place. Finally, we will discuss the challenges of women in entrepreneurship an area that is just now receiving strong criticism on the issue of gender equality.

The problem of maternity and the concept of the Renaissance women who can juggle both family and work have come to the forefront of the gender equality debate. The problem at the outset is very simple, since women must take time off work to give birth; they lose out on valuable experience and at the same time fall behind their male counterparts. Thus, when they resume work they are already relegated to a "frozen" position, without the ability to advance further up the corporate ladder. Up until the mid 1990s there was virtually nothing that women could do to prevent this trend, and at the same time the logic behind their frozen position was not unacceptable. Within the corporate world, six to nine months could be as long as a lifetime, because those who are on the fast track towards success must continually move upwards. By the time a mother has already given birth, a new class of employees will have taken her place. She much then compete not only with her contemporaries but with a new group of individuals who also seeks promotion and upwards mobility. Even now this issue is extremely sensitive as corporations have taken two unique stances. In the first case, corporations allows women to use a combination of vacation, personal days, unpaid family leave and short-term disability in lieu of maternity leave. In the other case, corporations provide a comprehensive maternity leave plan that provides employees with anymore from 10% to 25% of their salary during their leave time. The final method that corporations employ is a leave of absence from the company, with a guarantee of re-employment following the pregnancy. Although all three of these solutions help to alleviate the burden of returning to the workplace following maternity, there is still no easy answer to how to solve this problem. The passage in 199s of the Family and Medical Leave Act, has created legal barriers to employers jettisoning employees because of maternity leave, however it still does not cut to the heart of the problem. The major problem associated with maternity leave is that it prevents women from establishing a flow within their career. The interruption involved in a maternity leave sets them behind their contemporaries and often the gap is too hard to close. This severely constrains women who want to start families from having a strong position to establish themselves. There are no easy methods to solve this problem because overall the structure of the American workplace commands continuity in order to pursue a strong career. The overall impact is that when women exit the workplace for maternity leave they tend to stay out of the job market for an average 2 years. As a result, women are many times forced to choose between permanently ending their career ambitions or to dedicate themselves completely to the pursuit of their corporate ambitions.

Another major problem faced women in the workplace is the issue of sexual harassment. The persistent problem of on the job sexual harassment is not a new one; in fact in between 1985 to 1987 the federal government itself lost over 260 million dollars as a result of sexual harassment. It is estimated that a typical Fortune 500 company loses 6.7 million dollars per year due to on the job sexual harassment. These losses occur through absteeism, lower productivity, increased health-care costs, poor morale, and employee turnover and of litigation and court awarded damages. The passage of sexual harassment laws and stringent protection of women in the workplace have dramatically helped the problem. Over the past ten years the cases of sexual harassment on a national level have dropped by an average of 8% per year. However, average awards for sexual harassment have also risen by over 200% in the same period. The combination of more stringent enforcement of sexual harassment charges and the increased scrutiny that corporations have placed upon this issue both dramatically helps to curb this problem. These steps have shaped the work environment for woman to a substantially higher level than a decade ago, but workplace harassment is still a relevant issue. The most dramatic problem with workplace harassment is that the current enforcement of its policies have created an almost anti-women culture, where corporations feel that having women is a liability because of the risk of sexual harassment. As a result, there is actually negative stigma associated with women working within many professions and the stress is upon creating an efficient system to distinguish between genuine sexual harassment and miscommunication.

The proverbial glass ceiling that existed in decades past is long gone. Women around the world have achieved higher levels of both education and career advance than ever before. Today on a global scale more than 40% of the global workforce is made up of women. However, women's share of the management positions are still unacceptably low, with just a very small proportion of women succeeding in breaking through the glass ceiling towards upper level management. The problem with the glass ceiling of management is precisely that it is extremely hard to pinpoint the precise reasons behind why it still exists. Corporations have long ago abandoned the male dominated cultural fixation and as a result there is little evidence of continuing discrimination at the highest levels of job selection. Yet a close examination of the earning gap between men and women show that there is a substantial difference with men earning about 15% on average more than women in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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