Written by Shreeja Potluri
3 minute read
Today is #WomensEqualityDay. Historically, women have not been treated equally to their male counterparts. Since the 1900’s, women’s organizations have been the forefront of encouraging women to vote, to get jobs, and many other things that were considered to be a man’s role. Men were traditionally the primary earners, who went to work and supported the family financially, while women stayed at home to be the caregivers. As time has passed, it’s become more prevalent for both men and women to work and provide income for their families. This is great social progress, but women have continued to face challenges along the way
Though women are thriving in businesses, there is still a great divide between men and women in the workplace. Women are, on average, paid less—and often face significant challenges with regard to advancement compared to their male counterparts. According to Business Insider, as of 2018, a woman working full-time earned 81.6 cents for every dollar a man earned, on average. In efforts to end this wage gap, the National Committee on Pay Equity started a new initiative called Equal Pay Day, which is March 31st. It was started in 1996 and the reason for that date is that women must work that far into the year before they catch up with what men earned the previous year.
Even though women have typically not been given the attention and recognition that they deserve in compensation, there are small changes that are happening in the business world that are encouraging the growth of women in the workplace. One example would be the number of female CEOs in America. According to Fortune, 37 businesses in the Fortune 500 are run by women. This number comes across as a triumph but it also shows how much farther diversity needs to go.
As mentioned before, women were historically the caregivers and housewives. Though this is not as prevalent in modern times, the residual discrimination still remains in workplaces. Women who are mothers often face a phenomenon in the workplace known as the ‘maternal wall bias’. Maternal bias happens when colleagues view mothers or pregnant women as less competent and less committed to their jobs. This usually results in serious obstacles for a woman’s career advancement. This can manifest at many different levels, from hiring committees to individuals conducting performance reviews.
Recently, companies have been coming up with ways to make the life of a working mother easier. One large company example would be Google. They recently started creating playrooms and daycare centers on campus to help working mothers.
With challenges that women face in the workplace, there are always big and small ways to improve and create a better environment for female employees. What are some ways that you can make a difference for women in the workplace?