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 Everyone is rewarded for his or her hard work. Or at least that’s the expectation. However, women today are still struggling to have their hard work appreciated the same way as men. Though women have come a long way, workplace discrimination still exists today. While it is illegal to discriminate based on gender, women still face many problems that make their ability to succeed in the workplace much harder. 




Here are eight of the most common problems women are facing in the workplace today:


      1. Do It All

    There are certain expectations put on working women to have a perfect work-life balance. Women make up 46% of the U.S. workforce and getting a job isn’t as unorthodox as it once was; in fact, it’s expected. However, what is also expected is that a women’s full time dedication to family should not be effected. Instead of finding a comfortable work-life balance, society expects that women should be able to be a full time everything. If a women works too hard, she is a ‘workaholic who neglects her family’. But if she’s always there for her family, ‘she’s too distracted to succeed in the workplace’. Sometimes, it seems like there’s no win. Either she’s seen as neglectful and cold hearted or she’s seen as distracted and not dependable. Unfortunately, society’s expectation of a work-life balance is not always a feasible work-life balance.


      2. Equal Pay

    The fact that women still only make 77.5 cents for every dollar earned by a man is not news. And though the Equal Pay Act was passed over 50 years ago, women are still not being paid as much as men for the same job. 99% of women make less then men in the same job. The good news is that this gap seems to be closing slowly. More women are deciding to further their education and learning how to negotiate their salaries. However, for women today, this gap is not closing fast enough.


      3. Negotiating with Confidence

    This problem is an extension of the equal pay issue. Though much of the equal pay gap has to do with gender discrimination, a large problem actually lands on women. According to an article published on Salary.com, women could loose out on a potential $2 million over the course of their careers by not negotiating properly. The problem is that a majority of women feel wary about negotiating their salary. And even more do not know how to do it properly. This all boils down to perception (which is also my next point). Men are encouraged and expected to negotiate their salary. But women often feel that if they do they will be perceived as arrogant or ‘nagging’. Often times, this prevents women from negotiating and those who do, usually give up easily at the first sign of difficulty. But ask yourself this, how much do you think your worth? If you don’t think your worth more, why should your potential employer? When you are given a job offer, your potential employer is looking to give you lowest salary acceptable. However, negotiating shows your potential employer that you value your skills and qualifications much more than that and that they should too.


      4. Perception

    A big issue still faced by women today is that they are perceived differently in the workforce as men. Just think of the different adjectives used to describe each gender. Men who spend all day and night at work are ‘dedicated’ while women are ‘workaholics’. Men are ‘leaders’ while women are ‘bossy’. The language and perception that people use to differentiate between men and women are big part of what creates this discrimination.


      5. Having Children

    The United States one of four countries in the world (along with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea that still does not give or require employers to give their employees paid maternity leave. Policies like this make it tough for a dreaming career woman to become a family woman as well. However, that’s not all, many employers can be hesitant to promote women or give them career-making projects knowing that they have or plan to have children. Women are sometimes seen as distracted and not dependable if they have a family too, while men who have families are not. It seems that the idea that women have a responsibility to take care of the children is still lingering.


      6. Expectation to Have Children

    Unfortunately, on the other hand, not having children to focus on one’s career is not only seen as cold and selfish, but as not feminine. Societal expectations demand that at some point in our lives, us women will settle down and have kids. Not doing so is looked down upon (by both men and women). Now you can see the double standard. Women are worried: ‘have kids and you may not get that promotion’, ‘don’t have kids and you’re not feminine enough’. Double standards like this are subtle but still prevalent in the workplace.


      7. Sexual Harassment

    Unfortunately, sexual harassment is still very much a common experience in the work place. One in four women (and one in ten men) have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and 85% still see it as a problem in the U.S. And though the percentage of women experiencing sexual harassment has gone down, from 32 % in the early 1990s to 25%, there are still challenges that remain today. Many women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace do not report it. Only 56% of those harassed felt like they would be treated fairly, while 40% were afraid of the consequences of filing a report. The problem is that there is still a culture that shames women who have been taken advantage of sexually, implying that they must have done something to provoke it. This is exactly the type of perception that makes sexual harassment so common.


      8. Glass Ceiling

    The glass ceiling is a common phrase referring to a barrier that block women from moving up past a certain point in their company. Four out of ten businesses in the world have no women in their senior management. And though there are inspirational stories of successful businesswomen, like CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer, women hold only 4.8 % of Fortune 500 CEO positions and only 5% of Fortune 1000 CEO positions. With women making up a majority of the population and almost half the workforce, these percentages are not as high as they should be.


    These problems are difficult to face and for young women today, who have become more aware of the discriminations faced by women today, the work force seems like a daunting place. The fact is that a majority of women today are facing these problems and though our situation has much improved, there is so much more that needs to change before the workplace becomes a safe, fair and successful environment for women.

     


 


Comments

I studied the impact of discrimination on women. I surveyed men and women in Manhattan, New York. My professor told me to explain the survey to my respondents. My team searched a lot in the result of discrimination. It is not an easy process. I am so lucky to be the leader of our team, I got a chance to enhance my leadership skills. We successfully presented our topic to our favorite professors. They suggested that our topic should be posted next semester for other students.


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