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Annotated Bibliography: Women have still not achieved equality in the workplace. Discuss. Essay Example

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Sociology 11

Women have still not achieved equality in the workplace.

Women have for many years fought for an equal place as men in the workplace. In Australia today compared to the history, women are more educated, more skilled, more ambitious and taking up jobs at a faster rate. Almost half Australian workforce is made up of women. However, regardless of their efforts their work remains undervalued, thus, still not achieved equality in the workplace. According to a survey taken by the Australian Human Resources Institute, many organizations didn’t have any strategy to ensure that women had equal opportunities in getting jobs, maintaining them and getting promoted. A third of responses from women reported experiencing gender bias in their workplaces and paychecks. Several factors therefore, influence the inequality of Australian women in the workplace

Social and cultural factors affect equality of women in employment. There is existence of attitudes and beliefs about both women and men which includes opinions and stereotypes about roles of women and men as perceived by the society. This is attributed to what women choose in employment and education, social norms and traditional notions that pressurizes them regarding the most ‘appropriate’ work for them, and this begins from a tender age and continues throughout their lives. There are decisions regarding whether to work part time or full time, to take up paid work, the type of industries to work and the kind of occupations to take up. All these are influenced by the attitude the society has that women are better at certain roles that others; nurturing and caring. Domestic issues or arrangements also affect participation of women in the workforce, with domestic work being a critical factor which affects their working hours and roles in the workplace (Giele& Stebbins 2003).

Men in senior decision-making positions in the workplace hold traditional attitudes which pre-judge, de-value and under-estimate women’s skills. These attitudes limit women’s access to certain opportunities like promotion, development and training, and contribute to biasness against women in the process of recruitment and selection. Traditional attitudes held in male-dominated organizations are uncomfortable for women and resist any woman seeking equal participation in those organizations. A survey taken by Australian Government, Department of Families, Housing, Community Service and Indigenous Affairs reported that 41% the society’s perception of roles of women and men is a key contribution to inequality for women in employment (Freedman 2010).

Women tend o accept inequality and its constraints rather that challenging the status quo and facing its risk. Awareness of these challenges is reduced and there is no drive for change which makes the issue not a priority on community and political agendas. Roundtable discussions in Brisbane and Melbourne attributed lack of campaigns about women in employment, and lack of effort taken by organizations to try and do things differently despite policies installed. There is a great gap between having a policy and actually implementing it (Liebmann 1997)

Moreover, these culture and attitudes have become inherent features in many organizations. Merit, value, or strengths in many workplaces are defined in traditional ways and can support discriminatory practices. For example, other than workplace culture placing great emphasis on output quality or actual output, it emphasizes on the number of worked hours. According to Adelaide roundtable discussion, discriminatory performance measurement indicators are seen in long lengths of service and work hours, especially women with family commitments (Liebmann 1997). Unfair implications experienced by these women include delayed career path progression, delayed promotion and perceived inexperience or less experience. Another perception is those working under arrangements that are flexible, miss out on promotions and a perception of those working part-time cannot be given managerial or senior positions.

Another culture factor in Australia that inhibits women equality at the workplace is long working hours, which impacts a woman’s decision to take up a role with a feeling of choosing between a career and family. 11% of public submissions showed the culture of long working hours in organization to be a barrier to equality at workplace. The workplace today doesn’t respect an individual’s privacy especially with improvement of technology, which lacks an alignment with commitments of the family, and job security threats that an individual can feel which discourages them from taking a flexible arrangement (Smithson et al 2004). According to an interview with Dr. Alex Birrel, though long working hours culture isn’t directly gender discriminating, it hinders progression in the workplace for women with caring responsibilities (Burgess et al. 2008)

).Giele & Stebbins 2003if it is perceived that women have been progressed because of the legislation rather than on the basis of merit. Some men view women initiatives as discriminatory towards them (of legislation in place. One employee survey respondent put the view that equal opportunity legislation itself can create additional attitudinal barriers and biases, in that it can undermine a woman’s further progressionEqual opportunity legislation can itself become an additional biases and barriers to equality for women in the workplace. This can take place by undermining progression of women as it is perceived they progressed not on merit but because

Stereotyping is also seen as a barrier to women’s success in the workplace. Some skills that are valued in men may be seen negative in women; a dominant leader may be perceived negatively in a woman and can be labeled a troublesome. A man who is decisive can be viewed as one who has clear vision; while a woman with the same character may be viewed as inflexible. A discussion that took place in Women’s Forum Australia reported that women were negatively evaluated when they apply different styles of leadership, when they some approaches are seen as unfeminine when applied like autocrative and directive. The issue of a behavior being perceived differently in men and women has also been identified as a barrier when recruiting women (Clayton 2011).

. Klarsfeld 2010)Another barrier to creating equality in opportunities in the workplace is failure to recognize and understand the benefits of improving employment opportunities for women and its outcomes on organization. Management sees labor as a cost that they would like to bring down, however, what they don’t realize that poor conditions and pay leads to high turnover which generates cost. Low pay also affects the economy in general as it leads to increased poverty. Once organizations understand this, then they will consider paying women high wages or else as equal as men. Lack of research in this area and lack of education and awareness amongst decision makers has contribution to these circumstances. An economic rationale can encourage decision makers as well as organization to be more flexible in their working arrangements (

There are also other tangible factors that affect equality for women in the workplace. First there is lack of parental and childcare leave which without their presence women won’t have capacity to maintain a desirable level of workforce engagement, and thus women have no choice but to be left in a position to choose wither work or children. Culture provides an expectation that it is the mother who should care for a child while the father comes on and off. Women sometimes also experience lack of quality and affordable childcare which bars them from participating in the workforce. Second, there is lack of quality and flexible roles in work arrangements and job design to provide quality and flexible positions that can be availed to women in achievement of equal opportunity. Very few quality roles done part-time are available to women and most of those available are designed according to the employer’s requirements rather than putting in mind women who desire career progress through a flexible role. According to the Adelaide and Melbourne roundtable discussions, many part-time positions are less valued, and low paid in which women can find flexible arrangements. Finally, there is also lack of structural initiatives that need to assist women who desire flexible work arrangements, which results to inefficient use of positions. There is a perception that senior positions cannot be carried out by working only part time. In a nutshell, lack of quality part-time positions and inflexible working conditions are among the highest ranked as a challenge in achieving equal employment opportunity for women in organizations (Gregory 2003)

Many surveys and researchers have reported an increasing number of women entering the workforce and taking up jobs they didn’t take several centuries ago. Many women are going to school and other contributing greatly to a professional world, yet it is clearly seen that despite all that women haven’t yet achieved equality at the workplace due to social, cultural, historical and organization factors that need to be addressed.

Annotated Bibliography

The gender gap in employment or workplace has been addressed by Clayton Collins. He asserts that though women seem to loose the race as far as attaining executive positions, half of the Small Business Association loans granted are held by them, and almost forty percent of private business in the United States are owned by women. He argues that if gender gap issue disappears, it will relapse since there are always new battles emerging and to argue. According to him, a management from Arizona State University commented that women were less effective when it comes to disciplining subordinates in the work place. He recommends women to overcome by assisting each generation to overcome any limitations that seems to be perceived and to train at a young age for realities at workplace. Clayton’s article was very helpful especially in defending women in entrepreneurship. However, he is confusing when it comes to his diction and tone. Monitor, Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, Vol.98, no.189, pp. 11
Christian Science Clayton, C 2011, Why Girls May Still Need an Edge,

Liebmann, L 1997, Mending the Gender Gap, Communications week, NigeriaCommunicationsweek Media Ltd, Lagos, pp. 62

According to Liebmann’s article, an average of $18,000 less than men is earned by women annually. He reports a survey by US Census Bureau Statistics that the difference between male and female pay range between 15-50 percent depending on the position and industry. Of all Fortune 1000 executive positions 95% are held by men and 70% of men in CEO positions didn’t recognize the existing problem for the movement of women to senior positions.

He reports that according to Barbara Beck of Sprint in order to create an environment that allows employees to lead a balanced life, productivity and loyalty, as it is more than a case of family responsibility. The article is great as it provides useful information especially for the corporate world.

Klarsfeld, A 2010, International handbook on diversity management at work: country perspectives on diversity and equal treatment, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 28

Klarsfeld has included chapters from scholars from sixteen countries representing East Asia, Middle East and South Asia, Europe and North America. He has presented the chapters to provide comparative opinions on diversity management which will interest policy-makers. Klarsfeld work covers range of issues from India’s caste system to Netherlands migrants problems. Each of the sixteen countries is placed in a context in history and its policies that deal with migrants, sexuality, ethnic minorities, gender and disabilities that have been discussed. Klarsfeld has excellently compared issues and policies in each country that any management and human resource should understand. It is a resourceful and informative work.

Giele, JZ & Stebbins, LF 2003, Women and equality in the workplace: a reference handbook, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara

Giele and Stebbins provide a reference handbook by giving an overview of gender equity issues in the workplace revolving from World War II to today. The two authors focus on the United States and contrasting broadly with other nations in the world. They provide a description of practical social policies and laws developed to deal with various forms of sex discrimination, equal pay law remedy, comparative worth and affirmative action. Giele and Stebbins report that in the U.S, for a similar work women are paid three-quarters of what a man is paid, they hardly or occupy less places in corporate and executive board and face almost 40% of sexual harassment on the job. However as court victories and key legislatives as well as new attitudes emerge, more women are making the workplace equitable in a gradual way. The book is useful for the topic as it provides economic and sociological theories of why men continue having more opportunities, better benefits and pay and higher status despite the progress in place, while women are still stigmatized, harassed and undervalued.

Gregory, RF 2003, Women and workplace discrimination: overcoming barriers to gender, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick

Gregory addresses women who are facing sexual discrimination at work and traces federal measures in the history provided to assist employees in standing against unlawful conduct of employers. He also shows how the law takes place and presents real cases in court to demonstrate how employers have been challenged by their female workers. The cases demonstrate principles of the law in real-life experiences. Gregory presents cases of workers trapped in their employers’ conduct of discrimination. Gregory’s work is informative and very comprehensive for anyone who has interest in learning about the subject. He has also used simple legal terms (eliminated jargon) and thus enabling readers to clearly understand the concepts.

Freedman, J 2010, Women in the Workplace: Wages, Respect, and Equal Rights, The Rosen Publishing Group, New York

Freedman accounts that women occupy 46% of American workforce today and almost half of the jobs created are taken by women. However despite the growing numbers, women still experience workplace inequality in opportunity and pay. He also asserts that women are susceptible to sexual harassment to unwanted sexual advances. The author has done a great work by providing his readers with history of women and work, and the society’s attitudes towards them. He also explains essential legislation and provinces advice on how to deal with sexual harassment and unequal treatment in the workplace

Warren, TR & Whyly, C 2001, Female Finances: Gender Wage Gaps and Gender Asset Gaps, Work, Employment and Society, Sage Publication, London, Vol.15 pp. 465-488

Warren and Whyly have researched well on this topic by using the right size and source of the Britain’s gender wage gap. They asserts that the combination of women’s caring responsibilities and their lower employment status as well as their career profiles that have reduced discontinuously, have damaged their ability to have a decent pay. These gender differences in the workplace patterns bring about a significant gender gap in all wealth levels, nevertheless, there is less attention given to the gendering of assets compared to difference earnings and income in genders. Warren and Whyly therefore explore the wage and assets inequality extent in Britain’s mid 1990s to expose these effects of labor market that is disadvantaged of gender. They report that the Family Resource Survey analysis show women to continuously earn low wages and income than men despite the fact that they are increasingly entering the labor market. Women also have no changes of building up savings for safety net in their days of working or substantial income for the retirement. This leaves a worrying trend in the workplace in that despite the fact that the participation levels of women continue increasing in the labor market, they will face poverty in old persistently if their equality in pay at workplace isn’t implemented. This article is good for the topic as it enables all the stakeholders to understand the implication of paying women low not emerging only in their current status but also affecting their old age.

Smithson et al. 2004, Flexible Working and the Gender Pay Gap in the Accountancy Profession. Work, Employment and Society, Sage Publication, London, Vol 18. No 1, pp115-135

In this article, Smithson and his colleagues have provided a relationship between working arrangements that are flexible and gender pay gap, basing it on Britain’s Chartered Accountants flexible working arrangements, where they interviewed 50 participants who provided their work patterns, flexible practices and policies and their flexible working experiences. The aim of the article was to find out if gender pay gap is reduced by provision of gender flexible working arrangements which encourages people without children and men to use flexible working arrangements. The research emphasized taking up of flexible working. Smithson report that those women who took up part time working hours did so because of other caring commitments that they were taking up, which damage their career prospects. In contrast, men worked full time and deferred flexible working arrangement to a later time when they had progressed greatly in their career. This article is important to readers as it shows the difference in the impact of current and future salary between women who took up flexible working arrangements and men. In conclusion, gender pay gap is reinforced by the promotion of flexible working arrangements.

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