Workplace: The Unequal Truth

Mon, 11/18/2013
Women wages are lower than men. Wage data shows that women make 77 cents for every dollar men make.

Women have grown by leaps and bounds in American society, but in this year of 2013, they have yet to be equal in the workplace. There are still some disadvantages women encounter that men don’t. According to Elle Magazine’s Power Survey 2013, in partnership with the Center of American Progress, 1,200 men and women (ages 25-54) were surveyed about their work habits, histories, and goals. This survey exposed several intriguing and important aspects about workplace inequality:


1. 28 percent of women believe they have been discriminated against.


2. The U.S. is one of the eight countries that have no government-mandated pay for maternity leave. 87 percent of women and 80 percent of men disagree with this policy.


3. 53 percent of women haven’t asked for raises, compared to the 48 percent of men. Yet, men are more likely to negotiate their salary before they’re hired.


4. Half of men and two-thirds of women think professional women are scrutinized more harshly than men.


5.  Some workplace challenges have not been dealt with. 81 percent of men and 93 percent of women said that public policy should address equal pay, paid sick leave, and paid maternity leave.


6.  When it comes to top positions, women only make up 4 percent of Forbes 500 CEOs, 18 percent of Congress, and 15 percent of corporate boards.


7.  Leaders in the workplace were surveyed why women don’t occupy top jobs. 34 percent of women and 35 percent of men claimed women weren’t tough enough.


8.  Women wages are lower than men. Wage data shows that women make 77 cents for every dollar men make.  Some say the wage gap is due to less job experience, linking to maternal leaves and the lack of paid sick days. However it is put, 40% of the wage gap is unexplained and most likely linked to overt sexism.


According to CAP (Center for American Progress) policy expert Sarah Jane Glynn, “the idea that ‘women work for fun, that they don’t need as much money is because their husbands will subsidize them’ is alive and well, if often subconscious.”


It is a blatant smack in the face for women, in this so called, “Land of the Free”, to still be in bondage in the workplace and not be judged fairly for their capabilities. This issue is much too prevalent in America.


Expanding on the issue,  in our own backyard [Chicago], is police officer Alesia Franklin,“I do experience more scrutiny and micromanagement as a female officer than a male officer, especially when it comes to turning in reports and paperwork deadlines.”  


This unfairness in work policy must stop before it stifles the zeal in women who want to be future CEO's and entrepreneurs.


In a statement from the President of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden, she stated, “The survey results indicate women are leaning in; it’s the lack of policy support pushing them out.”


Hopefully, with these inequalities brought to light, businesses will be more willing to change their policy to back women. On top of that, women should continue to strive for leadership because if enough women push to rise up in powerful positions, inequality in the workplace could become much less popular.


“People should be paid for what they do, not who they are. Male or female, it does not matter. Anything outside of that is discriminatory.”, says Gwendolyn Brooks librarian, Ms. Berg.