The place of women in the workplace has changed drastically since the 1880s. In today society women are said to be equal, but this was certainly not the case in previous centuries. Changing career roles have changed the status of women in society. In the 19th century, women’s roles were drastically different from what they are today. Women’s roles in the Western world during the 1800s were highly controlled and directed by men. A woman’s ultimate purpose back when my grandmother was born was to find a man to marry, and then reproduce.
If a woman chose to remain single, she could be ridiculed as an “old maid” or “trash” and become an outcast to the city or town. Underclass women had a rugged appearance, and often wore dirty clothes with messy hair. They had no education or respectable job and relied on relief organizations for survival. When this was not enough, some resorted to prostitution to earn a living, as there were no other jobs available. Their lifestyle was a result of their collective lack of jobs, family inheritance and financial support. Most women were in the lower working class.
Like underclass women, their lifestyle and income did not permit them to dress elegantly, and they often wore dirty and old clothing. They had no inheritance in most cases, and some started working as early as 8 years old. These women’s jobs included domestic servant, farm worker, tailor and washerwoman. Lower working class women not only had to work their low paying jobs, but they were also expected to be mothers and housekeepers. The 19th century’s most prestigious female class dressed elegantly, often covered in lace, corsets, veils and gloves.
These women usually had an inheritance passed down, and wealthy men often courted them. They generally did not work, and while women weren’t usually allowed to receive an education, upper working-class women sometimes received a general education of reading, writing and arithmetic. In the case that a woman had an education, she may have taken a position as a governess or lady’s companion. The modern workplace from the late 18th century to about 1930 was typically a man’s world with few exceptions. In 1870, female clerks accounted for 2. 5 percent of the workforce, rising to 53 percent in 1930.
Female clerk typists rose from 5 to 96 percent during the same period. Minorities, typically African-Americans, were segregated to work in the service industry, such as servants, porters and manual labor, according to early office museum. com. Diversity in the workplace in the United States was virtually non-existent for the first 150 years after the country’s founding. World War I, the 1920s Jazz Age and a stronger voice among minority workers slowly changed the workplace from a white male domain to better reflect a multicultural society.
Still, the passage of federal laws and the formation of activists groups have not guaranteed racial and gender equality in the workplace. Women gained a foothold in the American workplace when men went to war in 1917. They also gained valuable training through Red Cross work. When World War I ended, women returned home but they possessed new skills. The 1920s flapper era and the depiction of strong women in movies opened possibilities for women, according to infoplease. com. The Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor was formed in 1920 to safeguard women in the workplace.
The National Council of Negro Women was founded in 1935 to lobby Congress against racism, sexism and job discrimination. Women returned to the workplace in great numbers during World War II to fill the void by departing servicemen. They worked in aircraft factories, the management level in industry and flew aircraft as test pilots. Most women lost their jobs to returning GIs, but the workplace was forever changed as women demanded jobs in corporate America, but President Harry Truman integrated the U. S. military in 1948, sparking mass change in the workplace, according to redstonearmy.
il. President John Kennedy in 1961 established the Commission on the Status of women to improve hiring practices and maternity leave. The Equal Pay Act followed in 1963, making it illegal to pay a woman less than a man. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. Many companies today fail to follow the spirit of past legislation and pay women and minorities less money than their colleagues, according to womensmedia. com. Affirmative-action legislation, designed to level the employment playing field for whites and minorities, has been attacked as unfair to whites.
However, the basic tenants of affirmative action were upheld in 2003 by the U. S. Supreme Court in a University of Michigan case in which the justices ruled there is a “compelling” reason to maintain diversity in society. A true diverse workplace generally includes a proportionate number of ethnic minorities and male and female workforce that reflect the racial and religious makeup of society and the local community. In recent decades, a diverse workforce also includes people with disabilities, including AIDS and cancer sufferers, according to Diversity Inc. agazine’s website.
Recent Women in International Security study found that many women who have served or are currently serving in mid- and senior-level positions in the national security arena question whether it is possible to successfully juggle caretaking responsibilities and senior-level decision-making positions in government. In Brief it is time to transform the workplace to reflect the changing realities of society. Demographics of the worldwide workforce have changed—in particular, women’s participation has increased—and such shifts are affecting worker needs.
But organizations have not adapted to the expanding caretaking responsibilities and work-life balance needs of their employees, and the current workplace paradigm is placing growing stress on individuals and families. The majority of workers desire more flexibility in working environments, yet very few have it, either because such programs are not offered or because workers are dissuaded by the continuing stigma or fear of penalty associated with flexibility. A number of governments, organizations, academics, and companies are engaged in dialogue on this issue, and there have been several innovative pilot programs in recent years.
Yet, despite this expanding discourse, there is a policy-practice gap, because the concept of the “ideal” worker is still associated with total dedication to the job and does not acknowledge caretaking responsibilities. We propose a new Accountability Model that is based on a universal concept of caretaking roles, a workplace that allows for and accommodates different needs at various points in one’s career and life, and an environment where employers and employees are enabled to create balanced lives while producing desired outcomes at work.
Leaders at all levels play a crucial role in supporting this change. The demographics of the worldwide workplace have changed, most notably with workers spending more time at work and with the increasing participation of women in the workforce. Overt gender discrimination has decreased, yet women, especially those with family responsibilities, continue to face obstacles to work-life balance, promotion, and advancement.
Workplace flexibility and perceived advancement opportunities are key factors in women’s decisions to leave the workforce. Women and men report high levels of stress in managing both work and life responsibilities, and although the majority desire more flexibility in the workplace, few have access to these benefits. Public and private stakeholders are beginning to recognize the need for workplace flexibility, and new recommendations and pilot programs are being developed.
But a policy-practice gap remains because the outdated model of the “ideal” worker has not changed to reflect the realities of family and society. Leaders must promote a model based on accountability in order to truly transform the culture of work. Men and women as caregivers of children or elderly parents face unprecedented challenges in the worldwide workforce today. For the first time in our history, approximately four out of every ten mothers in the United States are primary breadwinners, and almost two-thirds are breadwinners or co-breadwinners.
This dynamic has transformed American marriages and families, with couples working more collaboratively in order to juggle careers and caregiving. This dynamic is also transforming the American workplace and has created the need for a paradigm shift in how work is done. Despite these demographic shifts, the current model of work is still based in part on an outdated 1950s view, when middle-class families had a single breadwinner and women stayed at home to care for children.
Because a caregiver was at home, issues regarding caregiving did not directly affect the workplace. While the workplace has changed to accommodate the needs of some workers, conflicts now arise regularly between caregivers and employers that affect hiring, retention, and promotion and that ultimately can deeply affect the economic well-being of families. Because of the profound shifts in the workforce, the current situation is not sustainable—for individuals, families, communities, businesses, or society.
Although a number of governments and organizations have examined the issue of workplace flexibility and some policies and programs have been implemented, the reality is that a majority of workers around the world still lack the flexibility they need. The paid workforce—from the working poor to professionals—continues to struggle within an outdated and ineffectual workplace structure. This is not a question of individual choice and responsibility but a critical public policy and social issue with widespread implications. Does our workplace structure have to be this way?
The workplace environment around the world has changed significantly in recent decades. First, the pace, intensity, and hours required of workers have increased. In the United States, the average middle-class family works more than 500 hours more each year than a similar family would have worked in the 1970s. The women’s movement and increasing social acceptance of women in professional roles have opened new opportunities for women to enter and advance in the workforce. At the same time, economic realities have made it a necessity in many cases for women to engage in paid employment.
The participation of women has also altered the responsibilities for caretaking. Approximately 70 percent of children in the United States live in households where all adults are employed. At the same time, many adults—with or without children—have an additional caretaking concert, like the elderly. Now, one in four Americans is caring for elders. 3 for the majority of families in which all adults are working outside the home, they must depend on outside help for caretaking responsibilities.
Workplace flexibility is simply a way to describe how, when, and where work gets done. The Families and Work Institute listed the following 13 examples of flexibility in its 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce: Having traditional flextime (setting daily hours within a range periodically) Having daily flextime, Being allowed to take time off during the work day to address family matters, Being able to take a few days off to care for a sick child or other family member without losing pay, having to use vacation ays, or making up an excuse for absence,
Being able to work some regular hours at home, Being able to take breaks when one wants to, Having a work shift that is desirable and predictable, Having complete or a lot of control over work schedule, Being able to work part-time (if currently full-time) or full-time (if currently part-time) in one’s current position. Being able to work a compressed work week, and half a year in the same current position and seldom required to work paid or unpaid overtime with little or no notice and believing that one can use flexible work arrangements without jeopardizing job, was just plain racial towards women.
This was why women needed to understand the elements of workplace flexibility and insight on how such flexibility can be incorporated in a number of workplace settings. The increasing number of women breadwinners is a positive development for gender equality, reflecting a decline in discrimination and expanding opportunities for women to rise into leadership roles within all sectors of the workforce. Recent research illustrates that women now outnumber men in many higher-education programs and in attaining advanced degrees.
Research also shows that in many organizations women are entering the professional levels in numbers equal to men, even in some previously male-dominated sectors. For example, in the national and international security sector, some organizations, such as the United Nations, have achieved gender parity in entry-level professional categories and in the midlevel positions. Another piece of good news is that overt discrimination by managers and employers against women on the basis of gender has declined significantly. In a recent study by Women in International Security (WIIS), the majority of women in U.
S. national security policy positions who were interviewed said they were considered and treated equally to male counterparts. 6 as more women have advanced to higher-level positions in the professional fields; there is growing acceptance of women in these roles. In 2008, the Pew Research Center found that almost 70 percent of men and women had an equal perception of both men and women as leaders. With visible women in top roles in governments, corporations, and the nonprofit sector, it seems that the goals of the women’s movement have finally been achieved.
However, a closer look at the data reveals that there are under examined problems with female compensation, retention, and advancement in the workforce. The pay gap between men and women has not been eliminated; women typically earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. 1 within the private and public sectors, there is growing recognition that employers are often having difficulty retaining women. In organizations such as the United Nations, which experiences a high level of turnover of personnel anyway, human resources officers report that even more women drop out.
In some organizations, evidence indicates that women are not promoted to senior-level positions at the same rate as men, and women are “self-eliminating” by not applying for or pursuing senior-level positions. Although there may be gender equity at lower levels, less than 30 percent of senior-level managers are women in many agencies of the U. S. government and in multilateral organizations such as the United Nations. Clearly, employers are losing critical female talent. Workplace flexibility is a crucial piece of this puzzle. During the past fifty something years, the status of professional women has changed tremendously.
In today society women are said to be equal, but this was certainly not the case in previous centuries. Women today have definitely expanded their career aspirations. They are no longer confined to the traditional female that were highly controlled and directed by men and only allowed to work as an teacher or nurse. We have seen the integration of women into previously male dominated fields such as accounting, medicine, law, etc. Integration; however, does not necessarily mean acceptance and equality nor does it mean that the stress created by work-family conflict has been resolved.
This paper will examine some of the issues that continue to plague women today, as they attempt to climb the latter in their professional. Introduction The modern workplace from the late 18th century to about 1930 was typically a man’s world with few exceptions. In 1870, female clerks accounted for 2. 5 percent of the workforce, rising to 53 percent in 1930. Female clerk typists rose from 5 to 96 percent during the same period. Minorities, typically African-Americans, were segregated to work in the service industry, such as servants, porters and manual labor, according to early office museum. om. Now in today’s world of business today is very different from the world of business fifty years ago.
Advances in technology plus the evolving work and family roles of women in this country have contributed to the business environment of the 21st century. The changing roles of women in America have led to their greater participation in the employment sector and changes in many aspects of American life. Women constitute 47 percent of the total labor force. Most women will remain in the paid labor force for 30 years.
The typical American family today is the dual-earner family (White & Rogers, 2000). Women are now employed in previously male-dominated fields such as law, professional sports, the military, law enforcement, firefighting and top-level corporate positions. Working women today spend less time maintaining the household then they did 30 years ago. It had been anticipated that increased labor force participation for women and subsequent participation in multiple roles would result in increased stress. Research studies have actually determined that the opposite is true.
Women who participate in multiple roles experience lower levels of stress-related mental and physical problems and feel generally better than their cohorts who engage in few roles (Barnett & Marshall, 1993; Crosby & Jaskar, 1993; Simmons, 1992; Thoits, 1992; Wethington and Kessler, 1989). Current research supports the fact that employed women, regardless of marital status, reported greater happiness then the nonemployee women. Research studies have discovered that working women are less depressed than non-working women (Aneshensel, 1986; Kendel, Davies & Raveis, 1985).
Crosby (1991) noted that women who occupy multiple roles are less depressed than other women. Research have confirms that employment has a positive effect for women and families. Despite this conclusion, women still encounter a number of difficulties and misperceptions that affect their performance in the workplace. This paper will examine some of these difficulties and describe various methods employed by working women to resolve them. One such difficulty is the belief that men and women have different leadership styles.
Leadership styles attributed to women are believed to reduce their effectiveness in the workplace. Specifically, women are thought to be more people-oriented in their leadership style and men more task-oriented. The people-oriented leadership style of women is viewed as less likely to inspire productivity among workers. Gender stereotyping is a problem that working women must deal with. Barnett and Hyde, (2001), conclude that the empirical studies they reviewed challenge gender differences predictions of earlier theories. The behavior of men and women in the workplace is similar.
Differences may have existed in the past but these differences are rapidly disappearing. Perhaps what needs to be examined is why these differences are disappearing. (Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, Page 99). Another problem that are faced by women is stress caused by role conflict or multiple roles. Research has suggested that the use and choice of coping strategies may be a factor in reducing such stress (Billings & Moos, 1981; Folman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, DeLongis, & Gruen, 1986; Pearlin & Schooler, 1978).
A coping resource that has been found to reduce stress is social support (Eckenrode, 1991; Eckenrode & Gore, 1990; Emmons et al. , 1990 Greenhaus, 1988; Riefman, Biernat & Lang, 1991). The particular social support mechanisms most helpful to working women are emotional support and tangible support. Tangible support is defined as providing some sort of assistance for another person. There is a work/family conflict that particularly affects working women. It is extended work hours. (Piotrkowski et al 1987).
There is research that suggests that a child’s well-being suffers as a result of lack of time with parents (Piotrkowski et al 1987). Specifically, “the lack of sensitive, responsive, and consistent care from overworked parents or substitute providers can lead to decreased cognitive and social skills (Percel & Menaghan 1994). And can promote attachment insecurity in children (Belsky, 1990) (Glass & Estes, 1997: 295). ” Research has determined that working women with rigid schedules report more family difficulties than working women with flexible schedules (Ralston, 1990).
It has been determined that there is a relationship between the lack of job flexibility and depression (Googins, 1991). It has been reported that, “when family responsibilities expand, mothers are more likely than fathers to change jobs, to work part-time, or exit the labor force for a spell because families cannot afford to lose fathers’ wages. The result is often a decrease in mothers’ financial and occupational attainment (Felmlee, 1995, Corcoran et al 1984) (Glass & Estes1997:297). ”
Men and women communicate differently and; therefore, negotiate differently (Miller, 2003). The successful female professional must not only understand the gender differences in communication but be able to use them to her advantage as well. Miller (2003) describes a man’s way of communicating as “guy speak. ” She explains: For example, when a man leaves a meeting and you ask him how it went, he will probably say “Great. ” He is not really conveying any information about what happened at the meeting; rather, he is simply acting confident.
A woman, in contrast, might answer the same question with,” Okay, but I could have handled the cost issue a little better. ” Like the man’s comment, hers does not necessarily describe what happened at the meeting. Rather, it reflects her “desire for perfection. ” If you rely on what each actually says, without taking into the account the gender of the speaker, you are liable to draw erroneous conclusions. The same is true when men lose fathers’ wages. The result is often a decrease in mothers’ financial and occupational attainment (Felmlee, 1995, Corcoran et al 1984) (Glass & Estes1997:297).
Men and women communicate differently and; therefore, negotiate differently (Miller, 2003). The successful female professional must not only understand the gender differences in communication but be able to use them to her advantage as well. Miller (2003) describes a man’s way of communicating as “guy speaks. ” She explains: For example, when a man leaves a meeting and you ask him how it went, he will probably say “Great. ” He is not really conveying any information about what happened at the meeting; rather, he is simply acting confident.
A woman, in contrast, might answer the same question with,” Okay, but I could have handled the cost issue a little better. ” Like the man’s comment, hers does not necessarily describe what happened at the meeting. Rather, it reflects her “desire for perfection. ” If you rely on what each actually says, without taking into the account the gender of the speaker, you are liable to draw erroneous conclusions. The same is true when men lose liable to draw erroneous conclusions. The same is true when men and women negotiate.