Last week was Equal Pay Day. We took a day to recognize the movement to achieve equal pay for women. This is obviously an issue that needs to be addressed. However, the workplace poses other obstacles for women that should be looked at as well.
Leanin.org and McKinsey & Co conducted a study that revealed that gender discrimination in the workplace is still very common. A survey of lower level employees at major companies in North America revealed that while many of these companies claim that promoting women to higher positions is a priority, it truly is not the case.
A common belief is that this is due to many women starting families. It’s assumed that women don’t want to be promoted due to other responsibilities. However, the study concluded that this isn’t true. In fact, motherhood motivated women to seek higher-paying positions.
There is something else holding them back.
And while studies are great to back up gender discrimination, a lot of us face this firsthand every day. We don’t need to be told by numbers and statistics that this is a problem.
Why is this still a struggle that we have to face?
The advancement of women in the workplace is a modern movement. Historically, women have been looked at as the weaker sex and incapable of being a provider for themselves or their family.
There are many reasons that this is still a problem.
Last month, self-help guru, Tony Robbins, stated that his successful and powerful friend had told him that he didn’t want to hire an attractive woman, even though she was more qualified than the other candidates, “because it’s too big of a risk.” He didn’t define the risk.
Why is there fear about women rising to higher positions in the workplace?
Women could be held back because their ambition is intimidating to their co-workers and bosses. Men may feel that they are being surpassed by someone who is stereotypically not as capable, so it could be a matter of pride being hurt.
Some women have been told their whole lives that they are not good enough to excel in the workplace like men. They are being hit from all directions with claims that they aren’t smart enough to do the same work as men or that they incapable of holding leadership positions. When constantly being brought down, they lose motivation to even try for those higher positions.
In any case, assumptions are being made about a gender that is strong and capable and has so much to offer.
Recently, with things like the Women’s March and celebrities speaking up about the pay gap, more attention is being brought to this issue. It is so important that we keep this fire burning strong and continue making this topic heard.
Women should not be underestimated or ignored.
Equality in the workplace is not only fair but will benefit both genders. There are so many strong women with so much to give, and they are being held back by unfair stereotypes.
Let’s keep this movement alive! Just because it’s not International Women’s Day or Equal Pay Day doesn’t mean we can just let this become a second thought. It’s something we need to fight for each and every day.