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Women as the Workforce Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 1st, 2020

Nowadays, working women is a common socioeconomic phenomenon. However, there were times when it was an extraordinary development. Moreover, women were forced to struggle for their rights to equality in workplace and freedom of expressing themselves in achieving their career aspirations. This process was long and demanded vast effort. It caught attention of numerous scholars and journalists, who worked on investigating the process of women’s assimilation in workplace and challenges they faced and still experience today. It resulted in dozens of both scholarly and non-scholarly papers on the issue of women in the workforce. At the same time, there were as well non-experts, who studied the same problem. Their work can be found in different online entries and free encyclopedias.

Article Analysis

One of the entries mentioned above is that published as Wikipedia content. The title of the article is “Women in the Workforce.” It investigates the role of women in workplace and modern society in general. Because each Wikipedia entry can be easily modified by all authorized users, it is essential to take a closer look at the provided content and critically analyze it. This necessity is motivated by the desire to find out whether the entry contains valuable information, which can be trusted. The paper at hand aims at studying the Wikipedia content and analyzing it from the perspective of indicated facts and relevance of sources used for writing the chosen article.

To begin with, it is essential to note that the selected article is thoroughly outlined and it seems that the issue under consideration is investigated in details. The entry addresses some central aspects of the studied topic such as global trends of women’s employment, workforce participation of female employees by sector and region of the globe, organizations for protecting women’s rights and fighting for equality in workplace, and laws aimed at protecting women as the workforce. Moreover, some significant challenges faced by women, barriers to equality, occupational health and safety as well as history of women’s struggle for equality are mentioned.

The entry under consideration has several significant benefits. First and foremost, it includes statistics. This data addresses the distribution of women by sector and regions around the globe, which is beneficial for understanding the global trends and changes in including women into the workforce. Moreover, it mentions the percentage of women in three common male-dominant occupations – lawyers, dentists, and physicians. This chart is valuable because it points to the growing role of women in workplace. Finally, this article includes a comprehensive bibliography for studying the issue of women as a part of the workforce. All sources are divided by area of interest. So, one who is interested in additional research could easily find scholarly and non-scholarly papers, as well as references to other Wikipedia entries on female employees, in sociology, religion, medicine, education, leadership, architecture, design, sports, entertainment, science, business, politics, etc.

From this perspective, the entry covers a great variety of issues. It makes the article a comprehensive material, which offers insight into numerous related aspects of the topic. Nevertheless, at the same time, this oversaturation with subtopics might lead to failure in providing adequate and relevant information regarding all subsections. However, there are some gaps in provided literature. For instance, even though there are numerous scholarly papers in the proposed bibliography, none of the course readings, i.e. works by most important scholars in this area, are mentioned. Moreover, provided statistical information is outdated. For example, updating statistics would be beneficial because it dates back to 2007. More than that, adding more occupations except for lawyers, physicians, and dentists would be helpful for understanding the overall situation. In addition, mentioning age distribution of working women would also be important. In this way, it is essential to state that nowadays, the rates of older women in the workforce are skyrocketing. These days, around 20 percent of women aged above 65 are working. Some twenty years ago, this figure was only 2 percent. A further increase to 30 percent during following 20 years is expected (“Rates of Older Women in the Workforce Increasing” 10).

In order to focus on the content, it is better to concentrate on only one aspect of the article to minimize the risks of inadequate analysis. Specific attention was caught by the barriers subsection. According to the authors of the entry, nowadays, women face several significant barriers, which preclude them from achieving their career aspirations. First and foremost, it is essential to note that gender roles have a direct influence on formation of the workforce because women are constantly socially prejudiced because of the historically established tradition that mothers are primary caregivers to children, so they should focus on families instead of careers. Moreover, women often experience discrimination both before entering a particular field of professional activities and during working within this field. In the first case, they are believed to lack necessary potential for becoming successful at particular occupations. On the other hand, female workers are constantly discriminated in terms of wages, management, and hierarchies (“Women in the Workforce” par. 32).

Access to Education

There are other barriers, which should be mentioned. For instance, the process of integrating women into the workforce was lasting and required vast effort because of the limited access to higher education. It is explained by the fact that different universities opened their doors to women around one hundred years ago. At the same time, there is a wide professionalization of different occupations, i.e. it is legally determined that working in most areas requires higher education. However, because women gained formal access to higher education only recently, they were always limited in their opportunity to work. More than that, it is essential to mention cultural and social specificities of perceiving women. Regardless of living in the modern society, people still believe that women should focus on families instead of careers. That is why their education is not of primary importance. It is very true regarding different social customs, which limit access of girls to school education. In this way, there is a vicious cycle of bias because without primary education, it is impossible to earn a degree and hope for realization of career aspirations (“Women in the Workforce” par. 34).

Even though this subsection is detailed enough, it is essential to mention other barriers related to education. First and foremost, even in case of adequate access to higher education, there are significant risks associated with the very educational process, which might contribute to failing to earn a degree. For instance, one of such critical aspects is sexual harassment and sex discrimination in education. This issue was legally addressed only around thirty years ago by solving several court cases and establishing organizations fighting against sexual harassment (Baker 156). Nevertheless, the challenge is still critical and requires being addressed by raising social awareness about the problem and implementing university statutes guaranteeing protection against sexual harassment and discrimination. Moreover, it is essential to note that access to education is often limited in case if equality is not granted legally and discrimination is allowed. It means that in countries with effective legislation, which prohibits discrimination, women have more chances of earning a degree and experience fewer difficulties during their university years (Alonso-Almeida 166).

Discrimination in Workplace

Except for access to education, discrimination in workplace is a critical barrier as well. A focus is made both on the belief that men are more talented and can occupy higher positions or cope with job duties better as well as women are more likely to opt out because of shifting to their families. The first phenomenon is known as horizontal segregation and it is based on male dominance and potential. As for the second problem, it is referred to as network discrimination and, in most cases, it is a common issue when it comes to promoting women, i.e. giving preference to men under other equal conditions (“Women in the Workforce” par. 36-38).

In this case, it is essential to mention the opt-out revolution – a mass 1990s movement of women giving up their jobs to achieve their family aspirations. Most of them occupied prestigious jobs and were highly educated. However, as they want to return to work, they face a barrier of re-entering the labor market. In most cases, even if they are experienced and their profile is persuasive, women cannot occupy their previous positions and hope for the same level of income. In this way, only 40 percent of women manage to get full-time jobs back after opting out, but they earn 16 percent less than they used to (Warner par. 28). This figure might be related to two problems. First, women might fail to satisfy current requirements of the labor market because they were out of it for too long. However, there is as well the other side of the problem, as it is believed that if a woman decided to opt out some time ago, she would make the same decision once more. So, a woman cannot be trusted in occupying previous positions, especially high-ranked ones.

In addition, the challenge of discrimination in workplace may derive from inflexible work schedules. In other words, as women integrated into the workplace, their responsibilities and schedules are equal to those of men. Basically, it is assumed that they should be totally involved in working process in case of occupying full-time positions. However, it often results in failing to find the balance between family and work. In this way, inadequate support of working women and irrelevant labor standards have a negative influence on their work-life performance and contributes to the exclusion of women who want to spend time with their families and spouses from the workforce (“Study on Women in Workforce Calls for Family-Friendly Policies” 14).

Social Barriers

In this case, social perception of women is not the only focus. Instead, an emphasis is made on the way women perceive themselves as a part of the workforce. In most cases, female employees rarely ask for promotion or higher wages because of the phenomenon referred to as employee clustering. In simple words, women communicate with other women. As they find out that their income or position within a company or society is relatively the same, they see no need for changing it. In most cases, it is related to the manner of bringing up boys and girls. While boys are taught to become competitive, girls are rarely pointed to this personal trait. At the same time, women are genetically kinder than men and used to having less power (Burk 63). So, it might result in limited access to decent work (“Women in the Workforce” par. 40).

However, there are other causes, which might potentially contribute to the existence of this problem. For instance, governmental initiatives lack power and influence for making women socially and economically independent by entering the workforce (Alonso-Almeida 167). It means that current governmental support is not enough for removing this social barrier and eliminating the belief that women are born for being housewives.

Conclusion: Ideas for Editing the Article

To sum up, this article is a detailed and comprehensive one, as it addresses numerous aspects related to women in the workforce. Nevertheless, there are still some gaps, which could be filled because there are some more barriers to mention. For instance, there is a concept of men’s power in the workplace. It refers to an acceptable image of a corporate leader and corporate elite. In this way, once a company achieves a desirable level of development, any potentially negative changes are avoided. In this case, there is a problem of valuing maleness over femaleness. It means that making a woman a part of senior management is subconsciously referred to vulnerability. Because the concept of power is synonymous with invulnerability, in most cases, women are limited in their access to governing firms. It can be proved by the fact that there are only several female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies (Burk 63). It is essential to emphasize that this challenge is complicated to overcome because of loyalty to maleness as power, which derives from the desire to guarantee continued power of an organization. Therefore, it adds to discrimination of women in the workplace and questioning their status.

Works Cited

Alonso-Almeida, Maria. “Women (and Mothers) in the Workforce: Worldwide Factors.” Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 44, no. 1, 2014, pp. 164-171.

Baker, Carrie N. The Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment. Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Burk, Martha. “Power Plays: Six Ways the Male Corporate Elite Keeps Women Out.” Ms, vol. 15, no. 2, 2005, pp. 61-63.

“Rates of Older Women in the Workforce Increasing.” Kai Taiki: Nursing New Zealand, vol. 21, no. 1, 2015, pp. 10.

“Study on Women in Workforce Calls for Family-Friendly Policies.” IOMA’s Report on Managing Benefits Plans, vol. 10, no. 5, 2010, pp. 14-15.

Warner, Judith. The New York Times. 2013, Web.

Wikipedia. 2016, Web.

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