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Male Employees vs. Female Employees | Gender Inequality Issues

Women were called to the workforce during World War II to support troops overseas and to keep factories running in the US. By 1945, one in four married women were working outside the home. In 1943, 65% of the aircraft industry were women, over 310,000 employees. Yet these women were being paid 50% less than their male counterparts.

A lesser-known role women played during the war included ferrying planes, transporting cargo, and participating in simulation strafing and target missions. These were civilian services provided by the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs. Thirty-eight of 1,000 WASPs lost their lives in the world war. Yet it wasn’t until May 10, 2010 that WASPs were recognized for the work they did, receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian honors. 

In 2017, I wrote about my client “Samantha” who spoke up against a male coworker for sexually harassing her. She was transferred out of her dream job while her coworker got a slap on the wrist. In that blog I shared five steps we need to take to change how women are treated in the workplace. 

History has shown women that they get paid less, they are not recognized for their achievements, and when they speak up, they’re transferred. There has always been a huge discrepancy between male employees vs. female employees

So, here’s the updated scorecard. Buckle-up women – it hasn’t changed much! 

Women are now paid $0.82 for every $1 earned by their male counterpart. Up from 2017 by $0.02. The likelihood of a woman experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace is 60%; of those, over half did not file a complaint for fear of retaliation.  

Women continue to work in professions traditionally called “women’s work” such as home health care aids, childcare, and administration. Women are called out of the workforce for caregiving responsibilities or other unpaid obligations Women also end up working part-time for the same reasons. During COVID stay-at-home orders, women sacrificed the most. National Women’s Law Center reported that female’s participation in the workplace dropped 57% during COVID. 

Retaliation seems to play an important role in why women are not speaking up. We’re afraid. But can we afford to continue to be afraid? 

Subtle gender bias in the workplace is easy to miss but contributes to widening the gap between male employees and female employees. Implicit bias is gender bias. Examples include women answering the phones, ensuring refreshments, taking minutes at meetings, and assigning women menial tasks such as cleaning the office kitchen. 

Past stereotypes lead to gender bias, especially as it relates to women in leadership roles. For example, female managers are more likely to be labeled as “bossy,” “moody,”, or “petty” by employees following a disciplinary action. 

How can we effect real change in the disparity between men and women in the workforce? 

  1. Awareness. We need to bring awareness to the issues women face in the workplace. Use National Women’s History Month or other newsworthy story as a platform to bring awareness to the differences between male and female employees. By the way, National Women’s History Month traces its roots to March 8, 1857 when women protested poor working conditions in many New York City factories. The first Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909 and in 1981, Congress established National Women’s History Week. Very few of us have any idea why these days were established to begin with. 

 

  1. Education. We begin learning by observing those around us from a very young age. Dads and moms need to teach their daughters equality by using words and actions. Women are just as competent as men. Young girls need to be shown that they are capable of taking on leadership roles. A Pew Research study found women equally as capable as men; however, women lacked leadership roles because of double standards for women. It is up to us to change this. 

  • Speak up. Speak up during salary negotiations. Speak up if you always get menial “woman’s work.” Speak up if you are the subject of sexual harassment. Speak up if you are experiencing gender bias. When women spoke up, change happened. And it can happen again. 

We need to stand up for ourselves. We need to hold each other up rather than tear each other down. It is our choice to remain a victim to male employee vs. female employee discrepancies or to rise above it. We can do this together but not alone. 

Let’s make a difference in our careers and show the way for the generations of young women behind us. We can be leaders. The needle is moving. Slowly. But women employees took a big hit during COVID stay-at-home orders. We need to bounce back and lead by example. 

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