Lioness asked in Social ScienceGender Studies · 1 decade ago

How do we close the gender gap in the workplace ( women getting less pay, fewer leadership positions etc)?

1- Do you belong to the group that believes the differences are due to sexism, hence political lobbying is needed?

2- Do you belong to the group who think sexist discrimination has little to do with it, likes to study the reasons why women are behind, to personally break them?

3- Or do you belong to a third, unmentioned category?

I know the gap is discussed all the time. I'm curious how you think we need to go about making changes?

If you don't believe any differences exist at all, don't bother.


Lady Luck & Steve: I believe yours would fit under cat 2 also, meaning those barriers are breakable but if falls on the person to make the effort/choice to break them. No?

Super Ruper: I happen to strongly agree with you.

25 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, there are differences. But I think that it is vital that women take personal responsibility, rather than lobbying for assistance. We need to learn how to negotiate better. We need to understand 'the game' better, and learn to play it every bit as well as men. The world of business has been around a very long time, and women are relative newcomers to it - we need to assimilate to it, rather than try to change it.

    Does this mean that women don't deserve equal pay? Absolutely not - not if she is PERFORMING at the same level as her male counterpart. We need to recognize that holding the same level job is NOT the same thing as performing to the same level. And if she is performing up to or outperforming her male counterparts, she needs to stand up for herself and DEMAND equal pay. As a former employer, I was not in the practice of taking care of people who could not take care of themselves. If a woman could not negotiate for herself effectively, it told me much about how well she could perform for the company...

  • 1 decade ago


    I believe that the problem is that in the majority of cases women want special treatment in the workplace.

    Consider this: On a construction site a women gets hired and all of a sudden there is a need to change the way the men behave/talk because there is a women around. The term sexual harrasment in the workplace wasn't known in the workplace until women joined the working force. (I'm not anti women in the work place, actually quite the opposite)

    If women wish to show they are equal to men in a workplace then why do rules need to be changed to include them? I personally could give an f less who I am working with my behavior doesn't change, if a women is offended by my words or actions she is in the wrong line of work.

    The gender gap is something created by women thinking the the workplace should be a neutral zone, unfortunately men are men, and don't like having to deal with extra weight or rules. The same business that previously only employed men now employs both genders, but has less efficiency due to women that complain about how the men act, and men that don't wish to change their ways because a women has entered the workforce.

    Not realizing that even though you may be just as qualified for a managment position, the man chosen likely has a much better personality for commanding the respect required to get the employees under him to work efficiently. And quite possibly some of due to mens inate ability to let things go. (Bad situations/ problems tend to fade much quicker and therefore have much less tendency to affect the work enviroment.)

    PMS is not on your side either, I have worked with many women that come to work and be completely unproductive and slow everyone else pace for 1 week a month, just so happens this isn't good for business, and worse for managment. (Less loss = more production, money talks in the working world)

    If women want to be treated as equals in the workplace, then first and foremost they need to act as equals, not ask for special treatment. I believe that 90% of the cases (when favors/groping are not involved) are just b/s political correctness issues that women just need to accept or adopt to fit into their chosen occupation. Getting eyed up is not harassment, its nature. Having someone comment on you is not harassment, its life. Having to listen to sexual jokes and innuendos, thats men being men. Grow up and deal with it.

    Women don't get paid less generally, they work less and require more. So for the most part, your getting compensated well with all the changes that are necessary to allow for your comfortableness in the workplace. Deal with it.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    3- Created by women because we are not as aggressive when it come to asking for a promotion/raise/higher starting pay.

    When comparing the same experience, the same education, the same location, the same job, the same amount of work going into said job women get paid less on a whole in the US. The reason is women are not as aggressive when asking for a raise or a higher starting pay. Companies don't want to pay their employees more than they have to so they just play along.

    EDIT: Alright, lets change my answer to 2. with the same response. Like to add it's pointless to complain about this, find out why and not do anything about it. Since reading the article (looking for the link, I'll send it if I do) stating that fact I have been aggressive at work. That lead to quiting and starting a job that pays $4 more an hour. My old co-workers where slightly sickened when they found out how much I made.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's obvious that differences exist in pay parity and leadership positions. It's not obvious what the best method is to redress those differences.

    Take I.T. (my field), on a large scale and a small scale. On a large scale, recently published this story

    on the gap in high level and mid level positions between men and women. The article doesn't go into detail about what factors contribute to the disparity, or provide any statistics to analyze the issue. Searching the Computerworld website found a total of 194 articles with women as a primary subject, so this didn't help a lot. In the past, studies of pay disparity have focussed on years of experience in a field, continuity in a position, but most studies of the question of pay disparity don't focus on what's the best solution, they simply try to analyze the problem.

    If you posit, or propose an axiomatic, solution such as "let's change the criteria for career advancement to promote gender equity", e.g. acknowledging that single mothers are far more prevalent than single fathers, that the results one obtains in a position should be more important than the hours spent in the office to generate those results, and that careers should be structured to allow for a better balance between career and home, then workplaces can create environments aimed at those goals. If workplaces can't create environments that balance the needs of their workers in and out of the workplace, then equity won't be resolved.

    Does this put me in a group? I dunno.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The only way to close the gap is to shut up, do your job and make sure that you bring your efforts and accomplishments to the attention of those who are in a position to promote you. The fact of the matter is, if you have a woman who comes into work every day, does her job well, is sharp and smart, knows what she's doing and keeps a cool head on her shoulders, she's going to be rewarded for her efforts and she's going to be respected in the workplace. They are not going to promote a man who doesn't know what he's doing and isn't nearly so sharp and/or smart as the woman. That's just a fact. Nothing has ever been accomplished by complaining particularly regarding subjective issues like these. The proof is in the pudding and actions speak louder than words.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As a previous person stated...women have to take personal responsibility. I have experience in both manual labor and corporate work environments. The one common thing about both is women playing that gender card. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of "go getter" women in upper management that can do the job equal and better than there male counterpart. In my experience that is the exception and not the standard.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    OK 2 - The "gap" is impossible to close completely, and it it mainly based on behavioral patterns. BUT, there is a solution that can help - see below.

    There's just too many built-in differences between men and women: Family priorities, work choice differences, risk tolerance differences, etc.

    However, as long as working mothers are willing to sacrifice job opportunities (extensive travel, long commutes, etc.) in order to be more available for their children and fathers are willing to sacrifice time with family in order to earn more the gap will persist.


    No time to look up stats but I'm sure that I've read that the gap for single women is very small, certainly smaller than for married women. Which supports the above.


    Encourage more women to become "knowledge workers" rather than "skill workers." Why?

    "Knowledge workers" are paid for what they KNOW, "skill workers" are paid for what they DO. Knowledge workers often instruct others to DO things, but don't have to do them themselves.

    Knowledge workers have more autonomy, can often can work fewer hours, and thus have more flexibility to care for outside of work obligations.

  • 1 decade ago

    The last few places I have worked, before I began working for myself, I was jointly responsible for setting salaries, conducting reviews, assigning responsibilities, recommending and in some cases approving promotions.

    The corporate workplace (to my thinking) is a balance of competing interests. Employers do not want to pay out more than they have to, but by the same token they have no wish to lose undervalued staff. In key positions especially.

    Good companies will base pay around a market rate, achievement, and if they are really sensible they will reward loyalty and commitment too.

    Where I have worked, which has been within both major and minor corporations in the IT industry in project and account management, women achieve equal pay to men. And in very well paying jobs too.

    I cannot dispute that pay disparity does exist, I am not sure how best to solve it. In highly skilled jobs, people by and large write their own payslips within market constraints with no regard to gender.

    In lower paying jobs that are easy to resource, employers will pay as little as they can get away with. It is those positions where I believe women are at their most vulnerable. Unionization can help a lot. Educating employers can help a lot too. If workers feel that they are undervalued and discriminated against, their productivity drops, stress levels rise, turnover becomes an issue, they are more prone to sickness.

    As far as lobbying goes - yes - enacting changes in law is a very positive step. One that has been taken in terms of equal opportunities and anti discrimination, yet those laws are hard to enforce because they are generally hard to prove. Still they are good steps.

    The main ways I believe women can obtain parity are

    1) Collective Bargaining

    2) Educating Employers on the Benefits of Equal Pay

    3) Cultural Acceptance of Equal Pay (within the corporation)

    4) Assigning a Responsibility within Human Resources to Manage and Foster Diversity. Measure and Metric.

    5) Enshrining Equal Opportunities and Anti Discrimination in Law, and Educating Employers to Ensure they Understand their Obligations.

    Those 5 measures would go a long way to help fix things, in my opinion.

  • 1 decade ago

    I go between 1 and 2. In some cases, there is discrimination, and in other cases, there isn't.

    The main reason for the gender gap is the continued inability of many high-powered businesses to accommodate the lifestyle of a working parent. Suggestions include on-site day care, to be included in the benefit packages of the parents who need it; better children's health care; and more flextime.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Children and letting a guy (or maybe family) take care of them are absolutely, positively the main reasons that women make less and get into very high level management positions less. There are other reasons, but they pale in comparison to these two in influence.

    Waiting to have children or not having children & either not letting a man take care of her or still gaining skills while he does are the main remedies.

    Children & society will probably suffer if this happens though.

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