Influential Women in History
The world has seen some amazing female influences throughout the years, with the first medical syringe designed by Letitia Geer in 1899, Emmeline Pankhurst founding the first Women's Social and Political Union in 1903, to seeing Monopoly invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1904. During the First World War Harriet Chalmers Adams was the only female journalist allowed into trenches, and by 1919 Nancy Astor became the first woman to take a seat in the House of Commons.
By 1928 women were given the right to vote at the same age as men, and by the end of the war we saw over 460,000 women in military work and 6.5 million in civilian war work.
Amy Johnson became the first British female aviator to fly solo from the UK to Australia whilst setting some serious long-distance records in the 1930s. The British Federation of Business and Professional Women was founded in 1935, Grace Hopper the Queen of Software helped invent English-language programming in the 1950s, and in 1965 Barbara Castle became the first female minister of the state taking on the role of Minister of Transport.
In 1971 Dr. Erna Hoover created her impact on technology with her patented telephony switching program that kept phones functioning under stressful and busy loads.
The Cosmopolitan magazine was launched in 1972 and the 1983 Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value Amendment for the Equal Pay Act came into place. Marissa Mayer became Google's first female engineer in 1999, and women were given the right to maternity leave for the first time in 1994.
We can say that women have become an incredibly strong force, fighting for what is right, taking those enormous strides towards equality. Change has been made, however we are still far off from seeing the gender gap erased from society.
In 2003 we saw the gender pay gap at 19%, whilst now despite 2017 seeing the gap at 9.4%, significantly lower than 2003, the gap was still at 9.5% in 2012. Very little progress has been made.
Inequality and sexism is still persistent in todays society, and whilst there are still stereotypes that women should be having children and have gender-stereotyped roles in the workplace, a study found that after 40 years of the Equal Pay Act, female bosses in the UK still earn 75% as much as their male counterparts, meaning they would need to work up until they are 80 years of age to catch up with men's overall lifetime earnings.
Barriers Against Women In The Workplace:
There are still so many gender inequalities in the workplace today, from how many view appearances, live style choices, family and more. So, what can be done to promote gender equality and remove barriers against women in the workplace?
The Gender Pay Gap
David Cameron insisted that every business with 250 or more employees are to make their pay data available from April 2017 as a means to remove the gap. This gap will only continue within a culture of secrecy. Sounds fair right?
And if you think about it is a great idea, however this should not only be limited to large companies, but small too. You wouldn't want to find out you're being paid less significantly than a man with the same experience, doing the same level and position of work. Ensuring this information is available only then the gender pay gap can be challenged at the workplace. (I must point out that this isn't just affecting women, but men also. I too have experienced this in the past working in retail and restaurants, being paid less for the same job as a female colleague).
Expectations Of Appearance
Society, as we know is heavily focused on appearance. Female employees can often feel the pressure from the media, celebrities, adverts and even their colleagues to get their 'look' right. It is fair to say that there is a general attitude that a woman who doesn't care about her appearance doesn't care about the job, and if they want to succeed in the workplace then they should do, [Up the Career Ladder, Lipstick In Hand].
There is an unfair association between workplace performance and your appearance. Surely how well you dress, and how amazing you look in makeup shouldn't determine whether you're great at your job and should get paid more? Women should not have to feel the pressure for something that is so unrelated to their intelligence and workplace performance.
Expectations Of Negotiating Less Pay
Too often I've heard my female friends being offered less salary because the employers didn't want to pay what they offered on the job specifications to the next interviewee. In other words you said you'd take the job for less over others applying for the same role. And who hasn't done this?
Here you are giving the employer a choice. Are they going to pay the full £25,000 to someone else for the same role, or give the £18,000-20,000 to you because that's what you said you'd do it for? A means to save money means they're not investing in you.
How does this happen though? How does it come that male counterparts will normally be given the higher salaries? It could be said that male professionals negotiate higher starting pay than female peers.
"It has been proposed that one potential contributor to the earnings gap may be differences in negotiating propensity between men and women," [Determinants and Consequences of Salary Negotiations by Graduating Male and Female MBAs, Page 8]
Expectations Of Wanting A Family
Another one of those big stereotypes, being that women should be wanting children. This is an ideology that has not changed. And although it's actually starting to dry out with more women opting for career over children and men opting for children over career, women are still expected to continue to play that family role where it is expected more time will be dedicated to their children, not the job. Again, judging their choice to have a family over their workplace performance and ability.
Part time work is also a huge factor here, and whilst working part time you are sure to earn half the salary they are still incredibly devalued, incredibly underpaid and interrupts their career progression.
In a report from fawcettsociety.org they say, "As a result more women work part time, and these jobs are typically lower paid with fewer progression opportunities. The pay gap opens up significantly once women hit their forties. Often as they return from a break to raise children, women find that their male contemporaries are being promoted ahead of them."
Is it fair to say their a no gender pay gap, but actually a motherhood gap?
What do you think can be done to remove the gap from our society that women have been fighting to remove for a very long time? Will we ever get equality and stop this battle of the sexes?