Barriers Against Women in the Workplace

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 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?

Cody Stallard is a Community Manager at The Wholesale Forums.
  • G
    grumpy grumpy
  • September 2nd, 2017
I have never heard so much dribble in my life...

So now we have to legislate and force people to employ women because of their gender.
I love your use of the word sexism many use that word when their beliefs are contrary to the speakers.

Pull your head out of the sand, if any woman wants equality in pay, or rights she can stand in line like the rest of the men in the world that aren't CEO's or managers and prove their worth.

One thing that all you save the poor woman never factor, forget the last 200 years of history if we have to dredge up the past. How about we go further back when the "traditional role" was exactly that Hunter Gatherer.

I wouldn't employ a woman because I HAD TOO but rather because I wanted too, due to what she could put on the table.

One of the smartest things I have heard a woman say in the last decade was when she was approached and asked about women being equal to men. Her reply was brilliant, is that all you aspire too.

Can a woman not be greater and more successful that a man? I certainly don't want to be equal to a woman I am very happy being quite different to the opposite sex.

Woman do not need to be equal to men, I certainly hope that never happens.
Women need to be women with their right fully earned place in society which many have already achieved.

A woman invented a syringe whowwwww, dam, and the right brothers they invented a long piece of string, shall we go tit for tat? How stupid to compare... Einsteins wife is credited with participating in E=Mc2 and was a GREAT Mathematician in her own right, anddddd ???? does this mean that women get a free pass to mathematics??? They like everyone else earn the right to their chosen field by exhibiting qualities that are superior to someone else.

Stereotype you say "woman should want children" well I can tell you this I certainly hope they do cause I sure as hell can't give birth to them.

Mate I look at your photo and am sick to the stomach of people like you. Your just another stereo type that has to jump to a woman's defence. Do you still out of courtesy open a door for a woman or do you tell her screw you babe, you can equally open a door the same as I can.

Ohhhh Im pregnant I have to be paid while I sit at home, dam I work part time, ohhh booo hooo I need to be paid more and we have to legislate for that to happen. I want to be a brain surgeon someone please legislate so I can have that too. What about acknowledging the stay at home dads?

Would you see, Mr Hawkins position be set aside because he is a man, it would be sad to think he was given his position because he is crippled, the brilliant Mr Hawkins earned his position.

My God man the Queen of England one of the most successful business women in modern history. She is successful not because shes a woman but because she is SMART...

Woman are already successful, I'm married to one who has clawed her way in life like many others, and she doesn't need someone to hold the door open for her. She is capable and more capable that I am as a man in many ways. She earned my respect the day I met her.
She as a woman is also sick to death of ass kissers like you as well, she avoids people like you at work and in the street.

You really piss me off, what about all the men (and women) that are equally paid $7.50 an hour in the United States in the name of Capitalism.

How about women like my mother that earned 3 times what my father did during her working life, BECAUSE SHE WORKED HARD.... and she was capable as well, she didn't need legislation or ass kissers to hold her hand.

You degrade every hard working, successful woman I have every known, that has made her way in life.... my my my what would the world be if we didnt have more people like you...

Get a real job... and stop talking rubbish.. I don't want a dumb woman or a dumb man driving me around town ty very much...

Battle of the sexes what an idiot you are....
    • J
      Julie Collishaw
    • September 8th, 2017
    I would reply to this but the many spelling and grammar mistakes just make it tedious- maybe he should get his 'secretary' to edit it for him
  • H
    Hattie Clark
  • September 8th, 2017
I think the name 'grumpy grumpy' says it all...
Great information!

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