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At the same time, occupational segregation still exists in management positions. Part of the problem is that men are able to devote much more time to their career advancement vs. women who have to also consider raising a family and bulk of the responsibilities of that family. At the same time, however there are now many more women who have created role reversal than ever before, becoming the breadwinners within their nuclear family. The glass ceiling primarily exists because there is still exclusivity in the hiring process. Since the job of management hiring is typically sourced to executive search companies, many times such search teams do not include women because of the extra concerns associated with them. As a result, the only method by which many women in management have taken is to remain loyal within their corporate environment until they can climb the corporate ladder. This strategy grants women significantly less flexibility than men, and the same time they are not given nearly as much credit for audacious career decisions as men. The implication of the glass ceiling is that it motivates women to pursue lesser positions and to settle within their occupation instead of attempting to achieve management status within their industry. Because they perceive that there is a strong incentive to stop trying them in effect become less motivated to pursue a strong career driven path rather than gather responsibility for their family. The steps necessary to eliminate this problem involve improving overall women's qualifications and thereby helping them break through the glass ceiling. This implies having more programs that sponsor education and training for women and to create strong career building strategies to help women who are caught within this dilemma. The glass ceiling is not what it was in only a decade ago, but it is still a demotivating force in promoting greater gender equality in the workplace.
The lack of women in entrepreneurship has become a serious concern within the context of women in the workplace. Part of the reason there exists a glass ceiling is that women rarely have the ability to start their own business and execute their entrepreneurial dreams. Of new businesses started in 2001 only 15% were founded by women. Part of the reason for this enormous discrepancy is that the institutionalization of entrepreneurship gives the upper hand to men. Bank lenders and investors in general are not restricted by the same gender equality acts mandated by the government, because they are able to make judgments on financial opportunities solely based upon their discretion, heavy amounts of sexism still pervade. One of the key factors is that investors for the most part are men, because they occupy the niche role of wealth from the past two decades. Since men control the flow of start-up capital, little opportunity has been afforded women to do perform start-ups. Thus, for companies that have become blockbuster successes, women have an extremely hard time breaking into management. At the heart of the problem is that they are not being provided the opportunities towards entrepreneurship. Without promoting entrepreneurship among women, we perpetuate the cycle of gender inequality. In order to stop this problem, both the government and the private sector needs to entrench themselves in helping fund greater entrepreneurship. The government has already started this initiative by providing start-up funding through government loans for women entrepreneurs but only 85% of all early stage investment still comes the private sector. Until we convince these key investors that there is a need to foster gender equality, little can be done to balance this situation.
The current situation of women in the workplace is a much different landscape than the one that we saw at the turn of the century. Greater governmental protection as well as private sector notice into the problem of gender inequality has caused great change. Women have never had so many choices in considering how to pursue their career as well as maintain the many other aspects that interest them. However, problems still persist within the arena of gender equality. The danger of these problems is that they are no longer white and black; much of the problems that remain for women in the workplace take place within the grey. Four main problems stand out as the next frontier issues that will move women beyond their current tenuous position within the workplace. First, a solution to the maternity leave problem, which has caused both corporations and women everywhere headache over the implications of having to, chose between family and career. Second, the difficulty of distinguishing between sexual harassment and misunderstanding and to find a way to combat the still predatory environment for women. Third, to discover a methodology to break through the managerial glass ceiling so that women have an opportunity to continue their upward mobility in the workplace. Finally, a solution must be found to how to promote greater innovation and champion entrepreneurship so that the next generation of industry leaders will be headed by just as many women founders as men. Confronting these problems will be not easy especially because of the persistence of male dominated cultural hierarchy. However, as the last fifty years have proven, change is eminent and they have already sunk its cultural and economic roots into our nation.
RACE, GENDER AND WORK:…[continue]
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