Yet women with similar or comparable education and experience or achievement still earn less than men in work organizations. A missing link or the absent ingredient, between performance and a just payoff, was identified as women's own ability to comfortably and consistently draw the attention they deserve to the contributions they made or gave. Findings of a study conducted on 322 male and female executives showed that women were less comfortable in promoting themselves than men. Many of them still believed that self-promotion by women was still unacceptable and that hard work alone would not put them in the same level as men. Women were also found to be "over-preparers" who wanted their work to be technically correct but who did not bring this sense of accuracy and care to the attention or notice of influential individuals in the organization. Goodson found that even women who understood the importance of visibility management in the modern workplace were often reluctant in translating their knowledge and skills into effective presentational behaviors. Goodson acknowledged competence of these women but they had to learn to help themselves become more than men's clones. They had to shine on their own and more brightly in today's competitive work settings. Goodson put the blame on these career women themselves for their failure to effectively support one another. He observed that women who reached the top also failed to reach out to those trailing them (USA Today).
About half of the workforce in the U.S. consisted of women and about half of them were in the managerial and professional specialty positions (Solomon 2000). More than half of those with college, masters and doctorate degrees and almost half of law school students and medical school graduates were women. Almost 12% of corporate officers were also women whose number went up at 37% from 1995 levels and continued to rise. Yet statistics showed that only 3.3% of them held top-earner spots despite a 175% increase; only 6.8% of them held line jobs with profit-and-loss or direct client responsibility, only 8.5% occupied board seats among Fortune's top 1000 corporations while its top 500 companies with at least one woman board director increased by 21% Companies, which wanted to retain top-performing women should insure their individual compensation and access to promotion, must undertake certain steps in that direction. These included increasing flexible work arrangements, such as part-time and alternative schedules and workplaces; increasing their chance to customize the pace of their career advancement; insuring their representation in certain functions, like sales; identifying those among them with entrepreneurial abilities and interests, which predicted business success; recognizing their expressed bottom-line contributions; examining their representation in line functions; and recruiting female entrepreneurs to corporate boards and senior line positions (Solomon).
The prospects of career advancement among talented women were found to be thwarted and difficult on account of their gender. Despite the opportunity and demand for great talent everywhere, organizational conditions, which would encourage the mobility of talented women, as well as men, who wished to perform their best, and keep them in the organization, did not seem to abound (Solomon 2000).
Summary and Conclusion
In the face of the clearly delineated gender roles between men and women and society, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed by the 88th U.S. Congress to insure that gender would not be a basis for not hiring or firing, limiting, classifying, segregating and other performing other gender-conditioned acts against women. It was seemingly to prepare the way of the ingress of women professional into the workforce, especially the entrance and ascent of professional and other talented women in managerial and corporate positions. Today, statistics show that these women comprise almost half of the entire American workforce, half of managerial and specialty positions and half of law students and medical graduates are women. Yet few women hold line jobs and top-earning posts, receive comparative wages as men's, and occupy board seats (Auster 2001, Solomon 2000).
Research showed that professional women's career salience depended on the characteristics of their relationship with men, while that of men was independent of the characteristics of their relationship with women (Moya 2000). This trend reflected that professional women's value was still linked with their stereotyped role as men's subdued partners or supporters.
These professional women's wages in typically male-dominated organizations in power structure were lower than those of men (Hultin 2000). This trend in the wage setting process enhances and points to gender discrimination, one of the grounds why professional women leave their jobs even in the middle of their career.
Women who try to climb the corporate ladder typically confront gender segregation practices, views and attitudes, which influence or determine their perception of justice in the workplace (Lemons 2003). Gender desegregation would be needed to check or resolve these women's perception of injustice.
Majority of these women in their mid-career leave their jobs mainly because of dissatisfaction with job growth and advancement, a lack of flexibility, bias and discrimination and overall discomfort in their work environment (Auster 2001). Many of them either move to other companies or start their own enterprise.
A study discovered that these women achievers themselves seemed responsible for their lagging behind in the corporate ladder in that they tended to be less comfortable with promoting their achievements and contributions than men (USA Today 2000). It was found that these women often hesitated to translate their knowledge into effective behaviors and thus impeded their own ascent to higher posts and claim higher wages.
High-powered women leave their jobs because of the need for more flexibility, because of this "glass ceiling," which discriminated against them, an unhappy or unsatisfactory work environment or the lack of challenge or a combination (Solomon 2000).
But companies want to retain these women and they need to take a number of serious steps to do this. They should insure fair compensation and access to promotion for these women (Solomon 2000). These steps would include providing or increasing flexible work arrangements, such as part-time and alternative schedules and work places, for the women. Their career advancement pace should increase. Their representation in specific functions, such as sales, should be insured and their entrepreneurial abilities and interests should be identified and encouraged as predictive of business success for the organization or company. These companies must also recognize these women's contributions to organizational goals and success. They should be appointed to line functions, top-earning positions and to board seats (Solomon).
There is no stopping the current and continuous trend of professional women's entry into the workplace and up the corporate ladder. Gender stereotypes die hard and now clash with the need of the times to modify them. With half of the total workforce in the hands of women and women achievers, companies must resort to gender desegregation and realize the objectives of the Civil Right Acts of 1964, which have yet to be implemented in earnest. And the women, as well as men, who unconsciously perpetuate gender stereotypes themselves at work as they do outside of the workplace, should come to terms with the issue and make a decision.
1. Auster, Ellen R. professional Women's Mid-career Satisfaction. Sex Roles: a Journal of Research, June 2001
2. Hultin, Mia. Wages and Unequal Access to Organizational Power: an Empirical Test of Gender Discrimination. Administrative Science Quarterly: Connell University Johnson Graduate School
3. Lemons. Mary A. Contextual and Cognitive Determinants of Procedural Justice: Perceptions in Promotion Barriers for Women. Sex Roles: a Journal of Research: Plenum Publishing Corporation
4. Moya, Miguel. Close Relationships, Gender and Career Salience. Sex Roles: a Journal of Reserch: Plenum Publishing Corporation, May 2000