Is There Gender Equality In Business?

04 September of 2014

Women have made huge progress in the workplace, but still get lower pay and far fewer top jobs than men. Do you agree?

The Women’s Land Army

Looking back to the Second World War, women were expected to pitch in and take on the jobs that the men who had gone to war had left behind. Previous women were very much categorised into a ‘housewife’ who did certain jobs such as midwifery, nursing, shop assistant or a domestic servant.

Many women took on jobs that were previously thought of unsuitable for women such as being; mechanics, engineers, tank drivers, plumbers, factory workers, ship builders etc. Was this the turning point for women in the workforce? Many people say yes, because women had to take on these roles and they did them very well. Proving many people wrong who thought that women couldn’t do the same jobs as men.

The 21st century has seen a dramatic shift in “traditional” family dynamics and greater recognition of gender in legislation has helped pull apart gender-role divisions. Income inequality has risen faster in the UK than any other OCED country and today women earn on average £140,000 less than men over their working careers.

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EU – The Comparison

On average, 1 in 3 senior management roles in the EU is held by a woman – that’s pretty impressive. An unlikely winner, Latvia tops the women power list though, with 45% of employees in the highest jobs being female. Just ahead of the EU average, 34.8% of senior managers in the UK are women – while at the bottom of the list, are Luxembourg and Cyprus.

The UK – Are We More Accepting?

In 2013 more than 140 major UK employers pledged to improve gender equality in the workplace by signing up to the government’s Think, Act, Report (TAR) campaign, Women and Equalities Minister, Maria Miller announced last year.

The voluntary scheme focuses on creating a cultural shift and encourages businesses to think about gender equality, take action to promote equal opportunities in their workplaces and report on what they are doing.

But on the flipside, for women making their own way through the corporate world working for others, there are still certain challenges, despite much improvement. They are frequently pushed away from male-dominated industries and career opportunities that would give them better access to promotion and salary. However when you look at statistics from employee performance management software systems it shows that actually more often than not that female manager s are getting better peer reviews than males – this may show that many people prefer female managers as they are more approachable and harder working.

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Women in Power

Here are some of the most powerful women in the world today;

  • Firstly Angela Merkel, a German born politician and a former research scientist, who has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and the leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, Angela has really broken down some barriers for women in politics, not only this but she is Europe’s longest-serving elected female head of government.
  • Dilma Rousseff who started off as a civil servant has now become the first woman president of Brazil; the world’s sixth-largest economy in 2011. In her early years she was imprisoned only joined the government in 2003 and has jumped leaps and bounds forward in a short space of time.
  • Hillary Clinton, this popular household name in the US is because Hillary is a former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States – yes all three! From 2009 to 2013, she was the 67th Secretary of State, serving under President Barack Obama. Trained as a lawyer she certainly knows how to fight her corner.
  • Janet Yellen is an American economist. She is the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Not only this but she also advised Bill Clinton for two years during his presidency, she also lectured at the London School of Economics.
  • Gina Rinehart – worth $17bn fortune appreciates by about $1bn every year, which makes her Australia’s richest person and one of the wealthiest women in the world.
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