Tag Archives: workplace

What it Would Mean for America to Elect its First Female President

27 Mar

From the initial inception of society, the exclusion of women from institutional politics was an extension of their exclusion from the public space. Traditionally, women, even those who worked outside of the household, took care of the family, the domestic space and were in charge of “reproduction”, while men had the most important roles in society, especially those related to politics, religion and war. With time, however, this sexual division of labor became less marked, thanks to the mobilization of women themselves.

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Ever more present since her private meeting with President Obama on Monday, is the mounting speculation over whether Hillary Clinton will soon announce a presidential run. And of course there is discussion on whether a woman is equipped to run the country.

To begin, I would like to reiterate to my readers that Feminism is a practice, NOT a single person or outcome. Despite the views of some of my peers, feminists are not “women who want to become men.” Conversely, feminism is a scope, a lens if you will, for looking at the world, and aims for attaining even ground and destruction of any influencers that may exist which perpetuate unfair advantages favoring men over women. Feminism does NOT define women as victims. Feminism recognizes that men are biologically built for some duties better than women and vice versa. There is not contesting that. But what feminism yearns for is an equal consideration between women and men where gender should not be a bias. This applies to jobs and things as simple as purchasing a new car.

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For me, I think a female president would be able to finally mediate the tired, drawn-out arguments over birth control and abortion access. And while I don’t think anyone, man or woman should have the power to exercise an absolute decision over what a woman can and cannot do with her own body, a female president would be more empathetic than a man to rape culture and therefore better motivated to address and educate society’s acknowledgment to obvious and unobvious (normalized) forms of sexual violence.

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The good news is that most Americans find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey on women and leadership,

So why, then, are women in short supply at the top of government and business in the United States? According to the public, at least, it’s not that they lack toughness, management chops or proper skill sets.

It’s also not all about work-life balance. Instead, topping the list of reasons, about four-in-ten Americans point to a double standard for women seeking to climb to the highest levels of either politics or business, where they have to do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves. Similar shares say the electorate and corporate America are just not ready to put more women in top leadership positions.

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As a result, the public is divided about whether, even in the face of the major advances women have made in the workplace, the imbalance in corporate America will change in the foreseeable future. About half (53%) believe men will continue to hold more top executive positions in business in the future; 44% say it is only a matter of time before as many women are in top executive positions as men. Americans are less doubtful when it comes to politics: 73% expect to see a female president in their lifetime.

If Hillary was to win the 2016 election, I think it would be a catalyst in kick starting a new movement where women would feel more confident and empowered to succeed and inspired to become more politically active. Women have come so far, it would be very liberating, at least for me, to elect a female president. It is one of the last frontiers we have yet to claim.

Quick Facts:

Women are far more likely than men to see gender discrimination in today’s societyAbout two-thirds (65%) of women say their gender faces at least some discrimination in society today, compared with 48% of men who believe women face some discrimination. A double-digit gender gap on perceptions of gender discrimination is evident across all generations as well as across partisan groups.

Women and men are seen as equally good business leaders, but gender stereotypes persist. Most Americans (54%) say men would do a better job running a professional sports team, while just 8% say women would be better at this. And a 46% plurality also give men the edge when it comes to running a large oil or gas company. But the public is two and a half times more likely to say a woman, rather than a man, would do a better job running a major hospital or a major retail chain.

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Please share your thoughts; I love reading the different perspectives of my readers.

Top Cities Where Women Earn the Most Money

6 Feb

In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama made a plea for higher women’s wages.

“You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns,” he said. “That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

So is there a place in the U.S. where women make the same as men? Are there cities where women’s wages are higher than others? For answers, Forbes turned to financial literacy site NerdWallet, which has sorted through  figures from the 2012 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census (the latest data available). The annual dataset tracks the median earnings of men and women working full-time, year-round in more than 500 major metropolitan areas across the U.S. NerdWallet has crunched the numbers and helped us figure out which metro areas pay the most in raw numbers and as a percentage of men’s salaries.

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

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Women’s median salary: $56,000
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 74%

2. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria

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Women’s median salary: $55,500
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 80%

3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont

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Women’s median salary: $54,600
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 84%

4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk

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Women’s median salary: $52,500
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 72%

5. Trenton-Ewing, NJ

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Women’s median salary: $50,400
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 81%

6. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy

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Women’s median salary: $50,100
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 79%

7. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford

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Women’s median salary: $48,500
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 78%

8. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island

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Women’s median salary: $47,600
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 84%

9. Boulder, CO

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Women’s median salary: $46,800
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 72%

10. Baltimore-Towson, MD

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Women’s median salary: $46,800
Women’s income as a percentage of men’s: 79%

At the top of the list: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, where women earn a median income of $56,000. That’s nearly triple the salary in the worst-paying city for women, Laredo, TX, where they make just $24,700

There are several explanations, as explored in a smart post last week by the non-partisan site Politifact, which parsed President Obama’s 77% remark in the State of the Union: Difference in jobs held, difference in college degrees earned and time off for parenting.

Although all of this is in flux, women tend to go into lower-paying fields like receptionists, nurses and teachers while men gravitate to jobs like truck drivers, managers and software engineers. That said, Politifact also notes that it can be most meaningful to look at the gender pay gap in specific professions. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research calculated pay parity for the top 20 occupations for women and found gaps of varying sizes in every profession but one (bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks). Women nurses make 96 cents for every dollar men earn. But female financial advisers make only 66 cents.

One more piece of information to chew on: Last year there was a survey conducted by tech jobs site Dice that measured men’s and women’s pay in the technology sector. When it controlled for education and experience, Dice found there was also no evidence of a gender pay gap, when it controlled for education and experience. But Dice did find that women don’t take on the same jobs as men, and that overall, their education and experience levels are lower.

With all of that said, there is still a bottom line: Women earn more in some parts of the country than in others. To a large extent our list of the 10 top-paying cities for women reflects the cost of living in those spots.  Seven of the cities are in the Northeast and two are in the pricey Bay Area. The place where women earn closest to what men earn: San Francisco. Women’s salaries there are 84% of men’s.

Chinese Women ‘Name and Shame’ Companies They Say Discriminate

30 Dec
An activist in Yunnan Province prepares to mail letters to her local government complaining of illegal gender discrimination by Chinese companies.

An activist in Yunnan Province prepares to mail letters to her local government complaining of illegal gender discrimination by Chinese companies.

Eight young Chinese women, most of them university students facing a tight job market, have “named and shamed” dozens of Chinese companies they say are illegally specifying that only men can apply for certain positions. They have mailed their complaints to government human resource departments in the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou and Nanjing, and in Yunnan and Henan Provinces.

Job advertisements in China have long listed a range of desired qualities in applicants, sometimes including height and weight. And the women say that they are aware that some job advertisements request women, especially in the service and handicrafts sectors. But they note that such jobs tend to pay less than the managerial positions that may specify male applicants.

The women, who call themselves “volunteers” and aim to highlight gender discrimination in China, provided photographs of themselves with dozens of letters of complaint they say they mailed to local government offices on Dec. 26. Most of the companies they list are privately owned and employ at least 500 people.

Contacted by telephone, two of the companies in Yunnan said they would drop the request for male applicants from their job advertisements.

Kunming Union Technology Company, the only state-owned enterprise on the women’s list, had advertised several positions for male engineers to maintain credit and debit card machines.

“This is a job that requires frequent travel and outdoor legwork. You need go to all those shops to install or fix the machines. Women are not quite fit for that,” said a woman who answered the telephone in the company’s human resources department. “But if there are female candidates we would still considering hiring them.”

So why say that only men need apply? “If women apply, we are open to them,” she said. “We support free choice.”

Kunming Daqiang Precious Metals Trading Company advertised for a male general manager with financial experience.

“If woman applies, we’d consider her also,” said a woman answering the telephone.

So why specify a man?

“What does it matter?” she asked. “I just love you journalists. They can apply. I’ll change the requirement right away.”

Faced with so many job ads that appear to shut them out, some female university students reason: “If that’s the case, then it’s more important to marry well than to study well,” said one “volunteer” in an emailed statement. She declined to give her real name out of concern for political repercussions over their action.

“We college students are facing serious employment problems, so we hope our action will breathe life into the laws and regulations that ensure equality of opportunity in employment,” she wrote.

Figures from the central government’s All-China Women’s Federation show that women’s average incomes have fallen relative to men’s since China embarked on market-oriented economic changes in the late-1970s.

Most shocking for the “volunteers,” they said, was the discovery that 80 percent of jobs that specified male applicants did not require physical labor. While many Chinese are aware of the gendered job ads, most believe they are aimed at ensuring that jobs that require physical strength, such as security guard, are filled by men.