Essay Topic: Effective talent management is important for developing and retaining high potential employees, regardless of gender. A study by the global consulting firm, Mercer, indicates that traditional programs aimed at developing female talent through flexibility, such as adjustable work hours and leave programs, may actually slow the advancement of women in the future and lead to complacency within organizations on the issue of gender equity. Given these challenges, how can companies improve current programs or develop new programs in order to promote flexibility without jeopardizing the career development of women?
This essay 2,500 word count
Womanhood is a period of a lifetime in females after she passed through childhood, adolescences and adulthood. Over the years, women have managed to be mothers, wives, teachers, professors, and caregivers to face new challenges in the worldwide workforce today. Demographics of the worldwide workforce showed that women's participation has increased such shifts are affecting worker needs. But organizations have not adapted to the expanding caretaking responsibilities and work-life balance needs of their employees, and the current workplace paradigm is placing growing stress on individuals and families. A recent Women in International Security study found that many women who have served or are currently serving in mid- and senior-level positions in the national security arena question whether it is possible to successfully juggle caretaking responsibilities and senior-level decision-making positions in government (Shoemaker, Brown, Barbour 2011). Currently, women are still facing gender discrimination. In everyday language, "gender" and "sex" are used inter-changeably, but the two terms have different meanings. Social scientists use the term "sex" to refer to a person's biological or anatomical identity as male or female, while reserving the term "gender" for the collection of characteristics that are culturally associated with maleness or femaleness. Discrimination is generally illegal regardless of whether it is based on sex, or gender, or both sex and gender. Though women have acquired the legal right to work, there is still plenty of sexism in the workforce. On average, women get paid .75 cents to a dollar less that men make for doing the same type of work. Women are also encouraged to take up the stereotypical jobs such as secretarial, clerical, nursing, childcare, social work, elementary teaching and so forth. Many statistics also show that women are staying away from the math and science. The business world also lacks strong female figures; while there are plenty of secretaries and assistants working for major corporations, the number of female CEOs and women in power are few. These statistics demonstrate the unfortunate condition facing the women who do fight to work outside the home. According to the "Play like a Man, Win like a Woman: What Men Know about Success That Women Need to Learn", Fortune magazine recently ran a cover story on the 50 most powerful women in America. These women occupied---group presidents, vice presidents, founders of their own businesses. All the men would have CEO of large companies (Evans, 2000).The bottom line is that most women are at disadvantage. And what about men? Do they even care what women think? According to men, men believe that women should give up their careers and focus on their marriages and families while men do all the work to support their wives and children. For example, in the book, "Play like a Man, Win like a Woman: What Men Know about Success That Women Need to Learn", the preface talked about how the author gave up her career to focus on her marriage. When Evans graduated college and began working on her career, she took her mom's advice and gave up her career for her own marriage. The book says, "The manager of a chain of millinery (women's hats) stores in the stores in the 1920's, my mother gave up her career for marriage. But she never surrendered her drive or her belief in herself. Throughout my life, she gave me two sets of instructions: I must be a good and proper woman and I could be anyone I wished. I took that advice to heart. After leaving college in 1963, I began a successful career in politics, working on Capitol Hill and at the White House. But when I married, like my mother and most women of the time, I abandoned my career for my husbands." (Evans p.19). In reality, not all husbands are going to support their wives working. If the husband is not supportive of having the wife in the work field, it does not signify that she should give up. There are husbands who want their wives to only be housewives, to only care about the well-being of the family. Most of these men are concerned about how society would view them if they allowed their wives to work. They don't want to give the impression that they need the extra financial help that they are in such a dire economic state that the wife must forsake her kids to go out and work. While stay-at-home dads are increasing in number, they are still viewed as "deadbeat dads" rather than noble husbands. But society should not criticize those men who choose to stay at home while the wife works. Instead they should be praised more, since a women's job is never ending. All men need to stay at home, jobless, for at least a month to realize just how much work is put into the household without any form of compensation. (B.Kuz, 2008). Both sexes are thinking about expanding the traditional boundaries whether at work or at home. For instance, some men are now staying home to raise children. The way we nurture our children in our culture is a female-determined system. (Evans, 2000). Men believe they can handle being the main caregiver of the household than women taking care of the household. Since the 1970s, about 550,000 men would take on households like cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and taking care of their children to avoid child care payments and focus on their marriage. According to Child Care Aware of America's 2013 report, the average annual cost of center-based care for a small child in the U.S. runs as high as $16,000. For two children the annual expense can average as much as $28,600. These numbers can be much higher in metropolitan areas, rivaling the cost of sending a kid to college. (Time, 2014).In the book, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, it points out that, "women's average annual earnings decrease by 20 percent if they are out of the workforce for just one year...30 percent after two to three years, which is the average amount of time professional women off-ramp from the workforce."
In the Old Testament, when God created Adam. Adam was lonely and looking for love. So God took Adam's ribs and created Eve as Adam's wife. If you read in Genesis, it says, "The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." ....he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with the flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." (New International Version, Genesis 2:18, 21-22). Eve was the first woman God created. In the early 1700's, women's work was essential to the colonial economy. Enslaved African women helped raise cash crops such as tobacco and indigo while most white women worked as farm wives performed tasks and made products their families needed like butter, soap, candles, spun fibers, wove cloth, sewed and knitted clothes, did many other chores in the house. Although women contributed to the colonial economy, they did not have many rights. Women could not vote. In most churches, they could not preach or hold office. Also, a married woman could not own property without her husband's permission. By law, even the money a woman earned belonged to her husband. Wealthy families went beyond reading and learning to writing and arithmetic. Poor children learned reading from their mothers. As for fathers and husbands, they became apprentice. An apprentice is a learned a trade from an experienced craftsman. (Garcia, Ogle, Risinger, Stevos p.120-121).In the mid-1800, the women's rights movement was ridiculed. Women still could not vote; however, single women enjoyed managing their own property but married women couldn't inherited their own property except for their husbands. (Garcia, Ogle, Risinger, Stevos p.427-428). There were two political cartoons mocking women's rights to vote. In 1855, the New York Herald, shows a political cartoon of a husband and wife fighting over pants. Another political cartoon, in 1896, showed women running into a store called, "Place of Registration" on the left side of the window it said, "A souvenir spoon given away latest styles in fall bonnets" and on the right side of the window it said, "Step in and register and see our newest dress patterns." In 1912, women had enough and decided get their rights to vote by getting women involved with politics. On May 6, 1917, millions of women began marching the Women's suffragists' parade in New York City carrying placards and signs giving the government a chance for women's rights. Victory was made when the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920 for women's right to vote. During World War I and II, while men were at war, women went to work in factories, shipyards, and offices. At first, heavy industries resisted hiring female workers including African Americans, but by 1944 some 3.5 million stood on assembly lines turning out cargo ships and bombers. Roosevelt outlawed discrimination in industries with federal contracts. (Garcia, Ogle, Risinger, Stevos p.576).
It has been almost 100 years since women got their right to vote. After the 19th Amendment made it legal for women's right to vote, women in the 21st century were still facing the reality of job discrimination. When a woman chooses a career, she also considers the effects it would have on her family life. While the "wife's presence in the labor force means higher income," the jobs women do take illustrate their concern for making time for the family (Duker). This doesn't encourage them to go after high-paying, high-demand jobs. Most women take on a typical 9-5 office workday so that they can be home to cook dinner, do the laundry and oversee the children's homework; they come home to a second shift. But household work is not compensated. Mama's apple pies do not have any value. At first, the thought of a woman leaving her family to go and find a job elsewhere was unfathomable. But the fight for women's rights was not to be deterred; it was just as much about economics as it was about making a stand. "In a sample of Irish Roman-Catholic families with at least one child of elementary-school age, we have shown that both in the working class and in the middle class the working wife exerts more influence in family decision-making than the non-working wife" (Heer). Because they had a source of income, women began to fight for the chance to have a say about how the money was used in the home. This paved the way for the notion of equality within the home. But a job hinted at financial independence and many men felt threatened by the idea. Therefore, HR and talent management professionals can help place recruitment, development and retention of women in senior leadership roles without jeopardizing their workplace by accessing your organization's actual and perceived gaps in the recruitment, development and retention of women and report any discrepancies to senior leaders, offer work flexibility and sponsor businesses.
Today, four out of 10 women in the U.S. workforce are working mothers and are their households' primary breadwinners (Shoemaker, Brown, Barbour 2011) First off, Women are not only increasingly the primary breadwinners, they are also the world's largest group in terms of purchasing decisions; studies show that women comprise between 80 and 85 percent of the U.S. consumer market. Combine this with the knowledge that companies with higher percentages of female senior-level managers tend to outperform their competitors (Storrie). The point is not that one of these perspectives is better than the other but that, from early childhood on, boys and girls play with different sets of rules. Men created rules in the game of business. Women are trying to be effective competitors. (Evans, 2000). For example, there are 3 kids (2 guys and 1 girl) named Michael, Danny, and Melanie. Michael invited Danny over his house to play a video game called "Mortal Kombat". Melanie comes in her brother's room and asked, "Can I play?" Her brother, Michael said, "You can't play video games with us. You're a girl! Girls play with dolls, not video games." Danny gives Melanie his controller and begins to play. She played as "Kitana" and her brother played as "Sub Zero". After playing two rounds of Mortal Kombat, Kitana beats Sub Zero. This story demonstrates Women can be effective competitors and men are just testing women to see if they can handle business. Workplace policies and requirements are drastically out of step with the needs of women, men, and the modern workforce as a whole. Recent research shows that 90 percent of mothers and 95 percent of fathers report a work-family conflict. Although the experiences may differ according to class, all families are experiencing increased stress in this balancing act. In the low-income bracket, work-family stress is compounded by the reality that poor families are not equipped to pay for care for dependents, and these workers have little or no job flexibility(Shoemaker, Brown, Barbour 2011).Today, the government thinks that no matter what age, race, sex, religion, political affiliation, or disability you are anyone can get a job. In July 2014, President Obama signed an executive order protecting federal employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Today's business landscape, women is most likely to occupy a position of power when she started, or inherited, her own business. Gender discrimination has decreased, yet women, especially those with family responsibilities, continue to face obstacles to work-life balance, promotion, and advancement. Workplace flexibility and perceived advancement opportunities are key factors in women's decisions to leave the workforce. Secondly, women are less likely to get a promotion. Chances of promotion aren't much better even if women stick it out with one company. Women experience internal promotion rates that are 34 to 47 percent lower than for men. It also doesn't matter whether they're entry-level or at the top of their company: at every level, women are less likely to be promoted to the next rung by the following year (Covert, 2014). Also, women prefer to work part-time because husbands wants women to get minimum wage and have more quality time for mothers to take care of their children. But most women are likely to work full time to get more experience with their jobs to more gain leadership than men. In research, A New York Times/CBS News survey this year found that 49 percent of mothers wished to work part-time, compared to 27 percent who wished to work full-time. A Pew Research Center study found that married mothers are especially likely to prefer part-time work than Unmarried women. Women and men who are tempted to shift to a part-time schedule should first consider whether they could work a full-time schedule more flexible (Vanderkam, 2015).
In my opinion, Women are Gods beautiful creation, we were raised to feel comfortable inside our mother's womb for nine months and born to be independent .Without us women, we wouldn't be able to nurturer our children and men wouldn't learn how to take care of a child. As Sandberg points out in her book, "Girls growing up today are not the first generation to have equal opportunity, but they are the first to know that all that opportunity does not necessarily translate into professional achievement. (Sandberg p.36)".
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