Saturday, 23 September 2017

Global Challenges for Women in Work

The sexist, racist, and classist social attitudes that exist across the globe are in need of attention as globalization is on the rise. Stereotypically masculine traits have prevailed in a patriarchal economy for generations. Meanwhile, jobs that are feminine by nature are undervalued-including housework and motherhood. History is repeating itself. This is not to say that we, as a nation have not progressed immensely. Sixty-one percent of U.S. women today, sixteen years and above are either employed or seeking employment (Bravo 177). But this is not the problem. Sexism, racism, and classism still exist. Workplace discrimination still occurs. But by spreading awareness and continuously deconstructing the norms that dominate across the world, a more equitably diverse work environment will emerge.

In September of 2015, one of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals was to achieve gender equality, while empowering girls and women. International Women’s Day was just recently celebrated on March eighth-themed “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” (“Promote”). International Women’s Day is a time to recognize the earlier accomplishments of women and inspire the progression of women’s achievement in the future. Women represent a majority of the impoverished population. These women either do not work at all or work for very low wages. And the women that do receive higher paychecks and hold higher positions in the workplace are typically upper-middle class, well-educated, feminine presenting white women. Many women from underdeveloped countries travel to the United States in search of low wage employment (Bravo 178). Because resources are not typically available to those women who do not fit the modern image of the “working woman,” immigrant women are bound to face discrimination.

Both American and international cultures hold women to the standard of being conventionally attractive yet embody employable traits that are masculine by nature. Some of these traits include intelligence, independence, confidence, aggression, and leadership. Rather than embracing the possibility of androgynous traits within all people, women want to become “more masculine.” More women, especially in American and Asian cultures, are resisting the institution of marriage as to embody the entire essence of independence and self-sufficiency. This becomes problematic because as a globalized, international society, we are still holding “man” as the standard of success. Women are trapped in a bind between dedicating herself to domestic life or advancement in her career. But why can’t she do both? With policies such as paternity leave in the works, one day she might.

But for now, employers are more likely to invest in training male employees due to a preconceived notion of security and dedication in their positions (Seguino 1085). Women are presumably unreliable hires due to the chance of absence in otherwise fulfilling domestic responsibilities. Women are not valued as mothers and caretakers, but rather seen as deceptive, dependent, and indecisive. These qualities are generally associated with women, which results in workplace discrimination when women are seen as unfit to fulfill higher paying jobs. Rather, women are encouraged to seek employment in education, as a secretary, or in nursing-where they have the ability to care for others or the flexibility to care for their children at the same time.

Technological advances are a big part of what makes globalization of business possible. The demand for employees educated in STEM majors is increasing, yet those who fill these positions are majority male. When women do not see other women in positions that are perceivably masculine, it is often not seen as a possibility for them. By encouraging more women to educate themselves in STEM fields as well as other progressive fields, women will have a greater chance of impacting and influencing the development of the increasingly globalized world.

By bringing together women from all over the world to create an environment of empowerment and equal opportunity, 2030 just might be a different world for women. Given the right chance, women can positively influence the global economy and diminish the abundance of sexism. Women all over the world should be encouraged to receive a higher education, become more politically involved, and obtain decision-making level positions at work so that women can become world leaders of the future. By challenging what is means to participate in typical gender roles, and incorporating a more androgynous culture into society, the overall well-being of our people will flourish (Floro 2). Eliminating patriarchy means eliminating a system where only one type of human being privileges. Globalization has the power to help people who were historically oppressed to finally see their full potential.

Bravo, Ellen, Gloria Santa Anna, and Linda Meric. “An Overview of Women and Work.” Women: Images and Reality a Multicultural Anthology. 5th ed. Ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2012. 177-182. Print.

Floro, Maria Sagrario, and John Willoughby. “Feminist Economics and the Analysis of the Global Economy: The Challenge that Awaits Us.” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 40.2 (2016): 1-14. ProQuest. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

“Promote Sustainable Development.” United Nations. United Nations, 2016. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

Seguino, Stephanie and Caren Grown. “Gender Equity and Globalization: Macroeconomic Policy for Developing Countries.” Journal of International Development 18.8 (2006): 1081-1104. EBSCOhost. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.



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