As part of our mission, Eye2Eye is invested in fostering research in the field of gender equality and using what we gather to educate the public on the severity of the issue. While we are excited to share our major research project at our conference in the spring, our research analysts has been developing blog articles sharing what they've learned and their prespectives as students experiencing and witnessing the epidemic. We encourage you to read and share the articles below as take part in our efforts to spread the word on the issue.
Last March 8th, during International Women’s Day, a statue of a girl defiantly standing in front of the iconic bull statue in Wall street sparked conversation regarding the huge misrepresentation of women in certain fields like finance.
This statue was part of a campaign ignited by State Street, an asset management firm that manages around 11% of the world’s assets, that seeks to get more women in corporate boards. This action was followed up with a letter directed to all of the companies that comprised the Russell 3000 index, persuading them to take action and add women to their boards.
It is a fact that women are clearly underrepresented in this industry, a Morningstar study showed that “Less than 10% of all U.S. fund managers are women; women exclusively run about 2% of the industry’s assets and open-end funds. By contrast, men exclusively run about 74% of the industry’s assets and 78% of funds, with mixed-gender teams accounting for the balance.” This phenomenon is true not only in senior levels, but all across the industry. According to a Harvard Business Review research, in other specific areas in finance like private equity, venture capital, and real estate women make up only 17 percent to 23 percent of all employees.
In the 20th century after the suffragettes had met their goals, many women left the Feminist movement with the feeling that they had achieved equality. However, on the social front, women have yet to overcome the essentialist mentality that females are inherently less suited for professional careers than men. A recent survey conducted by Gallup evaluated whether people of both genders believed women should be part of the paid workforce. In North America, 71% of males and 76% of females concur that women should be part of the paid workforce and the majority further agrees that women should also be able to participate in domestic life. This study reveals how acknowledging the Motherhood Penalty is desired by both men and women. If we aim to address gender inequality in the workplace, it is vital that we cultivate a professional environment that doesn’t force women to compromise between career and family.
Imagine having the perfect resume for a competitive job opportunity. You have amazing credentials, the necessary skills, and fit the ideal description of the new hiree. Everything is in place and you feel confident about getting the job, except that someone else essentially has the same resume as you. The decision narrows down to you and him, and sure enough, he gets the job. Why? Because he is a man, and you are a woman.
Unfortunately, this is the sad reality of much of the workforce. According to a recent study, men are three times more likely to get the job than women when considered under the exact same circumstance. Researchers claim that this is often due to the “motherhood penalty”, a pre-notion that women will leave the workforce to become a stay at home mother.
In sports it is known that men’s sports make far more money than women’s sports. Since the beginning of time, players have fought to get better wages and better deals, but people have been putting women’s sports on the back burner for years. They think it won’t make money or have a fan base, but these sports have the same size fan base as men’s sports.
People consider women’s sports less lucrative, even though the WNBA is doing better than the NBA did at the same point in time. 20 years into the WNBA, there are 7,500 people in attendance at games, which is better than 20 years into the NBA. Women’s sports are a “viable business” yet it is not viewed as one. In tennis Roger Federer makes 700 thousand while Serena Williams makes 450 thousand. There is no valid reason why Williams makes about 68 cents on the dollar for playing the same game and having the same level of popularity.
Women need to stand up for equal and better pay. Billie Jean King commented on the pay gap and Ban deodorant offered equal pay. It took a long time for others to follow, but when women stand up to the advertisers and employers- they will get better pay. Players like Jazmine Reeves have “breakout years” in soccer or their respective sport, yet they can’t live off of their salary. Reeves could have had the opportunity to go to a national team camp, but instead she quit and took a job at Amazon. Women have better pay in tech, even though STEM fields have been male dominated since the beginning, than in women’s sports.
When speaking about gender inequality the narrative focuses on those faced by half the population: women. There is a tremendous disparity between women and men in the work force, from presence in the workplace to salary. Countless examples include women making 78 cents for every dollar men make in a comparable job. Even though women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. Girls at a very young age facing beauty standards that diminish their self esteem; at ages 14 to 16, 51% of girls are unhappy with their appearance, and even after that age, 52% are still unhappy. Rape culture facilitating the consistent perpetuation of victim shaming and providing a space to perceive rape, or nonconsensual sex, as an admissible thing. As shown in a survey conducted by Dr. Margo Maine, 30% of American college men admitted they would commit rape if they were sure they could get away with it. This figure jumped to 58% percent when the wording of the question was changed from “commit rape” to “force a woman to have sex.”
The idea that women are pure creatures who are meant to be protected, adored and supported may seem acceptable, but it puts women on a restrictive pedestal. Women are not supposed to be treated with “kiddie gloves” and shielded from the pains of life. This concept of benevolent sexism and putting women on a pedestal and protecting them, implies that women are weak and it pacifies women’s resistance to gender inequality. The idea that women need a man to care for them, to protect them and to help advance them keeps women in a place of inferiority. Women are placed on a pedestal to be adored by men, but really it just places women in a lesser role to men and encourages inequality.
While some societies are egalitarian, a patriarchy still exists. Men tend to occupy the highest level jobs and positions in government. In a study, it was found that attitudes towards women were favorable which begs the question- how can women be favored and disadvantaged simultaneously? Stereotypes do a nice job of putting women in a domestic role and men in a powerful, leading role. The nurturing, caring and warm qualities related mostly to women puts them in a motherly, domestic role, while the supposedly manlier aggressive, strong and powerful traits put men in high-power jobs.
There have been numerous studies done on gender equality across industries and countries; however, there aren’t many that focus on education, especially among universities. There is one that stands out in this category - “The Glass Door Remains Closed: Another Look at Gender Inequality in Undergraduate Business Schools” by Laura Marini Davis and Victoria Geyfman. The authors examined female representation in undergraduate business schools by analyzing accredited U.S. business programs in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) from 2003 to 2011.
According to AACSB data, the number of male students enrolled increased approximately 15% from 2010 to 2013 while the number of female students fell slightly by 0.55%. The data also shows that female representation at accredited member institutions in AACSB in the United States declined 3.6% from 2003 to 2011. The authors also took a look at the degree attainment and noticed that even though the number of bachelor business degrees increased by 9% during 2003 to 2011, the number of degrees awarded to female students remained virtually the same, increasing only 0.21%. Thus, the authors concluded that female representation in undergraduate business schools measured by either enrollment or degrees awarded has declined in the last decade –remarkable findings in light of a nationally reported reversal in the gender gap.
We are fortunate enough to live in a time where “You can be anything you want to be!” is a prominent statement in nearly every child’s life. However, an overwhelming number of statistics accompanied by a series of public events this year have us all questioning that statement more than ever. Can I be anything I want to be? Are there limits to my success? After consulting a number of articles, I have decided to dive deeper into this idea of The Glass Ceiling.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines the glass ceiling as “those artificial barriers based on attitudinal or organizational bias that prevent qualified individuals from advancing upward in their organization into management-level positions.” The glass ceiling has kept women and minorities from attaining well-deserved promotions and pay raises for years...but does it still exist in our forward-thinking, 2016 society?