Workplace inequality may sound like some “oh, woe is me” sob story that women are, well, sobbing about, but the reality of the situation is much more serious than most of us would like to admit. It’s 2015 and women still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. So what’s holding women back in their careers?
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1. Research shows that many feel women make better managers than men, yet less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs.
2. “Women are twice as likely to believe their gender will make it harder to advance, and senior-level women view gender as a bigger obstacle than entry-level women do,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
3. “Twenty percent of women report being satisfied with their pay, while 44 percent of men say the same,” reports The Huffington Post.
Workplace inequality isn’t something that’s going to be fixed overnight – not by a long shot. In fact, a new study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org estimates that it will probably take “25 years to reach gender parity in senior vice president roles, and more than 100 years to do so in C-suite jobs,” at the rate we’re going, as reported by CNN Money.
The study found that the reason women are so underrepresented in high-ranking positions in corporations is not because they’re leaving their careers for personal reasons (e.g. raising their kids or work-life balance), but rather that “women face greater barriers to advancement and a steeper path to senior leadership” than men.
What can be done to level the playing field, then? For starters, we all need to start really acknowledging the fact that these types of gender biases and inequalities exist in and out of the working world.
Next – and this is the tricky one – corporations need to be more attuned to the realities that working women face in the business world and foster a company culture that encourages women to reach their full potential.
Lastly, women need to stop giving away power and feeling guilty about their success and achievements – own that stuff, ladies!
Yes, it’s going to take a lot to make some meaningful and long-overdue changes in workplace equality. It starts by having some difficult conversations. How are we supposed to make progress if everyone is treating this topic as taboo? We are all part of the problem, but we are also part of the solution. Be the change.
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What changes would you like to see at your current employer to help level the playing field for women in the workplace? Share your thoughts with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.