How to Actually Support Women in the Workplace

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The struggle for equality for women in the workplace has, and is continuing to be a journey. Tangible issues like equal pay and intangible problems like workplace respect towards women are still problematic in today’s society. There are direct ways to support women in an organic way within a workplace.

 

1. Set Goals

In a company, you can support and encourage women by setting internal diversity goals. Big companies like GE and Accenture, have publicly set goals to hire a specific amount of women within a certain timeline. For example, in GE’s target goal, they committed to hiring 20,000 women in STEM by 2020.

 

2. Transparency

This can be an uncomfortable step for businesses. Making public comments or commitments to gender equality, such as reporting the current diversity statistics, can be an uncomfortable move. Most companies are fearful and hesitant to release diversity numbers including men versus women in their employee ranks. Yet for the companies that are transparent and serious about fixing their diversity issues, it is an essential step.

 

3. Different Experiences

There has also been research conducted to show that men and women have different experiences in the workplace. Fairygodboss attributes this to the reason as to why men and women have different experiences to their motive to getting the job. The root of their varying experiences comes down to external factors and societal standards. Also, workplace discrimination and unconscious bias also makes experiences much more difficult for women.

 

4. Answer: Hire More Women

When it comes down to it, hiring women is not only they morally correct thing to do, it is also a smart business move. Employers should also recognize that genders should be recruited differently. Not acknowledging gender imbalances or blaming it on a supply/demand problem risks being dismissive to the problem of gender equality entirely.

 

5. Never Stop the Dialogue

Some may take the issue of gender inequality discussion as “just talk” from businesses. Yet, not addressing your company’s diversity status could be perceived as not caring about it. Concrete programs and policies are an amazing way to actually show initiative in address gender inequality.

5 Pregnancy Rights That Did Not Exist 5 Decades Ago

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Rights for pregnant women have come a long way since women mainstreamed into the workforce. Over 50 years ago, many women were often discriminated by employers because of pregnancies. Employers use to be able to harass, fire and treat expecting mothers unequally compared to their coworkers. It was not until The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was passed that mothers were finally receiving rights in the workplace. Since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act passed, women’s pregnancy rights have continued to rise. New legislative is constantly being reformed and improved in order to supply rights to demanding pregnant mothers.

The following are Five rights that have made the most impact on pregnant working mothers.   

 

1. A woman can not be fired because she is pregnant.

Employers have often seen as pregnancy a disability. Afraid that the women are not able to perform to their fullest capability, some employers see that it would be easier to fire a pregnant woman rather than accommodate her needs. However, with The Pregnancy Discrimination Act in place this action is illegal.

 

2. New mothers can pump breast milk in the workplace.

One of the newest rights that women have gained is the ability to pump breast milk in the workplace. This right is due to the Obama administration under the Affordable Care Act. According to Annalyn Kurtz, “The Affordable Care Act requires employers provide reasonable breaks to new mothers to pump breast milk for up to one year after a child's birth”.

 

3. A woman can not get fired if she has an abortion or is thinking of an abortion.

The choice to have an abortion is completely up to the woman. That right is preserved by The Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

 

4. A pregnant woman can receive special accommodations if she has a medical condition that is related to pregnancy.

Although pregnancy is not considered a disability, some women may have associated health problems with pregnancy. According to MedlinePlus.com, some of these conditions can include, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome, kidney problems, autoimmune disorders, etc. If a woman has any of these conditions or other health-related issues, the company is legally obligated to treat the woman like any other employee with a medical impairment.

 

5. During your pregnancy leave, your job cannot be given away.

Whether or not you have paid leave or not, a pregnant woman is still allowed to take leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees to take unpaid leave for up to 12 work weeks. While away on leave, the employer cannot replace you from your job.

The rights of pregnant women have evolved immensely since the 1960s. However, even with these rights, pregnant women still face discrimination in the workplace. As legislature and laws continue to change, the attitudes of employers towards pregnant women must change.

The Truth About Women in Leadership Roles

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Women leaders are rising in the workforce. The media has been highlighting the lack of women leaders and celebrating those who are in leadership roles currently. There is a lot of discussion regarding women coming into their own and pushing through to positions of leadership in culture and across various industries. Yet, there are still some myths regarding why women should not be in strong leadership roles. Here are few common misconceptions regarding women and their ability to take on leadership roles.

 

#1 - Leaders are born male

With data showing the marginal numbers of women in executive levels of leadership, this myth would look to be true. Yes, there are statistically more men in leadership roles than women. However, cultural stigmas do not dictate whether a woman can or can not lead. Leadership qualities are developed which means any person can find themselves with the skill set to be an authentic leader.

 

#2 - Women leadership is new

Women have been leading throughout history. From Cleopatra VII, Golda Meir, to even Oprah Winfrey; women leaders have been present for hundreds of years. Women have been leading across all different types of industries and political positions since the beginning of history. The small relative number of women executives in organizations could be the reason why society perceives leadership is a twentieth-century idea.

 

#3 Women need to work harder to be leaders

There is extensive research showing that women inherently possess effective leadership competencies. These competencies range from critical problem-solving to company-driven innovation. If women have the ability to exercise these skills, why are we still so limited to female leaders? Women have been suppressed to the point where they tend to under-represent their abilities. The fact is that women must be confident and proud of their skills, even in the presence of men in a male dominant field.

There are other misconceptions about women’s ability to lead in various positions. From major film directors to CEOs of companies, women have the ability to lead in any position in any industry.

Hollywood's secret: Abuse towards Women

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This past week has been an explosion of sexual assault and abuse allegations against big-named Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. The story came to the surface due to a New York Times investigation. Dozens of A-list actresses have come out stated that they were abused by this movie producer. This disclosure sparked many in the public eye to come forward and speak out against sexual assault in Hollywood. Now that the idols we glamorize on television and film are talking about it, it is time we all talk about a major issue in our country - sexual abuse towards women.

 

Hollywood Sexual Assault

The Weinstein situation has shown many that even in the most luxurious and glamorized lives of the rich and famous, discrimination and abuse among women is a major problem in the industry. The position that many of the victims were put in was essentially a dark hole of guilt and shame. If they spoke out, their careers would be gridlocked and would be viewed in the public eye as someone trying to create controversy. These women were forced to sit in silence while this man continued to take advantage of women in the film industry.

 

The Everyday Woman

One in every six women in the United States has been a victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This situation is not just happening in Hollywood, it is happening right now, in every state, in every town across the country. Women are also still facing the issue of the “they were asking for it” claim. With so many social and legal hurdles in sexual assault, abuse, and rape, where do we go from here to drastically improve the culture in which it will respect the intensity of sexual assault as it does other polarizing issues?

Awareness, education, and speaking out are all important factors in bringing this topic to the forefront of national conversation. There must be a shift in not only our culture but the way we handle reporting sexual assault and hold the attacker responsible, not the victim.

The Weinstein and Cosby scenarios have moved the spotlight on this issue and because of this, the time to initiate change is now. From creating open dialogue even down to voting and electing individuals who also speak out against sexual assault against women and will continue to push for stronger protections of women against rape. 

Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

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The option of pregnancy should be supported in any work environment. The fact is, many women still are discriminated against based on their decision to have a child. Whether the discrimination is in the hiring process or comments in the workplace about their performance due to their pregnancy, women still face discrimination from their personal choices to have children and their abilities when pregnant.

 

Hiring

It is against the law to not hire an individual because they are pregnant. In the same notion, an employee can not be fired for becoming pregnant. These issues are still prevalent today. In a Philadelphia-based clothing franchise, Motherhood Maternity were forced to pay over $300,000 to settle a case regarding pregnancy discrimination in their hiring process. In 2007, the company allegedly refused to hire three different qualified women because they interviewed while pregnant. It is also against the law to not hire an individual because she plans on having a child in the future.

 

She Can’t Work?

A woman can not be fired for being unable to perform her duties at her job while pregnant. A woman with child legally should be treated as an individual with a temporary disability. Accommodation in some manner is required such as lightened workload, disability leave or unpaid leave. The truth is that woman can work throughout their pregnancy in a healthy manner and that employers must do their best to accommodate them. An employer can not force you to take to take time off or change jobs either.

 

Discrimination

The biggest issue with pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is that it can happen on multiple levels. From the hiring process, working with your employer to manage workload, to even the social stigma within the workplace, women face a lot of judgment in their choice to get pregnant in the workforce. Many employers view it as a burden and issue of efficiency. The fact is that it is the complete opposite. It is the law to accommodate and support your employee’s decision of having a child.

If you are being faced with discrimination, there are a few steps to take to report it. Gathering evidence is hard but an important factor when reporting it. Keep records of all of your interactions regarding your pregnancy with your employer. You can start the process by setting up an appointment with an EEOC counselor.

The Top Issues for Women in the Workplace

Women face many challenges when entering and thriving in the workplaces. Whether it be issues surrounding pay equality, having a child or general respect, women are faced with many hurdles when navigating their career. Here are only a few of the biggest problems women have to deal with when in the workplace.

 

Children & Career

One of the biggest societal pressures women are confronted with is having to “chose” between having children or a career. Many feel that women can have a strong work-life balance of having children and a career but it is quite a tough task to accomplish without a strong support system. Fast Company reported on a research that asked over 9,000 women questions about workplace issues. When inquiring about children and their careers, almost half of the women polled stated that they believe having a child would stand in the way of building their career.

These answers also differ from location to location. Women and Brazil feel much more secure having children and balancing a career with their 4 to 6 month maternity leave paired with a guaranteed return to their position with optional part-time hours. The United States ranked in the middle when questioned if they felt women can balance a family without damaging their career with 27% saying they disagreed.

 

Getting in the Door

Of the same survey the Fast Company reported on, 47% of the women also believed that men in the U.S. have stronger access to career growth opportunities than they do. This can range from a man getting a job over them, a man getting a promotion over them, or even finding that it is tougher for a woman to start a business. Many women believe that there are opportunities that are more catered to men.

Many identify the bias extremely in the tech industry. As well, in well-known American university's, gender biases were found to be extreme in research laboratories. This can even be translated to reviewing resumes. Male names tend to get more offers with better pay.

 

Gender Wage Gap

In a lifetime of work, a woman with a bachelor’s degree will gather a third less than a man who has the same degree, the WAGE (Women Are Getting Even) Project found. The issue even continues when women attempt to move up the ladder in their business because they will always be behind in the pay gap. Once they enter at a lower wage, they will never become equal with their male counterparts. Female Harvard graduates earn 30% less than their male counterparts.

Women and Unequal Pay Throughout History

The two words of “women” and “equal” have not been put together until the past few decades. Pay inequality in the workforce is something that women today are still battling to gain respect for. Since the late 1800s, Americans have been battling the pay gap between men and women in the workforce. Why is this still an issue today?

History

One of the first attempts to address the way women were being treated in a work environment started with a resolution to ensure equal pay for those who work in government positions. It passed the House of Representatives but was severely edited by the time it passed in 1870.

Then in 1883, Western Union Telegraph Company went on strike to bring awareness to the pay gap issue which was ultimately unsuccessful. The turn of the century was proving to be a time for when this issue was beginning to be brought into the light. New York state worked to give their teachers equal pay and the U.S. Employment Service created a list of jobs that were suitable for women while the men geared their efforts towards the war.

The Equal Pay Law, signed into law by John F. Kennedy, was passed in 1963 which was a major success despite business leaders who thought that women workers were more expensive than males. Kennedy deemed this law to be a step in the right direction and that, "It affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force they will find equality in their pay envelopes."

Today

Even with enormous progress throughout history, women in the workforce are still fighting against discrimination surrounding their pay. One factor that many believe add fuel to the issue is potential employers asking what an interviewee’s previous pay was. This only continues that pattern of keeping women lower in pay. A Glassdoor survey concluded that 60 percent of women want employers to stop asking about their previous salary. Many believe that the value of an employee is not based upon their previous salary. It is suggested by Dawn Lyon, Glassdoor chief equal pay advocate, that when asked about the previous salary, to re-angle your answer to focus on an employee's value and skill set and not the price of it.

Multiple states and cities within the United States have begun banning the question in interviews. New York City, Philadelphia, and even the state of Massachusetts has passed a law restricting employers to ask about salary history.

This will be continuing battle for women to tighten the pay gap between men. It has taken decades to get to this point and will continue to be an issue unless a piece of legislation is created to protect women and their value.

Balancing Work as a Mother

Balancing Work as a Mother

A mother has one of the hardest jobs because she must balance raising a young child while managing their own personal career. As a mom, you must have the skill set to balance your home and work life without drowning in stress. You can become so involved with your daily routine that you do not even feel that you can manage everything - but you can. There are a few key tips to finding the time to be a good employee and an even better mom.