Women Struggle in Today's Workplace

By: DiversityWorking Press
Date Posted: October 06, 2016

Challenges continue to hound women in the workplace, and even in the process of job hunting, women have to contend with gender discrimination.

A recent Wall Street Journal column drew flak for even suggesting that women job seekers trying to access tech job opportunities should hide their gender by using their initials instead of their names, and not fixing any photo on their résumés.

“John Greathouse, an investor and serial entrepreneur who teaches at the University of California-Santa Barbara, was writing about the power of online first impressions in hiring. […] The post sparked outrage from all quarters. Readers took to Twitter to decry his suggestions...,” the report on this by Christian Science Monitor partly reads. <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/1001/Getting-beyond-hiding-your-gender-Paths-for-women-to-work-in-tech">click here</a>

Two fields where gender diversity is pronounced are the tech and advertising industries.

Tech Industry's Predicament

Women, indeed, have long been faced with difficulties in their workplaces, and getting into STEM careers, and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, noted the obstacles hindering women from “leaning in.”

“Lean In” is Sandberg's book she wrote in 2013, in which she inspires women “to believe in yourself, give it your all, “lean in” and “don’t leave before you leave” - <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/books/review/sheryl-sandbergs-lean-in.html">click here</a>

According to a report by Fortune, Sandberg stressed in an article for WSJ some of the most notable findings of Women in the Workplace 2016, a new report from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. - <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/09/27/sheryl-sandberg-women-in-the-workplace/">click here</a>

See this too. <a href="https://womenintheworkplace.com/">click here</a>

Here are some of the women's obstacles that Sandberg highlighted:
Representation: women are underrepresented in the workplace, in all levels, from entry to executive positions.

Leadership roles: More men than women are promoted to managerial position.
The office experience: The female employees in the study were less likely than their male counterparts to say that they’d recently gotten a challenging assignment (62% to 68%), to report that their contributions are properly valued (49% vs. 54%), or to say that they are turned to for input on important decisions (56% vs 63%).

Lack of Gender Diversity in Advertising Industry

The advertising industry also faces the challenge of increasing gender diversity in the workplace. A New York Times article noted in May that for women in advertising, it's still a 'mad men' world. […] more than half a century after the “Mad Men” era, gender bias, while often unspoken or acknowledged, continues to affect how they are treated at work, whom they interact with and what positions they hold. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/business/media/for-women-in-advertising-its-still-a-mad-men-world.html">click here</a>

Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Kevin Roberts resigned in September after an outrage on his sexist comments made during an interview. He was asked about gender diversity in the advertising and his response was the "fucking debate is all over,” and he also said he doesn't spend "any time" on gender issues at his agencies. <a href="http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/saatchi-chairman-kevin-roberts-resigns-gender-comments/305301/">click here</a>

Kat Gordon, the founder of the 3% Conference, a group championing female creative talent in the US, said: “What made my blood boil was for him to speak on behalf of a demographic to which he doesn’t belong. To declare something solved when it doesn’t impact him personally was really regrettable.”
<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/aug/05/women-in-advertising-reveal-rampant-sexism-and-macho-culture">click here</a>

This lack of women in the ad industry must be so acute that, according to a recent news, some of the world’s biggest brands are viewing that lack of diversity as a liability. In the last two months, three major brands have publicly put pressure on the agencies they work with to hire more women and minorities. The latest was Verizon, which joined General Mills and HP Inc., formerly a part of Hewlett-Packard, in telling agencies that a failure to do so could drive its business elsewhere. - <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/01/business/media/brands-to-ad-agencies-diversify-or-else.html?_r=0">click here</a>

Retail and Investment Sectors

Not to be overlooked in diversity efforts are the retail and investment sectors. Bloomberg said in an article that most investors are not aware that including both men and women in their organizations outperform those that lack gender diversity.

A new report by the CFA Institute, which represents 135,000 asset managers globally, found that only about 30 percent of retail and institutional investors think that mixed-gender teams produce better performance than those staffed only by men. Teams including both genders consistently outperform male-only investment managers, according to a 2015 Morningstar Inc. study. <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-15/investors-unaware-that-mixed-gender-teams-outpace-male-managers">click here</a>

The above industries are only some sectors where women are marginalized. But relegating women to the sidelines, and not giving them as much opportunity to contribute through decision-making roles, ultimately does not bode well for business and in any industry.

It is unfortunate that women have also been subjected to offensive, sexist, below-the-belt remarks by a current presidential nominee. Such macho posturing has no place in a civil, progressive society, but it's still a hard reality.

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