Updated: Jan 22
Many women have little to no opportunities for growth compared to men, and oftentimes women will experience oppression regarding their education or career. Gender discrimination and racism are two prevalent types of oppression they face.
Many women recount experiences of walking into a meeting, a classroom, or even a break room, and immediately feeling overwhelmed due to being the only or one of the only females in the room. These professional environments, especially at higher levels, tend to be predominantly male, with few seats open to female representatives. This lack of opportunity pressures women to start competing with one another rather than encouraging each other and promoting unity, creating a hostile environment between females, which only further alienates them from their working environment. Since there is little female leadership in many workplaces, it discourages other females from becoming involved. This fosters an androcentric culture which prevents women from feeling comfortable in their professional environment. We should actively advocate for greater female representation, which provides alternate and necessary perspectives from women, to women. This will create an upwards trend of increased female involvement, fostering a more inclusive company culture.
Although there are many, many challenges that women face in contemporary society, the fact that women still don’t occupy many positions of power nor even have sufficient representation is a problem that should be addressed. Women account for half of the global population, and the absence of women in leadership positions hinders society’s progress. The sooner we push for more opportunities for women in power, the better.
This isn’t just something women should be fighting for alone. Obviously, from a one-dimensional perspective, females should have equal access to opportunities. However, it has been consistently shown that when females are included, especially into leadership positions, businesses and communities do better. Studies have shown that more inclusive workplaces lead to higher job satisfaction, organizational dedication, impactful work, and less burnout.
On top of decreased leadership opportunities, women generally share different
concerns about why they turn down these chances compared to men. Many men have cited low pay or an undesirable location as the reason for declining a position. While some women have agreed with these reasons, they also generally expressed doubt in their own qualifications, along with uncertainty about how encouraging their coworkers would be.
However, there is some truth in these concerns. Research suggests that plenty of companies expect females to be more competent than males when it comes to positions of power, even though leadership roles for men often include more resources, such as funding and support.
From providing women the opportunities to advance in the workplace to legitimately giving them the resources to succeed in those positions, there are many steps that must be taken to create an inclusive culture in the workplace. Doing so will not only benefit women, but also maximize economic and social benefits in the workplace.