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Women face a glass-ceiling at work

Women face inequality in the workplace the world over. That is a fact. We can see this clearly when it comes to pay and promotions. In many, many countries women earn less than men for doing the same job. Conservatively minded men continue to argue that a woman’s place is at home with the children. But women are playing a more and more important role in the workforce everywhere.

Times are changing. But male attitudes are stuck in a rut. Even in the many countries where women now make up a significant part of the workforce, they continue to be passed over for promotion because male management assumes they will take several years off work to have children. As a result, when it comes to senior management, men dominate the boardrooms. Senior male managers primarily recruit men to join their “men’s” club at the top of the company. They love to do their deals on the golf course or over a drink in the lounge afterwards. Often the deals are done in men-only clubs. It is hard for women to get a look in ,and, when they do, they find it difficult to win the acceptance of their male colleagues.

In Germany business leaders entered a commitment some time ago to increase the number of female executives.  Despite this pledge, the latest figures published just a few days ago show that the number of women in top positions in Germany is actually falling. Only 5.8 percent of board-level positions are held by women, who after all make up just over 50 percent of the population. The situation is slightly better in companies listed on Germany’s stock market. With a 30 percent legally binding quota for women on publicly-listed companies due to come into law in 2016, the number of female executives has risen from 10 to 18 percent. German business however continues to oppose this measure despite the fact that it is glaringly obvious that it is urgently needed if successful businesswomen are to get a fair share of the top jobs and the salaries in this country.

The recent controversy about remarks made by Microsoft ‘s CEO, Satya Nadella, that women in technology should not ask for pay increases shows just what kind of problems women face in the corporate world when they try to redress inequality. Why should women take Nadella’s advice and place their faith in a system that is failing them? Why should they wait for pay rises rather than demanding them as their male colleagues do? Why should there be a so-called glass ceiling for women, an invisible barrier which they cannot cross?

The bottom line is there is no justification for this kind of discrimination of women in the modern world. They should be judged at work by their performance and by what they contribute to the company’s success and not by their gender or out-dated male attitudes and perceptions of their role.

We also know from recent studies about marriage that the lion’s share of the housework continues to rest of women’s shoulders because men consistently shirk their share of the household chores and underperform. The time has come for things to change both at work and at home.

Author: Grahame Lucas

Editor: Isha Bhatia


10.10.2014 | 12:32