Friday, July 3, 2020

The Workplace Dilemma

There are unlimited initiatives that aim to empower women in the workplace yet not much recruitment for women into roles they are qualified for and or are male dominated. Women are still limited in improving their economic, social and educational situations. It is hard for women to thrive in their careers if we have less of them in the boardrooms, executive teams or as senior managers. They have the last say in workplace policies and strategies to bridge the unequal gender gap in the workplace. Women subject to sexual favours and other indecent acts to get the same opportunities men get merely by gender. This article discusses some challenges women face in the workplace and growing their careers. 

It is as if being a woman, I need to earn the same respect, opportunity by working extremely hard while less or equally qualified men merely have to prove anything. We need to understand fully the challenges women face in growing their careers and the strategies that will uplift and truly acknowledge women. How do we expect strategies and policies to fully develop or implement if regulators do not represent women in the workplace?

Many women face deprivation of promotions and new endeavours due to pregnancy. This is clear discrimination. It is as if a mother’s brain pauses during pregnancy, let alone before the baby turns a year. New fathers are never deprived as new mothers are. They prosper in their careers and the belief is that they can handle anything. A working new mother may be given flexible working hours to manage through new endeavours or promotions. COVID19 has proved that working from home is now very possible through technology and good time management. We should allow women the same career growth men enjoy despite the natural process of pregnancy. It is even worse when women are married. They are challenged in growing their careers as opportunities are withheld from them to “take care of the family”. Women should choose how they manage their personal affairs themselves and thriving at work should not be questioned by family or marital statuses.

I remember earlier in my work life when a male colleague who I had no sexual or relationship interest in hit my butt slightly but intentionally. It happened repeatedly over weeks until I sent him a warning email. I should have made a formal complaint immediately. Sexual offenders get away with a lot and instil fear and uneasiness in their victims. It needs to end and first we must speak about it. In fact, the offenders go on to get the promotions and preference at work over qualified-deserving women while women continue to be suffer. Many women experience sexual harassment in the workplace and it can be worse than what I experienced. Sometimes the offender is someone who is in a position to mentor, hire or promote the victim. The whole experience is traumatizing and sensitive to discuss and many victims are forced to never speak about it openly even if they wished. It is mentally draining when you have been sexually harassed and it affects work performance. In the now if any colleague dares to harass another, dare to report it and let the law take its cause.  

Women clothing is scrutinized to a point were gender-biases are noticed. I know that in my field of study for instance, a woman deems unfit for an Information Technology or Computer Science job if she wears heels and lipstick. It is as if being in IT means a woman must present herself manly and nerdy. It is daunting that more emphasis is put on how women dress instead of the skills and knowledge they possess. Of course, there are exemptions of jobs where one may not be able to perform work with certain clothing. It is not understandable how I am expected to wear no high heels, a dress and lipstick for a Software Engineering or Business/Systems Analyst role. Women continue to face judgement in their choice of clothing at work. I have not heard of men confrontational sessions for their clothing. Many freely wear tight pants that display clear protrusion of their manhood and butt without Human Resource objection. Can we all just wear clothing we are comfortable working in or allow dressing-code restrictions that are not gender biased? 

I will not do any justice if I forget to mention the race issue. Women of color have challenges in getting specialized and critical roles in certain industries. It is sad that racism is still a thing women of color have to deal with even in their continent of origin. It is a thing of the lighter the skin shade the luckier and more preferred a woman is to succeed in her career. There are certain jobs and in many industries where women are discriminated against because of their skin color not to forget the tribalism problem. They are deprived and belittle even though qualified to do the job. Somehow, men of color do not face the same problem as much as women do.

Women are increasingly enrolling to study in fields of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) which are male dominated from the industry leaders to the employees. Men not only head majority of STEM divisions but across all divisions and industries locally and internationally. The dominance is disturbing. The Affirmative Action concerning women is currently at little practice. Women with no political or wealth connection usually must prove themselves more than men for the same work opportunities or funding opportunities. It is one thing to talk Women Empowerment and another to blindly-exclude women in positions that they are empowered and qualified to have. More women get recruitment in supervisory positions to blind the sight of the Reality of Male Dominance in decision-making, strategic, critical and specialized skilled jobs. This is absurd strategy. Qualified women are fit for the highest level of authority and leadership. 

In conclusion, these are very brief challenges women face at work because of their gender. There are a million more unmentioned. We need to deal with the scarcity and deprivation of opportunities for qualified and capable women. We need to take up space in unchartered waters and demand what is of deserving for women and women must do it for themselves too. Women must demand the respect and treatment they are not given. It will start with being disgusted by the status quo, speaking about it and demanding change.  

About Me

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Pencils, Erasers and Books have been my very good companions since I was about 15 years of age. I love nothing more than writing and reading. I am a feminist, open-minded, free-spirited, a technology enthusiast and many things. I am a fat bookworm. Now that you are on my blog, you will learn through my blog that I am very opinionated. I am the twenty-something-year-old female feminist who is thrilled by various ideas. You will learn that I can be informative on topics I care about when you become my friend. You will also learn about many different things that do not revolve around me when you come back for another of my blog articles.

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