The Working World is Inhospitable to Women: So Why Work?

It’s a sick world when you’re happy to see bad news about how women are fairing in the working world. These stories are depressing, but I am glad an issue that I find important is getting some attention in the mainstream news and blogosphere.

Today the Huffington Post has run an excellent post, 11 Ways The American Workplace Is Still Really, Really Sexist. It runs down the basics on pay gap, and disparities in management such as these truth bombs: Women make up only  4 percent of CEO’s a top 500 firms. Women comprise only 10 percent of CFO gigs. And as you should all know know by now, women get paid 77 cents on the dollar for every dollar a man makes.  But you already knew all that from reading this. (If you didn’t already know that, Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here.)


Let’s not forget that women are more likely to be working low and minimum wage jobs. Think Progress, recently posted Why the Minimum Wage is A Women’s Issue, in Three Easy Charts.  Figure 1 (left) illustrated that the majority of minimum-wage jobs are held by women.

As if not getting paid what you’re worth wasn’t insulting enough, there are also grave dangers associated with being a working woman. Let’s not forget workplace sexual harassment, occupational violence, and bullying. The vast majority of these crimes were committed against women. And then there are the harmful stereotypes that perpetuate low wages, lack of promotion of women, and other workplace woes.

So why work? Work, as economic theory will tell you, is a disutility. In lay terms, it sucks. Work is way less fun that leisure activities like sleeping, eating, or reading this blog. The easy answer is that most women don’t have a choice. Despite our paltry wages, uncompromising bosses, and glass ceilings, we’re needed to keep our families or simply ourselves clothes and fed. The recession has exasperated the trend, but it’s nothing new. The anniversary of the Feminine Mystique is one more reminder of a crucial difference between the world of Betty Friedan and women today: work is a matter of survival. That isn’t to say that women value the contributions they are making to society by participating in the labor force.


Categories: Alternative Models, Angry Feminists, Lady Business

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