Running Head: Gender Disparities Towards Female Workers in El Paso Gender Disparities Towards Female Workers in El Paso Abstract Women have struggled to have their voice heard and recognized for many century’s. All though we have come a long way from 200 years ago women in the work force still have obstacles of gender inequality that may need to be attended to at this time. Our research proposal aims to study the disparities, between several quantitative factors of the working women in the El Paso area and those of their male counterparts with a feminism perspective.
These factors include pay, work hours and benefits. We will also attempt to qualitatively record some of these women’s personal feelings about their positions and work experience and how all factors – quantitative and qualitative affect their perceived levels of respect in the workplace. We hope our findings will uncover any unfair practices in gender equality in the workforce, should they exist, as well as an understanding of the ways in which these inequalities affect the perceptions of the women experiencing them. Gendered Disparities in the Workforce
Women have gone through a struggle that may not be fully conceived and understood in our past and within our society. Since our history mainly consists of a male biased perspective Feminist theory will be core objective of this research. Hakim (2006) investigates how sex differences between men and women are still palpable in the workforce, whether it’s the glaring pay gap or the discrimination while working. It’s still quite present today as it was in the past Although as a society we can say we have came along way just from a century ago.
Hakim asserts that the fight for gender rights is a great never ending struggle and notes how women in the workforce are constantly fighting for equality despite the fact of achieving leadership positions but still being perceived as inferior to men at work (Hakim, 2006). Chin (2011) presents the notion of identity that deals directly with leadership; mainly talking about how who we are affects who we are as a leader. With leadership struggles there comes the constant struggle between men and women and how sexism in the workplace happens. Literature Review
Feminist theory has had a rough past and has struggled to become a credible source within the academic world. Feminism has not only had to struggle with credibility but has also had to fight to be viewed through the academic lens in regards to history and culture in order to obtain the recognition it deserves. Your average individual that is not college educated may not perceive the inequality differences between genders that are still prevalent in our modern times. However, it is fair to say that as a society we have come a long way. The first lady to bring up this radical idea of feminist theory is credited to Mary Wollstonecraft.
Josephine (1941) mentions Mary Wollstonecraft is credited for making the first major work of justification based on equality on all aspects of women life. Her work at the time is targeted at the French prime minister in 1792 stating that women are not created equal in the French constitution. Her work was discredited for they believed in the natural rights doctrine that God made it that way (Josephine, 1941). Wollstonecraft also believes that the most important agenda for all feminism theory is to provide “proper education [and] proper training in critical thinking” (p. ). This will allow women to be able to know and understand their own situation and not let the truth be obscured or tainted and to also take control of their own life’s so they can learn to be independent. When we take a glimpse at the current modern feminist you can see that the agenda has been the same but has changed in a different ways as time passes. This ideology is a dominant aspect of feminism theory and is still valuable and credible to this day. But how far have we come as a society and what can we notice today?
Feminist research critics and scholars alike found concern in the systems of research that seem to not only further the ideals and agendas of the white, wealthy males that had started the schools of research thought, but that were also impersonal and left a great lack of understanding towards the human conditions that quantitative methodologies claimed to “study. ” As Anderson, Armitage, Jack, and Wittner (1987) point out, in terms of male dominated research methodologies, “recent feminist scholarship has been sharply critical of the systematic bias in academic disciplines, which have been dominated by he particular and limited interests, perspectives, and experiences of white males” (p. 105). In discussing the disconnect that exists between researcher and those being researched, Bloom (1997) points out that when using feminist methodology’s one idea is make and create a mutual respect and relationships in an attempt to lessen the tension and get a more natural response between the interviewer and interviewee (p. 111).
Sprague and Zimmerman (1989) addressed both concerns nicely when they argued that quantitative methods of the time were inherently patriarchal, male based, and did not reflect the personal aspect of research or the human experience in general. What being stressed is through Feminist research the main idea or attempt is to try to keep and study information through a perspective that is more realistic with the consideration with women in mind. Language and Gender in the Workforce There are factors that can influence the work environment for women in today’s society.
Our daily lives in the social worlds, including the workplace, are influenced by the language we use. People assign labels to the world to create meanings and give value to people and objects, often times what happens is that those with the power(like politicians) to do so, create the meanings that others take as truth (Leslie, 2010). Words have a very powerful effect in our society which helps people define themselves and others. This process affects the way we interact with the rest of the world. Many times words such as “sex” and “gender” can be influential in the work environment and could affect the way women are treated.
Society has very specific meanings and ideas on how men and women should act toward each other. This inevitably transfers to the work environment. Leslie (2010) goes on to say that “social scientist often have used the words “sex” and “gender” as synonyms…[but] gender becomes something that people do, which can be observed empirically without resorting to biological explanation” (p. 181). Moreover, “sex” can be described as something “biological” such as organs in the human body. In many cases, people do not realize these differences and this potentially causes inequalities. Genders differences are considered in the work place in often nfortunate ways which can have a negative impact on the people towards whom they are aimed (Carlson & Crawford, 2011). This can cause discrimination against women in the workplace and have serious consequences to individuals. Martin (2003, 2006) explains that it constructs and maintains male privilege, and causes women to feel incompetent and devalued at work. Moreover, women may adopt masculine characteristics to get ahead in their jobs. Carlson and Crawford feel the problem is that “if women do not act according to stereotypes of femininity, it may cause a backlash, decreasing their standing in the organization even more” (p. 61). This is a very difficult position especially for women because gender roles are difficult to change or overcome in society. Even in terms of authoritative roles, both women and men tend to associate higher authoritative roles as something men belong to while women tend to act in roles requiring a lower level of authority (Nadler and Stockdale, 2012). At times, even women are not able to see how competent and valuable they are or can be in their workplace because gender roles are so instituted in society. The meanings that society associates to language affect men and women in their workforce.
Glass Ceiling & Leadership? In a study done by Carnes and Radojevich (2011) there is a real sense of the glass ceiling effect today. The glass ceiling is defined as “an invisible barrier that prevents women fromreaching key positions in corporations”(p. 71). Their research questions look for and analyze various factors and their effect on women in the workplace. One thing to note is that Carnes and Radojevich (2011) state that there is an illusion of true equality in the workplace for women all across the board (p. 70). According to Mattis (2004) there is a huge number of women becoming ntrepreneurs that comprises about 50% of the workforce in the United States. The majority of professional jobs in the US and other developed nations comprise of mostly women (The Economist, 2009). There is a great success of women gaining equality in terms of pay and benefits in the lower and middle tier areas of management, however there is still a glass ceiling of equality for women in top tier managements. Chin (2011) provides insight into the roles that women have and the continuing struggle in terms of leadership opportunities.
He talks about the conflicts between women and men in the professional world and how there is still a stigma when it comes to women in the position of leaders because they are still viewed as something of an irregularity. Chin (2011) mentions that women are not very prevalent in leadership roles in corporations, higher education and the political sector this has allot to deal with the issues of sexism in the workplace and how this affect women, along with this idea the differences between men and women as leaders and how their behavior differs from each other on their own perceived notation of leadership.
With leadership struggles there comes the constant struggle between men and women. A study done by Carnes and Radojevichs (2011) states that 50% of low and middle tier managements and professional occupations are held by Females, but only 2% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women (p. 73). There is an obvious gap difference in the prevalence of women in white color positions. Peculiar enough, the women that are CEO’s earn 46% less than male CEO’s with similar qualifications and positions.
Although equal opportunity acts and regulations imposed by the government are fairly successfully in regulating equal pay to both women and men with the same qualifications, position, age, and seniority, there is still inequality in top tier managements in regards to pay and composition. The issue is that women have the same if not better education, and job performance compared to the men counterparts.
Wolf and Fligstein (1979) accesses three factors that partially explain for the unequal distribution of men and women in positions of authority: women qualifications, behaviors and policies of employers and the attitudes and behaviors of the women themselves. Another reason for not expecting women to occupy positions of authority concerns some women’s views of their competence for such positions as well as their lack of desire to be in supervisory roles. Their lack of desire may come from the lack of interaction in leadership roles, and may see themselves as less capable of assuming such positions.
Eisenberg’s (2010) study shows that most women between 2006-2008 earned 50-63% of bachelors, masters, professional, and doctoral degrees. This should mean that there should be more women than men or a more equally distributed female presence in higher tier managements and workplaces. There are also a rising percentage of female entrepreneurs, but they are hard to come by due to a male dominated industry and negative stereotypes attributed to women in the workplace.
Carnes and Radojevich (2011) note this and takes into consideration the stereotypes that men may perceive on women that do get a prominent possibly powerful position stating; “women who climb the corporate ladder as having gained their position through sexual favors, or filling a quota for the organization” (Carnes and Radojevich, 2011, p70). Men stereotype and in a sense seem to impose a glass ceiling on women trying to rise up in the ranks. The United States culture seems to separate male and female roles. Men usually prefer women caring for the family rather than pursuing a higher level occupation.
Even if women do break from that stereotype and expectation most of men occupy the jobs in the industry. Debenedetti (2005) indicates that a lot of women are in part-time jobs. Part-time jobs provide an opportunity of flexible hours at work that makes it easy to work with family responsibilities. Part-time work is sometimes criticized as a form of under employment, paying lower wages and providing low-quality benefits than a full-time job. Debenedetti (2005) argues in the beginning of the twenty-first century approximately only 18% of women were part of the labor force.
In 2001 the statistics increases to 61% this trend can be noticed in married women in particular. There are few reasonable explanations for this change. Some factors that influence women to participate in the workforce are the infusion of new household technologies that allows women to decrease the time spent in home production leaving time for work. Now the questions are what types of jobs do women hold? Is there evidence of job discrimination leading women into unusual forms of employment where their skills are not utilized to their full potential?
Debenedetti (2005) mentions that discrimination through job segregation is a different form of discrimination, which may also lead to wage gaps. Wolf & Fligstein (1979) also argue’ that women obtained social position from their men in their lives, first from their fathers and then from their husbands. Until quite recently, women obligations focused on marriage and childbearing and their obligation to paid employment was viewed as a secondary option to their role obligations. Wolf & Fligstein(1979) argue that even hough women situation have changed, and many now rely on their own work activities as a procedure for obtaining power in society, women are much less likely to obtain positions of power in the workplace than are men. With the lack of research suggesting how these differences in the workplace are generated Debenedetti (2005) and Wolf and Fligstein (1979) studies indicate the extent of restriction of females from positions of authority and the historical review of women’s changing roles in the workforce.
Women and Relations in the Work Place Women not only face performance workplace discrimination and problems in the job environment; women also face relational problems within the work atmosphere. Morrison (2008) defines the different goals that men and women have within the work place and suggests that “men’s friendships can be described as instrumental” (p. 2), whereas “women’s friendships have been described as communal” (p. 2).
In other words, women’s relationships tend to be more complex as they expect to be supported and uplifted through self-disclosure and involve a communal experience. Men, on the other hand maintain friendships through shared interests and activities and involve exchanges of rewards and favors. Morrison further maintains that friendships between women are directly in correspondence with their level of stress in the workplace (Morrison, 2008). Women don’t tend to actively seek friendships in the workplace except during times of trial.
Morrison asserts that this is most likely do to “women’s relatively lower status in many professions, making them less desirable as friends, and sex-role stereotypes leading to unfavorable attributions about work-related competencies” (p. 3). It is because of the status of women that the reasons for friendship within the workplace differ between men and women. Men seek friendship from other men in order to help them accomplish promotions and obtain financial and status benefits.
Women seek friendships in the work environment in order to help them cope with the stresses placed upon their by their respective jobs and positions. Differences within the gendered workplace are brought about through injustices and the different expectations of gender and this affects how friendships are formed within the workplace. Not only do gender roles and expectations dictate how relationships are formed and to what purpose they are created for, but these gender roles often affect how women are treated by other women within the workforce.
In a study done by Litwin and Hallstein (2007) they noted that the majority of women they interviewed experienced “aggressive acts by another woman that are kept hidden” (p. 119). Litwin and Hallstein (2007) note that these women who were interviewed “told stories about other women purposely engaging in hurtful or damaging behavior against them, while simultaneously denying or keeping hidden that behavior” (p. 119). They described most of the stories told to them as women who were cut out of leadership by other women through the use of gossip and denial.
These tactics are used in order for women to rise above their female peers. They use these strategies primarily because of the lack of power they are given within their organizations due to their gender. For men it is not always necessary to spread rumors or sabotage their peers as the competitive work environment rewards them for their skills and prominence within the company. It is not as easy for women to accomplish this due to roles and restrictions applied to their gender before they even entered their perspective company.
It is because of these factors that many women feel out of place within the work environment. Is all fair? With factors such as the roles women are expected to fill and the power restrictions placed upon them within a male dominated work force there are two questions that need answering; are women here in El Paso being given an equal share in wages and benefits as men within the work force and are these women treated with the same amount of respect as men with equal positions within the work force? Methodology The results of this research will be used to study women and encourage ocial change in the workforce in El Paso. Therefore the research will be conducted with a feminist methodology lenses. Feminist methodology however is not a method but a collection of methods used to answer the research questions set forth by this research. The first question is to see if there are any differences in pay, benefits, and promotion opportunities between female and male employees in El Paso. Second, do female employees feel the same respect as other male counterparts in El Paso with the same position?
This research will apply two different methods in answering the research questions. Instrumentation A quantitative survey will be used to answer the first question on differences of pay, benefits, and promotions between women and males, and a qualitative focus group study will be conducted to answer the second question by pulling women participants from the previous survey. The research question requires quantitative data to find if there are any significant differences of benefits between male and female employees.
The sample group for the survey will be purposive sampling. For the second question we will conduct a qualitative focus group in order to answer personal questions such as whether or not the participants feel the same respect as their male counterparts, and if not what kind of discrimination it is that they experience. Participants In order to obtain our participants, we will use mall-intercept approach to personally ask individuals if they would be interested in taking a survey. We will use all the malls that are available in El Paso.
We will also implement the use of U. T. E. P to stop random individuals. We will also be using available sampling by contacting the people we may know or be acquainted with to take the survey through social media. This should make it easier to get hold of our focus group which will be purposive because we are basing this on women only. Through a brief preliminary demographic info will also be gathered for further data analysis, and the questions in the survey will be close ended and will not exceed ten minutes at the most.
The results of this survey will provide answers to the first research question to this study and will provide a sample to choose women from the employers for a focus group study. The second question of whether women feel respected in the workplace will be answered by conducting a qualitative focus group. The participants for this study will be pulled from the same businesses the survey conducted on. The goal is to have participants from a wide range of demographic backgrounds and businesses with varying results from the first survey.
Meaning women employees that have differences in pay, benefits, and promotion opportunities and those who have no differences in their occupation will be both asked to take part in this study. The focus will be on finding out how women employees of various positions and circumstances feel in the workplace with regards to respect. The participants will not exceed 10 due to the manpower available, and the nature of the discussions. Questions will contain both open ended and closed ended question. .