By: Christopher Boyne
Since the history of work, there have been inequalities between men and women, and these inequalities carry over into one’s retirement life as well. Women perform over 80% of the unpaid housework when they are married, and the value of their unpaid work estimates at almost $40,000 a year (Stoller, 2000, p. 126). Because of the way Social Security is structured, unpaid work does not count towards Social Security, and people performing unpaid work are not allowed to contribute to Social Security. This is an inequality when comparing men to women, because these statistics show that the average woman contributes less to Social Security.
Women also are involved in intergenerational care more than men. This means women care for others outside of their generation more often than men do. This includes children and parents. Because of this, women often leave and return to the workforce on multiple occasions, and contribute less to Social Security than an average man (Stoller, 2000, p. 173). They also are not able to contribute as much money to pension plans if they are constantly leaving the workforce due to intergenerational care. Educated women on average are less likely to participate in intergenerational care giving roles compared to uneducated women (Stoller, 2000, p. 174). Uneducated women seem to suffer the most from this system.
Being female and being poor is referred to as double jeopardy, and uneducated women have a difficult time becoming successful when they still face issues such as the glass ceiling, which is “…an image that depicts clerical workers being shut out of opportunities to move into male-dominated managerial and professional positions in large modern corporations” (Hodson, 2008, p. 94). Mary is an uneducated clerical worker that faces gender diversity work issues such as the glass ceiling. Analyzing Mary using gender diversity leadership approaches can show the issues she is faced with.
Mary works at a large sales firm, and has done well as a clerical worker. She faces organizational barriers that put her at a disadvantage such as she is often held to high standards of performance than the men at her position (PSU WC Lesson 13, 2014, p. 4). There also tends to be a preference for gender similarity in promotion decisions. The last five promotions have been males that have things in common with her bosses. Mary also feels she is excluded from informal networks at work. Many of the men play basketball at lunch, and no women are invited to play. She thinks that because she is excluded from these social networks, this inhibits her advancement in the workplace. Mary is also faced with a home-work conflict where has role conflict. She is often expected to take care of her children and perform housework, while working full time.
Due to issues such as double jeopardy, and the glass ceiling, which includes organizational, interpersonal and personal barriers, Mary is faced with many challenges in order to advance in her workplace. Women in general are also treated unequal at the retirement age with Social Security because of the other roles they are expected to perform such as intergenerational caregiver and stay at home mom. There are many obstacles to women in terms of obtaining leadership positions in the workplace, but some things have improved over recent decades, and could still improve to hopefully place women on an even scale with men in the workplace in the future.
Hodson, R., & Sullivan, T. (2008). The social organization of work. (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (2014). PSYCH 485 lesson 13 Leadership ad diversity. Retrieved from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/sp14/psych485/001/content/13_lesson/01_page.html
Stoller, Eleanor P., and Rose C. Gibson. Worlds of Difference: Inequality in the Aging Experience. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge, 2000. Print.