Do you know about the challenges that women experience in the workplace?
Women comprise almost fifty per cent of the world’s total population, however, the percentage of working women is far less in India. As per the Washington Post, even in a developed country like the US, only eleven per cent of women have landed high paying jobs.
While inequality is one of the most highlighted issues, there are many other issues that women experience in the workplace. In many countries and cultures, where bearing children and managing domestic responsibilities is the sole responsibility of the women of the family, the situation is even more critical.
Here are some challenges that women experience in the workplace in general:
Unequal pay: This is the challenge most women face at the workplace, even though in some of the nations laws have been made to encourage equal wages to women. Women working in big industries and larger companies are still better off, but women in the unorganized sector do not have any laws to protect their interest. The situation is even worse with women who work as daily wage labourers.
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The conflict between biological clock vs the career clock: These terms are quoted by Indra Nooyi, Former CEO PepsiCo. She says that women’s biological clock is in total conflict with career growth. After investing the initial years into the workplace, one tends to aim at a higher position which would mean more responsibilities. Generally, this is also the time when one plans their family, therefore, managing both the lives together becomes a real challenge for women.
Maternity and childbearing: A natural phenomenon that women go through can be a hindrance in career growth. The nine months of pregnancy, the delivery and post-partum period can be a real challenge for working women to balance, as it is not only a mental strain but also a big physical challenge. During this time, many women tend to lose the opportunities they would have otherwise gotten when focussed full time at work.
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Harassment: It is important to be on good terms with your colleagues. At times, one also needs to have a one on one conversation. While it is perceived normal when happening between the people of the same gender but one on one conversation at the workplace with people of different genders is seen with doubtful eyes, which is a major challenge for women employees. This can be blown out of proportion causing unnecessary harassment to women employees. In extreme cases, they can be bullied, exploited or ill-treated.
Being labelled: While some of us tend to become a victim of situations at the workplace; some of the women, on the other hand, come out very strong and sturdy in the face of tough situations. They stand tall and firm against every situation and come out with a solution. During such times, a male boss is often appreciated for being a dedicated professional and delivering results, while women sometimes get labelled as ‘bossy’ or ‘mean’ for similar behaviour.
Many companies have started to consider such delicate aspects of womanhood and have amended laws to ease the life of women employees, for example, extended maternity leave, offering basic medical and childcare facilities like a crèche near the workplace, etc.
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