After the book “Lean-In” by Sheryl Sandberg was published, it was immediately successful. The COO’s article on empowering women with Facebook shares advice on how to succeed. The main idea? Women must alter their attitudes to succeed in their careers.
This message is troubling: it implies that women will have equal opportunities in the working realm.
Before Lean In, a publication by a sociologist in 1990, the assumptions about the gender of corporations were questioned by describing the work done by Acker in her findings. The perfection of their functioning is in their vision of an ideal male employee. Male employees have an advantage that women see as a disadvantage.
Since 1990, organizations have had the opportunity to alter their perception of an ideal employee. They haven’t taken that step, unfortunately. Our interviews with 32 women board members at Concordia University showed the same in 2017 and 2018, as they all fell in line with the male ideal.
the caring work.
When it comes to filling a position, that’s where the process begins. When asked about pregnancy fears, Ms. X says, “People cannot ask me that, but they always ask, ‘Well, are you going to have a child?’” She argues that male applicants would receive different treatment due to recruiters presuming that his wife would be raising a child.
Assumptions about a nonexistent ideal employee who doesn’t care about children—that is, a man—drive recruitment. Women spend about three hours a day doing housework, while males only do less than two. Being masculine also involves less or no engagement in taking care of someone. The number of fathers involved is rising.
The ideal employee sticks it out after he’s hired. Women are concerned about keeping lengthy hours at work each day.
Ms. Y relays a story about a mother who felt unable to do her caretaker role any longer and wanted to quit. Ms. Y let her work from home once a week. This flexibility was relayed to her by her employee “In one day; she got to do all she would typically do on the weekends, saving an hour each way in travel time, while still keeping her job.
Presenteeism ignores the caring labour women are frequently expected to be doing and penalizes women, as we witnessed during the pandemic. Telecommuting is becoming common due to the pandemic, which means that presenteeism is evolving and changing. Still, it is a two-tiered structure that assumes that women will telework while males will travel to the office. Telecommuting can negatively influence women in terms of promotions due to issues such as decreased productivity, the prejudice associated with working from home, and how the trend negatively impacts face-to-face networking.
abilities that are gendered male.
The male model also applies at the top. A set of rules will be established to attract males to take on board memberships. According to Z, “New job requirements are created in order to fit employees who the board already trusts. People like us think like us.
Men hold 83% of board seats, which benefits hiring decisions. Boards typically expect board members to have leadership experience in the form of holding executive committee positions. Men are the overwhelming majority in almost every part of corporate life. Even on the board of directors, just over one-tenth of all members are women.
Finally, it’s frequently the case that people look for skills like financial or technical ones, which are typically held by men. A good example of this is that 87% of CFOs are men. Even in STEM, where gender discrepancies are most evident, women still find themselves lagging behind men: Nearly two-thirds of STEM degree holders are men (69.8%), while just over one-third are women (30.2%). Furthermore, 43% of men continue to work in that sector after getting a degree, whereas only 25% of women remain and work in that field.
What can we do?
In order to start solving this gender parity problem, businesses need first define what they believe to be ideal. Is it apparent what a perfect employee would look like to them? Who is that work, and what is their business? Are you taking into account the company’s potential and difficulties in creating this vision? How can we revamp the process so that the organization can better represent all potential employees and not waste their resources?
At crucial career stages, the ideal employee is being defined, and that image is greatly affected by people’s biases, which will influence how firms approach workplace diversity initiatives.
As an example, unconscious prejudice can play a role in how applicants are interviewed and the types of questions answered. Furthermore, firms must analyze their workflows, procedures, and regulations to find out if their working image of the perfect employee is flawed. For example, promotion and assessment methods might describe skill sets that are most commonly attributed to men, such as financial and technical talents, instead of the skills that will ensure a sustainable future for the organization.
Basically, we have to stop telling women to change. Lean-in isn’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to issues like gender equality, diversity, and inclusion. A huge portion of this goes to corporate executives, who have the ability to make a real difference.