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When I explained I was going to do my blog about gender inequality at work, I got the response: “Are you a feminist? Gender inequality is no longer an urgent issue in the western world, right? We are all equal now. This kept me thinking: when it is no longer an issue, why is it still a fact that there are far more men in important positions than woman? In the United Kingdom, only 29 percent of all the members of the parliament are women(Keen; Cracknell, 2015).  In addition, according to research done by the Trade Union Congress the pay gap between women and men in top earning positions, goes up to 55 percent (TUC, 2015)!  According to AAUW at the current speed it takes more than a hundred years to close the pay gap (AAUW, 2015). We can ask ourselves the question: Is this an urgent issue? Or just ‘how it is meant to be’?”

From my personal point of view this is a really urgent issue in the global political economy. The misperception is often that people think we that gender inequality in the western world is no longer existing. But in reality we are missing out on skilled and capable female managers, just because they have less opportunity to be accepted in a leading position than men. According to a study of McKinsey, a counseling and advising organisations of businesses, advancing women’s equality can add up to 26 percent to the global annual GDP by 2025 (Woetzel et al, 2015). Moreover, Kimberly Fitch and Sangeeta Agrawal, writing for advising company Gallup, mentioned that female bosses are more engaged with their employees than male bosses, which makes employees more comfortable (Gallup, 2015).  Another big reason for more women on the work floor is that, according to Karina Govinji, 70 percent of the purchasing decisions are made by women. Therefore, it is major to employ women in leadership roles because they understand the target group’s needs and wants (Gallup, 2014).  McCullough quotes Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, one of the 20st first CEO’s,  she states: “Not advancing women into leadership roles is sad for the women talent, but also tragic for the company which faces an unfortunate loss of talent, creativity and innovation”(2014).

But why are there not more woman in higher positions if it is so good for the company and the community? According to the WIBF (Woman In Banking & Financing), there will never be gender equality when women have to act like men in a high position(2015). The society we live in is still based on old-fashion norms and values. We live in a male society. Being dominant and authoritative are ‘male’ characteristics and when women have those characteristics they are looked at as unattractive and out of the ordinary. In addition, Isabella Bakker and Stephen Gill in their book Power, Production and Social Reproduction, state: “Gender inequalities are constitutive  of the very processes at the heart of intensified globalization” (2003; 23). Baker and Gill say the process of globalization causes bigger inequalities between oppressed and ruling groups (2003; 23). This will make it more and more difficult for women to come in a leading position.

The best thing would of course be to change into a unisex society where men and women are equally treated at work. . But, since that probably will not happen in the coming decade, the best thing to do now is probably accepting that we are not equal and that there needs to be done something about this.

Reference list:

AAUW (2015) The simple truth about the gender pay gap. Available at: http://www.aauw.org/files/2015/09/The-Simple-Truth-Fall-2015.pdf

Bakker, I.; Gill, S. (2003) Power Production and Social Reproduction: Human In/security in the Global Political Economy. London: Palgrave Macmillan: 23

Cracknell, R. Keen, R. (2015) Women in Parliament and Government: UK parliament. Available at: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN01250 

Fitch, K.; Agrawal, S. (2015) Female Bosses Are More Engaging Than Male Bosses: Gallup. Available at: http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/183026/female-bosses-engaging-male-bosses.aspx?g_source=more%20female%20leaders&g_medium=search&g_campaign=tiles

Govindji, K. (2015) Having More Women Leaders Is Good for Business: Gallup. Available at: http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/178355/having-women-leaders-good-business.aspx?g_source=more%20female%20leaders&g_medium=search&g_campaign=tiles

McCullough, D. C. (2014) When will women achieve gender equality in leadership at work?: The Guardian.  Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/women-leadership-companies-equality-jobs

Morris, N. (2014) Women underrepresented at all levels in British politics: independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/women-underrepresented-at-all-levels-in-british-politics-9695320.html

TUC (2015) Gender pay gap for UK’s top earners hits 55%, says TUC Available at: https://www.tuc.org.uk/equality-issues/gender-pay-gap-uk%E2%80%99s-top-earners-hits-55-says-tuc

Woetzel, J. Madgavkar, S. A. Ellingrud, M. K. Labaye, M. E. Devillard, P.S. Kutcher, P. E. Valley, S. Manyika, J. Dobbs, S. F. R. Krishnan, L.M. How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth: McKinsey & Company. Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/growth/how_advancing_womens_equality_can_add_12_trillion_to_global_growth

WIBF. (2008) Women on Top :Why are women underrepresented at the top? Available at: https://wibf.org.uk/content/women-top-%E2%80%93-why-are-women-underrepresented-top

– Mélanie Kamping


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