The Evolution Of Women In Workspace

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“A women should be taught to believe in protecting herself on her own and not to depend on a man for her protection. She has the power to protect the world and not just herself.” “

HISTORY OF WOMEN’S SUPPRESSION

During the early days, agriculture was the chief human occupation and it was based on heavy physical labour. Men never involved in the occupation of agriculture. It was women who did the hard labour jobs like grinding grain, carrying water, gathering wood etc which were a part of agriculture. An exemption for women was allowed from these jobs only if she was pregnant or if she delivered a baby. After the industrial revolution emerged, the working place changed from home to factories. In the beginning, the family as a whole together were working in the factories. During this, the men earned the name as ‘good provider’ which forced the women to take charge of the household works. This is how women were pushed into the house not being able to work outside their houses. Now, men being the ‘good provider’ also became the ‘bread winner’ of the family and so that automatically made him as the head of the family. Being the head of the family, he took all the decisions regarding the members of the family without any suggestions from the female members of his family. Women were neither left to work nor left to speak for their living. And this is was the history of women’s oppression.

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WOMEN INTO WORKFORCE

Social and economic developments in the world were the reasons for the changes in the nature of work of the women. When the industrial revolution went to its peak, there was lack of people to work. So people thought that they will give the easy jobs to women that provides only a lesser amount of salary. During that time, there was a high demand for teachers because of the increased demand for education and there was a high demand for salespeople because of the increased number of factory outlets. People thought that these jobs would perfectly suit women because they were not hard to do and they provided only lesser amount of salary. Women were also engaged in other works which were related to the traditional household work that they did inside their house. But they were paid less for this also since the society considered only the men to be the bread winners of the family. In many areas, women were paid lesser than men though they did the same kind of work and same amount of work.

THE THREE WORLD’S WOMEN

The world is classified as,

  • FIRST-WORLD includes the super developed countries.
  • SECOND-WORLD includes the developed countries.
  • THIRD-WORLD includes the developing countries and the under developed countries.

The women living in all these three worlds face different kinds of oppression and struggling situations. First-world women were the first to enter the workforce followed by the second-world women and later by the third-world women. Compared to the first-world women and the second-world women, the third-world women face a lot of hardships in the workforce. India still belongs to the third-world country. The patriarchal family system that still prevails in India gives more rights and authority to the male making them to enjoy more power and take rights over the female members of the family. In India, women are considered to be inferior and secondary individuals to men. Many women in India lack basic education even still now and because of this they are not aware of their own rights. Taking this as an advantage, the men oppress, suppress, harass and subjugate the women in India. After facing all the hardships at home, many women in India tried so much and came out of their homes to work outside. The hardships they face in the public sphere is comparatively more than they face in the private sphere. Not only India, but women of many third-world countries face the same problem.

PROBLEMS FACED BY THIRD-WORLD WOMEN IN WORKFORCE

JOANNA ZAMBAS, a journalist listed out the following topics which were the actual problems faced by the third world working women. They are :

PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION

It becomes very difficult for women who are pregnant to continue their office work. On one side, they have to look after the family and her baby and on the another side, she has to work properly in the office. Maternal leave is given to the women who are working in the formal sectors. But the women in the informal sector are not given maternal leave and if the women take personal leave for some course of time, it may lead to losing of her job. Many women working in the informal sectors are afraid of starting a family because it may lead to loss of their jobs. Here, women have the option to choose any one thing. That is, she can earn money or she can start a family. If she aims to earn more money, she can’t have a family and if she aims to start a family, she can’t earn money. Higher positions in the office are also not given to women because of pregnancy discrimination.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment happening in the public sphere became very common in the modern world. Though women are not physically stronger than men, it is proved that they are mentally more powerful than men. So few men who can’t beat them in their office work try to put them down by physical force. Sexual harassment is almost gone in the first-world countries because the first-world women became brave enough to tell out the sexual harassment problems that were happening to them. But it is totally different for the third-world country women. Women in the third-world think and assume that it is shameful to tell others about the sexual harassments they are facing. Also, they thought that this reason will again make them sit in their houses and make them do the old practice of traditional household works.

GENDER PAY GAP

The people in the society have created a prejudice that a woman has to earn less than a man. The reason for this is the people believe that men are the good providers and the bread winners of the family. In almost all the informal sectors, women are paid lesser salary than men. They are paid lesser though the women and men do the same amount of work. People believe in the prejudice that a family always depends on a man but it never depends on a woman. Men also strongly believe that being the head of the family, it should be him to earn more than his wife. In many cases, husbands felt low for earning lesser salary than his wife and due to this, he tried to stop her from working.

APPEARNACE

Another prejudice that the society puts on women is that a woman should always look polished in her public sphere. Though if she looks simple and if she is sincere in her works, the society thinks that she gives lesser attention to her office work. A woman is judged by her looks and her way of dressing and the way she presents herself in the office. In most of the informal sectors, placements and jobs are given only to those women who look attractive and who look polished. Due to this, women who looks less attractive feel inferior and do not come out to work. Air hostess are hired only on the basis of how they look and how they present themselves.

WORK-LIFE IMBALANCE

A woman has to face the pressure of maintaining a good family life and a good career for herself. When she gives more concentration for her office work, she has to sacrifice the time that she is willing to spend with her partner and her kids. If she wishes to spend time only with her family, she will have to face the consequences in her office. Her negligence in office work will lead to lower salary and less promotion opportunities. Most of the men feel shameful to do the household works being a support system to their wives when she is busy with her office work. So the pressure in both public and private sphere for a woman has been remaining the same for a long time.

ASCERTAINMENT ON WOMEN’S DECLINE IN WORKFORCE

A report gave by SOUTIK BISWAS, a journalist of the BBC news channel tells that,

  • Nearly 20 million Indian women quit work between 2004-05 to 2011-12.
  • The labour force participation rate for women of working age declined from 42% in 1993-94 to 31% in 2011-12.
  • In rural areas, the female labour force participation rate dropped from 49% to 37.8% between 2004-05 and 2009-10.
  • India has a poor record of female participation in the workforce. The International Labour Organisation ranked India 121 out of 131 countries in 2013, one of the lowest in the world.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

BECOMING - MICHELLE OBAMA

This book talks about the diversity, inclusion and advocacy for women’s rights. Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of US tells about her learnings and her successes in both her private and public life in this book. The book teaches the reader about defying stereotypes and building a life on her own.

THE CONFIDENCE CODE - KATTY KAY and CLAIRE SHIPMAN

The authors tell how confidence plays an important role in the workforce of women. Gender equality still exists even though many women are getting educated and being aware of their rights. The authors give real-life tips ans tools to women here to shine with the necessary confidence in their workshop.

LEAN IN - SHERYL SANDBERG

This book acts as a guide to women to negotiate equal pay and getting promotion in their workforce. It has opened the eyes of many leaders in the country to take necessary actions.

WONDER GIRLS - VARSHA ADUSUMILLI

This book comprises 15 stories of women and it is a promising read of empowerment for both men and women who are looking to step out of their comfort zones and make shift in their careers.

CASE STUDY

Lots of cases are being observed which tells that women are being discriminated and disrespected in the society. Jennifer Kelly, a working woman has given the following statement :

“I offer suggestions and comments during meetings, and often my suggestions do not even get acknowledged. Then, moments later, a male in the room offers up my suggestion and claims it as his own, and everyone acts real supportive and cheers it. I have been told by friends and family members that have not seen me for a while that I speak with such authority even just in friendly conversation outside of work, and that I sort to talk more like a guy”.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

The integration of women into the workforce was originated by the WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT (WID) approach and addressing the problems of the third-world women and finding suitable solutions for them were originated by the GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT (GAD) approach.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Women in the workforce - www.britannica.com
  2. www.careeraddict.com
  3. Why are millions of women dropping out of work? - www.bbc.com
  4. www.nytimes.com
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