An infographic, Women in the Workplace: Then vs. Now, from Human Resources MBA highlights the progress made by women in the workplace over the past three decades, noting that “gender equality in the workplace is the best it’s ever been” and speculating that with millennial women “leading the charge” over the next three decades, anything’s possible – maybe even workplace equality?
Women in the Workplace: Then vs. Now
I wish I could say I’m as optimistic as the millennial woman at Human Resources MBA who sent me the infographic. I’m skeptical because I’m one of the women who experienced the challenges faced by women in the workplace over the past thirty years, not only disparities in pay and opportunity, but also sexual harassment and blatant discrimination. My skepticism doesn’t end here.
The Barrier Millennial Women Face
The statistics show that women go from being the majority of entry-level workers to being the minority of manager-level professionals. As you move up the so-called ladder there continues to be a steady yet significant decline in the number of women in leadership. This statistics for women in senior leader and c-suite positions have been fairly stagnate over the last decade. What the infographic doesn’t show is that along with the decline in number of women in these critical roles is an even greater disparity in pay. I’ve seen statistics which show that women CEOs earn only 33 cents for every dollar earned by male CEOs.
Something happens with women between the the senior professional/individual contributor level and the first-line manager level. Our percentages in opportunity and pay simply drop off. Many have researched and most have then speculated why this phenomenon happens – marriage, children, frustration, complacency, pressure, etc. Regardless of the reasons, it’s a fact and one of the biggest barriers facing millennial women in the workforce. The eldest millennial women are just starting to reach this phase in their careers. The infographic reports that “being successful in a high-paying career is very important” to 66% of millennial women. Let’s hope that the desire millennial women have to succeed will break through this barrier and propel women to full workplace equality.
It’s because of my experiences, and those of millions of other women who have paved a new path, that I’m rooting for millennial women and am doing what I can to help make workplace equality a reality so that when my daughter enters the workforce there won’t be any barriers for women.
Ask Ajna is an advocate for women in the workplace. Our sole focus is to help women own their power and use their voices to ask for and get what they want, and deserve. The Ask Ajna mobile app is the preeminent career guide for women, download it now on Android or iPhone.
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