Business

All stereotypes stripped away – the future is female

SSL in the Money

by Kelley Reid

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

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As a child we were taught that all things should be equal and fair, that the world was a levelled field for all persons to have an opportunity or chance. That if you did everything right, got an education, stayed out of trouble, were ladylike or gentlemanlike, the world, the universe, or God would give you equal opportunities.

Sadly, we were seriously misled!

We have recognised that as more women enter the workforce, naivety disappears, and the real world shows you the truth. The MeToo movement sent shock waves globally, as household names valued as sought-after counsels for human rights movements and philanthropists were all exposed for their hypocrisy.

How many times have you heard “a woman's place is in the kitchen” or “women are too emotional for business” or “women should focus on nurturing and developing the family for the greater good of the society”?

Globally, women are making history in education, sports, medicine and politics and have gained all these achievements with a family which greatly discredits the above notions.

In 2018, the US House of Representatives elected the most women, there are more women prime ministers and presidents, and in Jamaica there are more women corporate leaders.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The MeToo movement transformed a leak to a floodgate as scores of women spoke out about their sexual harassment experiences.

In recent months we have seen companies tighten up on sexual harassment policies and employees like Matt Lauer terminated for violations.

In Jamaica, we have a “suh him stay” attitude to inappropriate behaviour, slowly becoming desensitised. Stories of this nature plague every organisation as women share their experience of being harassed by male colleagues, especially managers.

The general response when you ask if they have taken any action is a resounding no as most are in fear of losing their jobs, a tarnished reputation, being blacklisted or not aware that this behaviour is unacceptable.

WAGE GAP

Despite the Equal Pay Act in the US and Jamaican managers being typically female, women do not get the same pay as their male counterparts. Whether it is US$1.00 to US$ 0.75 or J$100 to J$60, there is still a remarkable difference in the pay rate and/or salary scale.

In discussing this issue with family and friends alike, disparities arose with the most outrageous being that “males must give their wives/girlfriends and side chicks 'allowances', of course, we suppose to get more money”.

This poses serious questions.

If women were getting equal pay would there be a need to provide “allowances”?

Secondly, with a large number of men not paying child support in Jamaica does this logic still hold true?

Or are men dating women outside of their income?

If she is used to caviar and champagne but you can afford only patty and box juice, is she really the girl for you?

NEGOTIATIONS

Did you know that men are twice as likely to ask for a raise in pay or other benefits, than women? Men are generally better at asserting and expressing their needs. Biology and society prepare boys to enter adulthood as leaders while girls are given dolls to play with and discouraged from pursuing certain male-dominated fields. Certainly, few could argue that women don't have a tougher time getting ahead in the finance world than most men do.

Did you know there is only one full-time woman trader at the New York Stock Exchange?

Being aggressive can be a great quality for men when negotiating for pay or work benefits but women who exhibit the same type of aggressive behaviour are considered, “bossy”, “opinionated” and “difficult”.

PASSED OVER FOR OPPORTUNITIES

In an ideal world, wouldn't the best-qualified person get the job/promotion?

Having a family is often seen as an advantage for men as they climb the corporate ladder or enter politics – but this can be considered a disadvantage for women.

Women are less desirable candidates for key corporate positions because of the “risk” that they could get pregnant and drop their careers at any time. The notion of being maternal automatically shifts all priorities, thus she will be less likely to work 18-hour days and weekends.

When women strive to achieve success they are often reminded that the price of working late comes at the expense of their spouses, children, and friends, and even at their own personal expense.

Society still values women as wives and mothers first and as a result of this thinking, it is expected that when a child is born women will take time off, or quit their jobs to raise a family.

Men, on the other hand, are not seen as family-conflicting “risk candidates”, and companies allow three days of paternity leave. Are fathers not as valuable mothers to the development and bonding of their newborns?

STEREOTYPES

Women are expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct themselves in a typically feminine way: polite, accommodating and nurturing, while men are generally expected to be strong, aggressive and bold.

Women are expected to take care of the home while men take care of the finances and cars. There's nothing wrong with women being homemakers and men being the financiers; however, gender roles should not be the determining factor but who is the most capable.

The harsh reality is that men can receive negative feedback when the roles are reversed, as is the case in some families and are considered less than men. Like women, men can be great nurturers and while men may have a different approach to handle things they are often helpful especially when there is a problem to solve.

Furthermore, there are jobs that are predominantly aligned for the female multitasker such as nurses, administrators, teachers. As women dismantle these boundaries, some men are less than welcoming and go as far as being dismissive and condescending to female colleagues, especially when they challenge his work or question his decision, often leading to them being called frigid.

Women are no longer conforming to these roles or staying quiet. As more and more women branch out into roles predominantly held by men, as multitasking females balance work and home and supportive men call out the inappropriate attitudes of other men, as more individuals earn based on qualification and not gender, we will see a global shift that will provide a phenomenal future fit for our daughters.

Kelley Reid is an asset manager at Stocks & Securities Limited.

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