Traditionally the United States has been a male orientated economy. The male power structure within the American society is reflected by the fact that there has never been a women president in charge of the nation. Hilary Clinton was the first female to run for president in 2016, but she was defeated by the republican Donald Trump by a 306 to 232 total of electoral votes. Females began to gain equality in the workplace after the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Women have a large labor participation in the workforce of the U.S. In 2016 the female labor participation rate was 56% (Worldbank, 2016). Despite the fact that women compose a large part of the American workforce, men have a greater participation in positions of power including upper management. This response discusses and analyzes the presumption that the United States is a male orientated economy.
The male domination of the economy starts in the homes of American families. Males are still expected to carry a larger portion of the economic obligations of the home, a tradition that has lasted for centuries. Due to the financial pressures of the 21st century in most homes both men and the women work to support the family. Gender inequality in the workplace still exists in America and this phenomenon is affecting the ability of women to move up the corporate ladder. It is a hard fact that men earn more than women in the workplace. It is estimated that men earn as much as 20% more than women for the same level of work (Miller, 2016). There is gender bias at the executive management level of corporations which tend not to give opportunities to women to place them in positions of power.
Since men earn more money than women their acquisition power is higher, thus their impact in the economy is greater in terms of consumption, investment and savings. Males control the majority of positions of power in the U.S. government and its agencies. For instance the chairman of the Federal Reserve is a male and over 80% of the U.S. Congress seats are held by males. The lack of women leaders in our society is not justified since women today have more education than men. A theory that explains the exclusion of women from positions of power at the corporate and governmental level is the glass ceiling effect.
The glass ceiling effect refers to a hidden barrier that exists in organizations that keeps women and other minorities from advancing in their careers. Women in most industries are impacted by the glass ceiling. A study performed in the U.S. hospitality industry showed how underrepresented women are in the upper management of these firms. The hospitality industry in the United States is the third largest employer. Despite the large number of women that are working within this industry, there are a disproportional number of women working in upper level management positions (Clevenger & Singh, 2013). The implications associated with the glass ceiling effect represent a form of gender discrimination. The Civil Rights Law of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate in the hiring process based on gender.
Women in the U.S. have to continue to battle to obtain full equality in all aspects including pay and ascension into managerial positions. To surpass barriers such as lack of acceptance, self-efficacy, and lack of social support within organizations women must become more active to raise awareness about the issue to the entire population (Germain & Herzog & Hamilton, 2012). The U.S. Congress should intervene by establishing a commission to research and study the subject in order to find alternative solutions that can close the gap between males and females in the workplace.
- Clevenger, C.C., Singh, N. (2013). Exploring Barriers That Lead to the Glass Ceiling Effect for Women in the U.S. Hospitality Industry. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 12. p. 376-399. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.
- Germain, M.L., Herzog, M.J., Hamilton, P.R. (2012). Women employed in male-dominated industries: lessons learned from female aircraft pilots, pilots-in-training and mixed-gender flight instructors. Human Resource Development International, 15(4). p. 435-453. Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.
- Miller, C.C. (2016). As Women Take Over a Male-Dominated Field, the Pay Drops. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/upshot/as-women-take-over-a-male-dominated-field-the-pay-drops.html
- Worldbank.org (2017). Labor force participation rate, female. The World Bank. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS