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Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Business

In order to come up with advice for women in business, it’s important to consider struggles that women face within their jobs. Communication, discrimination, wages, and leadership are common conflicts that women face in the business world. Women struggle with communication with superiors, peers, men and other women in the workplace. Conscious and sub-conscience discrimination is also an ongoing issue for women in the workplace. Along with these issues, woman also must cope with family pressures, lower wages, and being timid when communicate these issues with their bosses, employees or colleagues, making their job that much more difficult.

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There are many ideas and solutions to combat some of these barriers or to improve these issues. Transmitting messages from the top to the lower levels in a business, having a connected network to be able to create and discuss ideas, as well as establishing two-way communication are some ways to improve that many women face with communication at any company. It is also very important for women to build each other up. It’s easy to get competitive with other women especially, but it’s really important to support one another and offer advice and assistance when possible. A major problem that women especially struggle with is asking questions, for help, or for promotions or wage increases. People in general, are afraid of asking for promotions or salary raises, etc. This topic goes especially for women and it seems to be even more difficult when their bosses are men.

On the other hand, it is clear that much of the discrimination in the business world is based on gender. We can use the concept of supply and demand and put it into the context of women in the work place. The idea is that supply is not smaller than male applicants. In recent years more women have achieved higher level degrees in school than men, but there is an unknown answer as to why there are more men who receive professional jobs than women. This demonstrates discrimination in the work place when it comes to female hires. For this reason it is extremely easy for women to believe that they are being discriminated against and thinking that a company isn’t paying them what they believe they deserve. There is something that can be done about this because our entire society runs on value. If we know the value of our work and demand to be compensated, then someone will. When talking about hiring, I would recommend that women research the position first. What exactly are they looking for? It is very important in general to know the do’s and don’ts of going into any interview and then to use that to your advantage. In this situation, it’s essential to play to your strengths and be as prepared as possible.

Lower wages for women is a common theme in business. There are two types of discrimination arguments that are made on the ideas of economics and why there is a large pay gap between men and women. Statistically men tend to hold more c-suite positions than women. These theories talk about the ideas of the human capital model and labor market models of discrimination. The first theory talks more in detail about the idea that human capital for males is greater than that of a female, and this ties into the simple idea that each person in the world has a certain amount of capitol that they hold in the world based on what they can and cannot do. An example of the argument for this theory is that women are left to “stay-at-home” and thus experience less of the market and offer less skills to the employer because they have less work experience. The next model discusses the idea that the labor market works on the simple idea that people work and the greater the amount of time you can work, the more productive you can be and therefore, the more money you make for the firm. The arguments for this theory run along the lines of women have a more discontinuous work time because they take time to be with children or take time off to take care of their families.

Family pressures are another issue these women face. Women are still largely viewed as the primary caretaker of children and that affects their work as soon as they are pregnant and have kids. It is proven that most companies lean towards men as future employees. For example, if a 26-year-old woman applied for the same job as a 26-year-old male, it is more likely that the business would hire the male since it is more common for women to get pregnant and need immediate time off which would cost the business money rather than the business hiring the male who would be more stable and consistent in this situation. From a business perspective, men are more reliable. Once women become mothers they are pulled in more directions than men are. This is very much a societal trend and it’s been changing slowly, but it is still expected of women to take care of the kids while she maintains her job, whereas it’s more acceptable for men to work and not help as much with the kids. This leads to extra stress for women which can affect work or personal health.

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In conclusion, women face many challenges while pursuing careers in business such as discrimination, lower wages, communication issues, and leadership opportunities, along with personal and societal challenges. Although all these challenges do affect women and their career choices, if women are aware of them and prepare to address them, then they can pursue their dreams and pave the way for others to do the same.

Work Cited

Reeves, Martha E. Women in Business: Theory, Case Studies, and Legal Challenges. New York, N.Y. : London: Routledge, 2010. Print.


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