As a movement, feminism appreciates the energy and value of women by valuing their power, achievements and pit falls. The movement spurs women to take their womanhood seriously, keep faith in their virtues and explore the right to achieve as well as have pleasure in life. Globally and more traditionally women predominate in areas of teaching, catering and nursing which employs skills akin to caring and mothering, even in this trend, women’s positions in such establishments still remain gender bias.
Despite the large number of women teachers in primary schools for example, (were women make over four times the number of male teachers ), research have shown that male teachers are disproportionately represented as head teachers , are higher paid, have higher status and have higher management positions.
Looking at this trend, the structure is pyramid cal like in most other professions where the way to substantial increase in level, increase in pay and status is to move to the apex of that pyramid. For women who aspire to excel in their career to the top positions, there is the so called ‘glass ceiling’. An invisible barrier to achievement, a point at which women stay put and watch younger men ascend the hierarchy. Whether this barrier is created by male assumptions of their rights to advancements and female reticence or non aggressive attitudes remains debatable.
There are certain conclusions made from different research findings which affect women, I will attempt to indicate a few of them:
- They are under qualified
- They are not interested in furthering their careers
- They prioritise their children to the detriment of their jobs
- They take career breaks and lose impetus
- They are tied to a spouse career
- They cannot give time outside working days because family commitments take priority
- Only single women progress well
Can these conclusions be true and enough to generally hold women down? Should every woman out there suffer the same detriment like those the finding directly applied to? To start with, not all women are married or intends to marry, neither are all mothers, what about single women who are ambitious and career driven and aspire to reach the top of their endeavours?
Some believe that lack of training and experience affects women chances of promotion. However, it is believed that even when training is available, the self perpetuating nature of the men dominated organisations, their ethos and structures still limit women’s chances of promotion.
It is known that the combination of teaching, marriage and parenthood have different effects on the relative career of women and men. For men it may provide an incentive for promotion while for women the opposite may be the case. The overwhelming responsibilities placed on mothers and lack of childcare supports in our societies alone represents a form of oppression against these mothers.
Mothers most often are expected to make career choices with full consideration for their families. One way to get to the top is with the support of mentors and networks which are also predominately men. Unfortunately for these women, mentors tend to choose their own protégés who are like themselves -so men chose men! Furthermore, when men create networks they often exclude women.
In conclusion, despite some uphill tasks ahead of women, research has also indicated that women remain the sex with the most multi-tasking capabilities. History has clearly shown that they have a higher propensity to combine family life and careers. The writer therefore, is of the opinion that a level playing field must be presented to everybody without any artificial encumbrances as facilitated by sex, race, culture, religion and prejudices.