A Surprising Truth About Gender Equality

By , Contributor

It doesn’t matter how far we’ve come since the days when women in the workplace were considered rare, gender equality is still an issue many wish to address.

There are many reasons why this is so. For some women, it’s a matter of compensation. There are a lot of people out there who feel that, for the higher-paying careers at least, women get paid somewhat less than men do. For others, it’s a matter of overall attitude towards their gender. There are female workers who feel that there is some discrimination against them because they are (or potentially are) more family-oriented.

And here’s the kicker: we can’t blame all of this on a male-dominated workplace because women themselves actually perpetuate gender inequality.

Sexism Among Women

Back in 2009, a OnePoll survey revealed that most working women believe men are better at leading a company towards success. Assertiveness, vision, impartiality, and decisiveness are all attributed to a male boss, while female supervisors are thought of as emotional, overly critical or judgmental, and lacking in authority. Some of the respondents went as far as saying that they’re inclined to think that they can work better than their boss if the boss is a woman. None of them express this sentiment if said boss is a man.

The poll itself couldn’t quite explain why that was the case, although it did clarify that the respondents still found merits in having female bosses — they were better listeners, respond better to issues, and are more flexible.

Why Some Women Bring Other (More Successful) Women Down

We can only assume that the sustained preference for male supervisors is a result of some kind of cultural upbringing.

For all we know, women don’t like working for other women because they grew up with the idea of men being in charge. If not that, then it could simply be a case of jealousy (a conclusion derived from responses expressing one’s belief that she could be a better boss than her boss). Maybe the tension could even be attributed the fact that the female boss can be harder on her female employees because she expects more of them, having expected more of herself to get where she is.

We can even go as far as saying that some of the women who responded to that 2009 survey felt that their female boss betrayed women in general by being successful as she is. Many people still believe that a woman who succeeds professionally is someone who has given up being a woman (i.e. motherhood and being family-oriented). This, despite the fact that more women can work harder than ever before thanks to technology that allows them to do their jobs from anywhere.

What Might Actually Be Causing This

There are many people who are willing to believe that, given the history of struggle women have gone through, men are still subtly oppressing women. It’s easy to think that, consciously or unconsciously, employment opportunities are still favoring male workers. In some cases, it could be true. But that’s completely ignoring the other possibility.

It could be that women are holding on to the idea that they are being victimized, and that they’re ALWAYS being victimized by the men. Women who succeed serve as inspiration, of course, but they can be seen as flukes at best and “not women” at worst. Why? It’s because many of us who are of the female persuasion take pride in this heritage of oppressive struggle. And in order for us to continue enjoying its benefits (hence, playing the gender card), we feel the need to vilify men or the women who we feel are doing what men do to get ahead.

Quite frankly, we all need to get over it.

We Need to Stop Focusing on the Statistics and Gender Roles

This may sound ironic, considering the fact that some statistics were brought up earlier in this article. But it’s necessary for us to get past the statistics and just become the best people we can be, whether we are men or we are women. The problem with hearing statistics about the difference in compensation between the two sexes is that we often find ourselves drawn into a debate over how fair or unfair it is. Women go on the attack, men get defensive, sexist slurs (against both the men and women) fly, and nothing gets done.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to go. There may be some truth to the statistics and the challenges faced by women by virtue of their physiology, but that doesn’t mean that they have to play the victim (or go on the attack) all the time. They can do something about it by either creating an independent means of making money or finding ways to get the respect they want from their male peers.

We also need to stop bringing other women down. They didn’t succeed because they stopped being women or they were less feminine than other people. They succeeded because they worked at being successful. It’s something we should all do, at the end of the day.

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Nancy Perkins, a full-time mommy wannabe, has been a freelance online writer for two years now. She loves sharing information on health, business, technology, fashion, women's issues and motherhood. Nancy lives life to its fullest each day and is dreaming of retiring on an island she will someday own.

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