Men still retain lion's share of power and prestige in US' workplaces post-recession
Washington, Mar. 21 : A report has given details on the ongoing inequalities in the American labour market on the basis of gender.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, after shrugging off maternity leave, has sparked the 'Great Telecommuting Debate' with a company-wide ban on working from home. And Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, is on the cover of TIME and every other national stage.
The very presence of these women would seem to contradict the need for a national dialogue on women in the workplace that Sandberg is urging, but these women are rare exceptions, a report from the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions at the University of California, San Diego, has revealed.
"In our society we tend to look at the individual for explanations of success - education, hard work, moral fiber and so on. Even Sheryl Sandberg's critique is focused on the personalities and willpower of individual women. But there are also structural factors at work, not just individual," lead author Mary Blair-Loy, associate professor of sociology in Division of Social Sciences at UC San Diego and founding director of the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions, said.
"Our report looks at the broad patterns shaping life chances that individuals may not be aware of - the underlying trends that continue to shape women's and men's opportunities in the workforce," Loy added.
Women are well-represented, at times even over-represented, in the low-paying service jobs, but men continue to dominate in the highest paid and most highly regarded careers.
The report surveys the status of women and men in the American workforce and provides three in-depth case studies in the professions of law, medicine, and science and engineering.
The team focused on these three for two reasons: They are some of the best-paid occupations in the service economy. And they are historically male-dominated fields where women have made tremendous gains in education.
"Women are under-represented in all three professions," Blair-Loy and her report coauthors write. "They are rarest in the most powerful sectors and at the highest levels."
In Marissa Mayer's industry of science and engineering, women make up only 21 percent of scientists and engineers. In science/engineering university teaching, women hold 36 percent of adjunct and temporary faculty positions, but only 28 percent of tenure-track and 16 percent of full professor positions.
In the medical profession, women are only 34 percent of physicians but 91 percent of registered nurses. In law firms, where Hillary Clinton started out, women make up 45 percent of associates but only 15 percent of equity partners.
Blair-Loy and her co-authors document not only that women are paid less and are under-represented past the entry level, but also that the numbers of women earning advanced degrees that qualify them for these professions in the first place have stagnated and even slightly declined since the mid-2000s.