Compared to the time of our mothers, gender inequality today has indeed reduced by a large extent. There are more and more successful career women all over the world, and women in positions of leadership have reached double digit growth.
When the average income of men are stagnating or even reducing, women’s income is increasing—according to a research in the US, women who occupy the top 1% of income level has increased from 2% in 1908 to 14% in 2004. That is a 700% growth over 25 years. Women also make up one-sixth of the top 1% taxpayers.
In the 21st century, women entrepreneurs and CEOs are also increasing in number. Chinese millionaire Zhang Yin, American hostess Oprah, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, author of Harry Potter J.K Rowling, ex E-Bay director Meg Whitman etc are just a few examples.
Looking at these trends, do you feel that women have finally achieved equality in the workplace?
I do not think so.
The information I provided is only the improvements we have compared to the past. We still have a long way to go: according to Fortune, women directors occupy only 3% of the top 500 corporations in America. In top corporations around the world, women CEOs make up less than 15% of the total number.
Catalyst once conducted a research on renowned MBA graduates across the world. Among these graduates, women consistently fall behind men in all stages of their career. The reports that claim that women are having it better in the workplace are often flawed.
In Malaysia, the situation is even worse.
According to a report called the Malaysia Economic Monitor published by the World Bank, women occupy 46% of the total workforce, as opposed to 70% in Singapore, 69.9% in Thailand and 53% in Indonesia. While there are 600,000 men occupying high level positions, only 200,000 women occupy similar ranks.
As a woman in a historically male-dominated field, I have overcome many judgements and discrimination. I fully understand the difficulties of being a career woman.
The biggest problem women face in the workplace is the discrimination against pregnancy and motherhood. As women need to take leave from work due to pregnancy and birth-giving, they often have lesser pay, lesser mobility and may even lose their job. Once the child is born, they are expected to care for their children and continue to thrive in the workplace, adding huge pressure on them. If they quit their job to care for their children, it is often difficult to join the workforce again.
In comparison, men suffer much less pressure in child-rearing, thus are usually able to work longer hours, be more flexible in re-locations or travelling for work.
Moreover, women managers face disapproval, and are rarely held to the same expectations as men are. Common models of promotion and assessment are often designed by men for men. Many managers also have the preconceived notion that women are indecisive and incompatible with workplace competitiveness. Far too often we assume women would always give up their career progress for family.
As a corporate leader, I have always believed in gender equality. Women can be just as capable as men, and thus I have promote fair wage, fair promotion and transparency in the company. I am also working hard to make the workplace friendly to both genders. My conviction is that the morale and efficiency of a company is at its best when it treats its people fairly.
As a career woman, I understand that many women worry about their children. For that reason, I am also trying to provide childcare facility in the company so that women can work with as little distraction as possible. Nevertheless, these efforts cannot be solely on the shoulders of corporations. The government plays an important role in creating policies that benefit women and children. In Europe, for example, governments give out generous subsidies for childcare. In Japan, there are rewards for companies that provide childcare services or flexible work hours.
Ultimately, discrimination against women in the work place boils down to the larger scale of sexism in society as a whole. To fully achieve workplace gender equality, we have to achieve gender equality in the society first.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]女力年代来临 = 职场性别完全平等？
而在21世纪，白手兴家或是担任高级主管的女性也愈来愈多，例如我们熟悉的中国女富豪张茵、美国知名主持人欧普拉、百事公司（PepsiCo）全球执行长卢英德（Indra Nooyi）、《哈利波特》系列作家J.K.Rowling、e-bay前执行长梅格.惠特曼（Meg Whitman）等。
根据世界银行曾发布一份《马来西亚经济观察》（Malaysia Economic Monitor）的研究指出，大马女性在人力市场只占有46%，与其他亚洲国家，如新加坡的70%、泰国的69.9%、印尼的53%相比，明显略低，而企业中男性担任高阶主管的人数高达60万，但女性也只有20万。