In a society full of diversity, why should a woman’s attitude differ to that of a man’s? Especially when it comes to a career? Of course, in the 1960’s, women didn’t really have a choice. Simple stereotypes of a 1960’s housewife…cook, clean, look after children. A woman, who experienced the life of a typical 1960’s housewife, shared her daily routine with the World Wide Web. Diane M (Yahoo, 2010) stated that her and her husband “had two little (children) so most of (her) time was spent chasing toddlers, cooking, shopping, cleaning, washing and ironing”. However, in the late 1960’s came about the Women’s Rights Movement. Equal employment rights, the right to vote, the right to own land. With the modern day, also comes freedom. Freedom to do what we like, freedom to find inspiration, and of course, freedom to find that dream job. Stereotypical perceptions of women are that commitments and responsibilities are different to men. Here, this essay will discuss whether or not certain factors affect a woman’s attitude toward her career, and how a man’s ‘freedom’, apparently, means that they can pursue any career.
In the late 20th century up to this day, the economic climate has fluctuated drastically. Living standards have certainly increased, with the gap between the rich and the poor forever increasing too. Prices for essential goods have risen due to inflation. So what does this mean for the average working and middle class families?
Being a man, it has always been expected that they must ‘put food on the table every evening’ and pay the utility bills every month without fail. But time has gone by and most certainly, the way we work as a family has changed dramatically. Now women feel the need to take on roles such as the bread winner. A new motivation for women has perhaps allowed them to seek pastures new, and give them a sense of ambition to create a better life for themselves.
Since the 1960’s/70’s, the outlook on women has changed. Employers now see women in the same light as men. Fields such as information and technology, manual labour, law, medicine, and more, now see both genders working at the same level and progression. One of the leading technology brands in the world, IBM, has seen Ginni Rometty “succeed former CEO Sam Palmisano as chairman of the board.” (Bloomberg, 2012) announced on Bloomberg’s website, Ginni Rometty is the first female CEO of the company.
Clearly, the sky’s the limit, even for women. In a recent survey of 1,181 women and 1,308 men, Pew Research Centre found that 66% of women aged 18 to 34 wanted a high paying career as their top priority as opposed to 59% of men surveyed in 2010/2011 (The Wall Street Journal, 2012). These results were compared to men and women working in 1997, where men were more ambitious than women on average.
Ambition and attitude is dependent on different factors, such as commitment and responsibilities. Nowadays, partners tend to share responsibility and commitment, easing the stress on one another. Therefore, women have more time to study or work, allowing them to focus on careers and their future. Looking back at the economical factor, a share of the burden is now placed on women to provide an income and support. The vitality of a stable career for a man is now just as important for a woman. Childcare is costly, especially if both parents are working or if you are a single parent. This is seen as an incentive to work harder, with the majority of single parents being women, and so this may cause competitiveness in the workplace, competition for promotion and increased salaries. It drives the process for progression and the motive to succeed.
Socially and politically, women have increased their status in both ‘departments’. After all, England had witnessed a revolution of the first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. A position of such authority requires a positive, yet realistic attitude towards the economy. What this had shown, was that women are firstly just as intelligent as men, but secondly, they have the ability to be leaders. Stereotypically, women are ‘not fit’ to be leaders and men should forever be in control. Of course, those who aren’t very open minded feel demotivated and thus refuse to push themselves. On the other hand, women who oppose this flawed stereotype feel a strong desire to prove these people wrong. To a certain extent, views are shared amongst whether people would prefer a female leader or a male leader. Tahmincioglu (MSNBC, 2007) stated that “Even women seem sceptical of female bosses”. On this online article, Heilman (MSNBC, 2007) suggests that women are more nurturing and caring, whilst men are assertive and take charge of situations.
Overall, men and women’s attitude in the workplace is predominantly on par, with the occasional edge of competitiveness from women. This is usually to purely show that they are just as equal to men in more ways than one and that they can handle any task a man can.
Responsibilities in the workplace are shared equally in the 21st century and both men and women hold the same opportunities for career promotion and progression. However, in regards to social backgrounds and upbringing, it can have an effect in the early stages of adolescence, i.e. calling in sick, making up excuses to not come in to work etc. Maturity is a work in progress for these people and all in all their view on careers tend to change over time.
With both genders having access to the same rights, similar salaries and work status and the fact that statistical results show very little difference in ambition and attitude in the workplace, they generally have the same attitude and progression in companies.
In terms of social status, women have more freedom in terms of what they talk about, what subjects and views they wish to discuss and simply being able to create business contacts, which may or may not aid their careers.
Politically, the views of women may be played down slightly still. However, the importance of these views is still near enough that of men’s views, especially after revolutionising the government with a woman in charge for nearly 12 years.
Conor Dougherty. (2012). Women Set New Goals for Careers and Lives. Available: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303513404577353851323534234.html. Last accessed 21st Oct 2012. Diane M. (2010). What was it really like to be a housewife in the 1950’s and ’60’s?. Available: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110327080154AAuewp5. Last accessed 17th Oct 2012. Eve Tahmincioglu. (2007). Men rule — at least in workplace attitudes. Available: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17345308/ns/business-careers/t/men-rule-least-workplace-attitudes/#.UIaZ58XA9h5. Last accessed 22nd Oct 2012. Sarah Frier. (2012). IBM’s Ginni Rometty Completes Ascent by Adding Chairman Role. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-25/ibm-s-ceo-ginni-rometty-succeeds-palmisano-as-board-chairman.html. Last accessed 21st Oct 2012.