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From Glass Slippers to Glass Ceilings
This paper explores some of the issues for women who desire professional recognition. It is hoped that by acknowledging and respecting the differences between males and females in organizational roles, that both men and women will take the permission to choose new ways of behaving, thinking and feeling. Today’s organizations need to develop and maintain the values and attitudes that promote and support improvement at work. These improvements include the recognition of women and the skills and benefits women bring to the work place.
Whilst this paper is mainly written from a UK perspective, drawing as it does on UK statistics, there is still relevance for other countries. It is hoped that the reader will compare and contrast the opinions of this author about the UK with their own countries and see how they fare. (Interestingly new women directors are apparently more likely to be found in North America and come from richer and more varied backgrounds than men in the same sectors).
In the UK Women still earn 13.2% less than men. (The National Work-Life Forum, 1999, Looking for balance) If all women were working at the level they were capable of it is estimated that the national economic output would rise by £25 billion. Naturally, women’s choice also comes into this issue. Women often choose part-time or less demanding jobs so that they can be available to their children. However, there is also a demise in males as breadwinners, and a lone parent heads one in five families. 90% of these are women. Women still shoulder most of the domestic chores, and 57% find it hard to meet home and work commitments. (op cit) It is therefore unlikely that women have the time and creative freedom to consider moving into positions where balancing work and personal life may be even more difficult. In order for this to take place on a broader scale some fundamental changes need to occur at all levels: micro, meso, and macro, roughly translated to individual, family and organization, national and international.