It's a Man's Man's Man's World

Saturday, June 12

By Rocio Mourelos

Let’s start with a fact: women are at a great disadvantage in the work area. It would be easy for anyone to enter an office and notice men are in control. This is not because women are less productive or less educated: this is due to discriminatory practices, social norms, and behavior patterns that lead them to lower-paid jobs and less progress in their careers. Even though we are evolving every in many daily aspects, the process is really slow, and could easily get faster with just a few adjustments to this patriarchal system that keeps on neglecting girls.

In all the countries of the world, women who work full time earn less than men. This is largely due to an occupational segregation phenomenon, which leads women to work in lower-paid jobs and that have flexible hours. Women aren’t as taken into account as men for positions in the economic scope, or in the political workplace. Stereotypes continue to reproduce themselves in the division of tasks in the world of work as well. The division between masculinized activities, in sectors such as construction, mining, manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture, remains concentrated in men. Meanwhile, the service sectors, fundamentally in health and education, are where women are centralized. The naturalization of care tasks, clothing making, and housework continues to have a correlation with what happens in the workplace: these activities are said to be exclusively for women, as they are supposedly “born with the talent to do them”.

Women are more likely to be excluded from the labor market particularly when they belong to the lowest income quintiles, have children under 6 years of age, have lower educational levels, and are younger. But, aren’t these characteristics men could also have? Why are we making a difference, then? Women dedicate more time to unpaid work and caring for other people in the home.

But, what happens when women obtain a job position? Businesses are a reflection of patriarchal society. They underestimate women and this is reflected in the discrimination they suffer, both in salary and in access or promotion. The aforementioned work indicates that these practices are as harmful to the well-being of women at work as other apparently more serious forms of labor abuse. Organizations must have zero tolerance and act in the same way as they do with sexual harassment to prevent these behaviors from being perpetuated and train workers on the harmful nature of this type of attitude: it is the only way to end the sexist organizational climate, which not only affects women but all the people who work in it.

Guaranteeing women’s participation in the labor market on equal terms with men is essential to guarantee their full autonomy. The interrelation between the different spheres of autonomy requires a comprehensive approach to advance gender equity and guarantee women's rights.

We have to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls around the world. We have to recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through public services, infrastructures, and social protection policies, and promoting shared responsibility in the home and family. It is also necessary to ensure the full and effective participation of women and equal leadership opportunities at all decision-making levels in political, economic, and public life, and to undertake reforms that give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control of land and other types of property, financial services, inheritance, and natural resources.

Tom Jones sang in his song, the one which entitles this article, this is a man's world, man's, man's world/but it wouldn't mean nothing/not one little thing/without a woman. And he is not wrong.

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