Later, in the s, the textile mills of New England, most notably those in Lowell, Massachusetts, hired young women from the surrounding farms as workers, viewing them as more tractable than men and more willing to earn less, since presumably they would stop working once they married. To make matters worse for female laborers, workingmen often saw them as threats to their status, especially as new machines permitted less skilled operatives to perform tasks formerly assigned to craftsmen.
A recent report by Sandberg's LeanIn. The topic of gender discrimination in the workplace is making headlines again thanks to two recent events. It is notable that there are no legal barriers to entry for women in virtually all professions.
Indeed, a robust set of antidiscrimination laws are already on the books at both the federal and state level, which reflect a strong social sentiment against discrimination on the grounds of sex. At no point in the modern debate has anyone claimed, let alone demonstrated, that any institutionalized animus against women or even disparate treatment of female employees exists.
Whether one calls this smart business acumen, affirmative action, or reverse discrimination is beside the point. What remains clear is that observed differences in the types of jobs taken by men and women are not attributable to any scheme that is tolerated at the firm level, let alone imposed by government.
We should hardly expect that any systematic discrimination against female employees would be tolerated now that women in large numbers have founded their own businesses and have risen in managerial ranks.
The days of the all-white male boardroom are gone forever.
Similarly, in dealing with the wage gap between men and women, a careful analysis would show that the key drivers of that relate to factors that are not easily controlled within the workplace, and all of which are beyond the reach of the law.
The first is the choice of occupation. More men take more training in fields involving mathematics, computers, engineering and the sciences, notwithstanding the efforts at the undergraduate level to increase female participation in these areas.
Math and science are critical to creating new technologies, so we should not be surprised if the number of male executives exceeds the number of female ones at start-up companies, where of course traditional hiring issues play no role.
Many women with children have a divided commitment to the workplace, given their greater commitments at home. An efficient division of labor within a marriage will typically require some level of specialization between the spouses, which is reflected in the well-established fact that men tend to put in substantially longer hours in the workplace than do women.
And last there is the question of what counts as a comfortable workplace environment. But it not possible to engineer these elements out of such positions in major firms. Senior executives have to travel a lot, spend weekends and nights on the job and constantly negotiate with difficult adversaries.
Part-time employment and job-sharing are out. One possibility that Sandberg does not mention could help explain why men and women take different paths in the workplace: Each employee makes a choice about the kind of job and lifestyle he or she wants. This hypothesis puts a very different spin on the observed data dealing with both promotion and wage differentials.
What the report misses is an alternative hypothesis for the observed trends. Those choices are exactly what we should expect of women trying to balance corporate life with family life to a greater degree than men.
At this point, the only way in which the numbers are likely to change is if CEOs put more pressure on their managers to promote women to higher positions, even at the cost of displacing men who are better suited for those positions. Firms have probably done this already to an extent, so that by now most of the low-hanging fruit has been picked.
The effort to create proportionality by gender in the executive suite creates greater internal pressure and subsidies. Sandberg is right to insist that firms that ignore the female talent pool run the risk of falling behind. No one is safe in making general prescriptions for all women in all corporate firms.
A decentralized set of decisions by individual firms that trade off the benefits of greater female participation against other firm benefits is the way to go. It is just these decentralized decisions that are totally disregarded in the California Fair Pay Act.(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation; therefore, identical numbers appear in the unadjusted and seasonally adjusted columns.
NOTE: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data. Equality in pay has improved in the US since when women earned about 62 percent as much as men. In , American women on average earned 81 percent of what their male counterparts earned (BLS ; DOL ).
Women’s participation in the U.S. labor force . The Foreign Workers Handbook Excerpts. I Labor Contracts. 1) Application of labor laws and regulations to foreign nationals.
As a general rule, Japanese laws concerning labor apply to all employees in Japan, regardless of nationality. Female veterans tend to continue their service in the labor force: About 3 out of 10 serve their country as government workers.
attheheels.com Editor's note: A text-only version of the graphic is below. In , the female labor force participation rate of Thai women over the age of 15 years was reported to be at approximately 64% and in was reported to be as high as 76%.
In , women's labor force participation rate of Thailand was % while men's labor force participation rate was %. - The Discrimination of Woman in the Workplace During the s and s, increasing numbers of married women entered the labor force, but in the average working woman earned only 63% of what a man made.