Time’s Up: Workplace Edition
Muffet McGraw, the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, is going viral for her explanation on why she will no longer be hiring men. According to the 63-year-old Hall of Fame coach, there is more that professional women can be doing to help each other, and she plans on putting in the work herself. In an interview, she said “We don't have enough female role models. We don't have enough visible women leaders. We don't have enough women in power," further explaining that young women need people to look up to. People who look like them. She also went on to discuss the lack of power felt by young women all over the world, stating, "Girls are socialized to know when they come out, gender rules are already set. Men run the world. Men have the power. Men make the decisions.”
Although women have made great strides in the past 100 years, inequality in the workplace remains dismally high. It’s not too surprising, considering the workplace has been historically dominated by white men since the beginning of time, but the fact that women, especially minority women, continue to be paid less and treated worse is unacceptable. It’s also disappointing that there are still groups of people, including women, who do not acknowledge these gender discrepancies, despite the statistics blatantly pointing towards inequality.
In case you’re not up to date on the problems women face in the workforce, researchers report that at the current rate of change, the gender gap will not close until the year 2234. Additionally, women currently represent fewer than 50 percent of leaders in every industry, and over the past ten years, the proportion of female leaders has only increased by an average of 2 percentage points. Other issues include historically female-dominated industries paying their employees less than those with higher male representation, proving that our society still does not value women in the same way that it values men.
However, rather than taking a stand against these injustices, it seems that some people find it easier, or perhaps safer, to just turn a blind eye and wait for others to initiate change. But if nothing changes soon, forget about witnessing true gender equality in the workforce. At least, within your lifetime. That’s why actions like McGraw’s are so important: it’s imperative to push for reform, especially if you have the platform to do so.
Instead of having buddy-buddy relationships with other associates in their industry, women are kept isolated and encouraged to compete against one another. Instead of working in high-wage occupations, women are forced into indeterminate positions because they are told that certain jobs just aren’t for them. And, perhaps most importantly, instead of getting paid the same amount for doing the exact same job as men, women are paid less.
Don’t believe us? Look at Syracuse University! According to The Daily Orange, SU released a faculty salary review report which showed a huge university-wide gender pay gap. HUGE shocker right? The report proved that female faculty generally earned less than their male counterparts, and in SU’s case, female faculty made as little as 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Additionally, these inequities were found at each level—professor, associate professor, and assistant professor.
Has the university taken the actions necessary to resolve the pay equities? No. Have they tried? Sure. But guess what, “serious efforts” and actual changes are two different things. And this is what it is like all around the country in countless industries. We spend hours talking and debating about the problems surrounding workplace inequality, but it seems as though we never take concrete action. So if men aren’t listening, it’s up to women (per usual) to keep demanding the changes they want to see and to make the changes their damn selves.
No longer should women accept the social roles society currently casts them in. It’s high time for women to start earning and leading at the same rates as men, and that change can be made if powerful women like McGraw continue to push for increased representation. Female excellence is not an exception, it’s the norm, and it needs to be recognized as such.