Temitayo Ayeni shares her thoughts on the active involvement of Women in the labour market and its effects on this special International Women’s day Edition on Thoughts with TY
In a male-dominated society, women often struggle to make their voices heard and to build a firm reputation for themselves. However, in recent times, the widespread feminist movement has got a lot of things changing. Women now stamp their feet, demanding what is rightfully theirs, and the workplace has become a major arena for this. Women have often suffered from gender discrimination and a predominance of men in the workplace. While this is still ongoing, we can say that it is not as rampant as it used to be. In the past, women were known to “suffer in silence”, in fact, some believed that some positions and societal hierarchy were not for them. They channeled their strengths and knowledge towards being better wives and mothers and building good homes. Now, women have thought twice and have been exposed to the light. They are aware of the strengths and power they possess, and the fact that they are no different from the opposite sex in terms of capabilities and effectiveness. They know that they can be just as successful and influential in the workplace as their male counterparts, and they are not shying away from proving this. This however has ignited the whole feminism movement not just as a theory, but as a revolution.
People who oppose the feminist movement to give women equal rights with men at work, often say that family will be majorly affected by this paradigm shift. It is believed that women are the backbone of the home, which is the primary institution of the family. However, it is clear that being sunk in “housework” and rearing kids, often leave some women feeling inadequate and wanting so much more. Often times, in an attempt to strike a balance between work and home, couples decide that the woman should quit her job in other to take care of the kids. A woman is often primarily seen as a domestic labor before anything else, especially in the African society. Leaders of the feminist movement argue that these things can be coordinated simultaneously into a woman’s daily routine. Meaning that a woman can be an exceptional boss as well as a kickass mom.Women who finally get to the work, do not usually find it easy getting to top positions in their organization. There are usually internal forces working against placing women in certain positions, even when they have earned it. However, women who have been lucky to break the glass ceiling, often do just as well as men. In fact, due to the determination garnered from backlashes and the zeal to prove chauvinists wrong, they often do better. The labor market could really make do with more female hands, perhaps the society will be a better place.
In workplaces today, women fight to be given the critical assignments that were previously carved out for the men. Some of these projects had benefits that were double the earnings ofwomen. The top positions in organizations, though still often occupied by men, have seen a rise in the number of women on the chair. According to Catalyst, a research company, companies who have more women in top positions often witness significant financial boost than those who do not.
Generally, this can significantly affect a country’s GDP, and in several western countries, this is already the case. Feminism in the workplace has also succeeded in amending some archaic HR policies that weren’t female friendly. This means that women can now boast of the same rights in the workplace in most organizations. In a lot of ways, this has come as a relief to many women, especially expectant mothers and nursing mothers who were primary targets of these obnoxious work rules. Many organizations now witness a strong competition among men and women, who struggle to remain significant in the organization. This competitive atmosphere has in fact proven healthy and beneficial to these organizations, as everyone is struggling to remain relevant and indispensable.
We cannot but wonder how the increasing number of roles played by women in the workplace has affected the home. Well, most working moms have less time to spend at home with their kids. Women who are career chasers are most often dedicated to their obsession to make an impact in their workplace and society at large. In pursuit of a balance between domestic and work activities, the former is less prioritized when due and undue pressure sets in. It is true that quite a number of females take to social media to lash out at men who they believe have unjustifiably dominated for too long, however, the wise ones know that there must be a balance and must not write off the relevance of the men in the society completely. The occupationof certain posts which were beyond the reach of women before has led to financial freedom which has led to the crave for power and dominance associated with it. While we cannot exactly say how all men feel about this, we are most certainly sure a large number of them do not find this shift in strata very comfortable. While mixed feelings continue to arise as a result of women seeking a higher table in their workplaces, some questions need to be asked? Do women see themselves as equals or superiors to men in their work places? Will women ever defy tradition and religion to assume some positions termed as farfetched? positions such as priests, imams and Generals in the army. While we ponder on this, let us celebrate the beautiful and hardworking all over the world who thrive both at home and at work!