Without doubt, the problems of women in the business world today stem from the historical treatment of women in general. In fact, it is only recently that women have been afforded any type of workplace equality. And even now, it is not enough for the millions of women trying to make a living and better themselves and their families. Many of the stereotypic ideas regarding women still exist and are seen everyday in small businesses and corporations alike. The question is how do we change these inconsistent trends to really help women? We identify the work patterns as inconsistent because the law says that both genders are equal, but the practices are far from the theory.
Reviewing the specific problems might help us to understand today's situation for women in the business world. Historically women have held positions that seemed better suited to their frail and gentle demeanor. Nurses, teachers, waitresses, nannies, cashiers and domestics were all "female appropriate" jobs. Further, although women helped in the war effort, it only seemed "right" that when the men returned, the males would regain the positions in the factories and elsewhere.
Traditionally, women were expected to get married. They had no need for jobs and if they did work before marriage, they were librarians, secretaries and telephone operators, but they always gave up their jobs after their weddings. In fact, a woman who worked while married was invariably frowned upon by others in the neighborhood. She was an oddity.
In addition to being married, a woman's purpose was to bear and raise children. Of course, holding down a job, much less an executive position, was completely irrational while a woman was pregnant. There was a time when people did not think it was moral to see a pregnant woman in the workplace. She was adorable at home, in the park, and at the grocery store, but there was no place for that type of behavior in the office.
Then there were the issues of education. Despite the fact that women attended college and higher education institutes, the business courses that they studied were generally secretarial in nature. Women were not supposed to learn about the dirty ways of businesses. Women, for the most part, did not go to medical school. Yes they went to nurse's college, but they did not become doctors. And while many women were responsible for bookkeeping duties, they were never the heads of the departments. Thus, women were not able to compete, even if they wanted to, since law schools and others were not necessarily open to females.
Because society had a strict and specific idea of the woman's role in business, it was very difficult to forge new paths. As feminists came forward to change male-dominated thinking, they were seen as troublemakers and oddballs. Even women, themselves, wondered about their agendas, seeing them as ruining the family, among other negative behaviors.
Finally, the most bizarre part of all this history is that women have been involved in business in a very large way. They stood behind powerful leaders, both political and business, many of which advised their husbands; women participated in cottage industries providing valuable goods and services; and women did make names for themselves in cosmetics and fashion designing companies, proving that they were more than capable of managing multi-million dollar corporations.
Further Reading Online
We are only a small web site, with only limited information available. These other online resources talk about stuff we feel is both relevant and interesting - so please read on!