By: Gabi Ambrusico
Growing up, I always thought about one day becoming an adult and having a real job. It used to excite me. I still remember my mom talking about how she was a professional working in a man’s field, and I never quite understood that – I didn’t know what that meant.
There are still some professions to this day that have this “man’s profession” stigma around it. This stigma is prevalent because there are typically more men working in that desired field and that women may have a more difficult time securing a job in that area because the profession is densely male-dominated. Fields of work such as architecture, construction, engineering, sales, the sports industry, and advertising are a few male-dominated categories in the workforce.
While watching “Mad Men”, I remember thinking that the show was supposed to take place in the 1950s; therefore, everything I was watching was blown out of proportion. All the men in the show are higher-paid, well-respected individuals, and all of the women are just their secretaries that run errands. However, we do get to watch Peggy’s growth through the business when she is granted a chance on the creative team with the rest of the men. She even eventually gets her own office. While reading more in depth about women in the workplace, I learned that we still see some of these stigmas occur.
AdAge conducted an experiment in which they set up an email address asking women to share gender bias and discrimination stories. They received over 100 responses with stories about women continually being talked over in meetings and in front of clients, inappropriately touched or spoken to, asked to run favors for men who are ranked way lower than them, asked to join a meeting to represent “females” in a room full of men, and so forth (Stein, 2017). I then started to read about statistics. According to Foresight Factory, only 4% of Fortune 500 companies’ CEOs are female. A shocking 40% of women believe they have been discriminated against because of their gender in the workplace. One out of three women have experienced sexual harassment at work. It is also estimated that the wage gap in the United States will not close before 2059, and it will take 217 years to close the world’s gender pay gap (“Gender Diversity”, 2016). While these are sad and alarming, there is still some hope. Claire Telling, co-CEO of Grace Blue, said: “The company has seen a massive increase in awareness of the need to have more female leaders at the top,” (Stein, 2017). This means that more female candidates are being cautious about joining a male-dominated or non-diverse company and are not afraid to be vocal about it. Men are also recognizing this and asking what they can do to help or change these issues.
There are also evolving organizations to help educate and stop gender bias and discrimination in the workforce. The Female Quotient’s mission is to help businesses achieve gender equality by providing statistics and facts about how much more businesses could achieve if equality existed there. They believe in “rewriting the rules of the workplace.” One of the interesting studies they have listed on their website is that over 900 companies show that organizations with three or more women in senior management positions score higher in every single dimension of organizational effectiveness (“Equality Matters”, 2019).
Equality Matters. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.thefemalequotient.com/equality-matters/
Gender Diversity in the US Media, Advertising and Creative Industry. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.foresightfactory.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Gender-Diversity-in-the-US-Media-Advertising-and-Creative-Industry-Report-2016-1.pdf
Stein, L. (2017, May 31). Advertising Is Still a Boys’ Club. Retrieved from https://adage.com/article/news/advertising-a-boy-s-club/309166