Women's Wages - A Vicious Cycle
One of my final readings reviews were "Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership" and "Diversity and Community in the 21st Century". Both were surprising at many levels. Reading "Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership", I was struck by the causal relationship drawn between the use of the metaphor of the glass ceiling and its impact on solutions proposed. I would never have realized that metaphors were that loaded. The labyrinth, I agree, is a more accurate metaphor. However, it fails to reflect a vicious cycle. Women are paid less, so when choices have to be made as to who should cut hours, or drop their career, to care for an elderly parent, raise kids or move when a spouse changes jobs, women take the hit. That reinforces every assumption about women in the workforce and the cycle continues. I think one of the root causes that women are paid less has much to do with how parenting is viewed. Since women tend to be the maincaregivers, I advocate a paradigm shift when attaching a value to parenting. Women would not be paid less than men, or considered second choice for a job, if parenting were given an economic value. Rather than see it as a ‘drain’, parenthood should be acknowledged as no less than the very fuel for tomorrow’s economic engine; an ‘incubator’ for the next generation of great leaders. Absentee parenting, instead, should be deemed a drain on the promise of a bright future. Parenting requires team building, negotiation, decision-making, compromise, multi-tasking, long hours, and working under stressful conditions. The years spent as a full time parent should be given equal if not more importance, as a job in the “official” workplace, rather than a gap in one’s career.