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newsflash: there is sexism in the workplace

a slightly rambling “explanation” of the dearth of women at the top of fortune 500 companies.

i agree with the assertion that the feminist movement is backsliding (in comparison to, say, the anti-racist movement, if there’s such a thing). actually i’ve been saying it all along, but whatever.

Key indicators such as pay, board seats, and corporate-officer posts all reflect a leveling off or drop in recent years. Although the gap between men’s and women’s pay narrowed significantly through the 1980s, gains since then have been partly erased by a drop every few years. In 2006, women over the age of 25 earned 78.7 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Labor Department. That’s a decline from 2005’s figure of 79.4 cents on the dollar and also represents only about a 5-cent increase since 1991.

feel free to read the 2 paragraphs after that one to get more depressed.

what’s going on here? the story offers a couple answers: plain ol sexism and sexual harassment, women’s rejection that there’s even a problem, and some point about the way women display their looks and sexuality (i’ll be honest, i didn’t really know what the author was trying to say–are we supposed to be hot or ugly? i need to find out b/c i’m picking my outfit for tomorrow).

but the most striking takeaway from the piece was that women–for a host of reasons–aren’t very interested in playing the cutthroat game involved in corporate management. they reject the idea, and consequently rarely rise to the top of it–explaining the pitiful lack of female leadership in fortune 500 companies.

“Women go into top jobs thinking that hierarchy is foolishness: Let’s clean this up. And we lose.”

i’m not sure i feel comfortable endorsing this (victim blaming?), but all the competitiveness supposedly necessary to succeed reminds me of middle school girls vying for power and status. if only women could apply those lessons to their careers, all our problems would be solved.

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