Students talk about why gender inequality in the workplace still exists
The Santa Clara
February 15, 2018
“Out of the 500 companies in the S&P 500, only 32 of the CEOs are women,” senior Emily Monroe said to a diverse group of Santa Clara students gathered in Vari Hall Monday night.
The dozen students met to discuss gender inequality in the workplace and their own experiences with the topic.
The talk was led by Monroe, a management major with a minor in international business.
She works at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics as part of the Hackworth Fellowship, which works to promote ethical reflection and action to undergraduates at the university.
The information about the S&P 500 came from Catalyst, a website dedicated to getting women on boards of prominent companies.
“[Getting women on to boards] is notoriously hard, though, because a lot of boards want you to have CEO experience in order to get on,” Monroe said.
The hour-long gathering brought to light statistics of gender inequality in the United States today, and sparked discussion between the students in attendance.
“I want us all to be on the same page and talk about the state of gender equality right now,” Monroe said. “I want us to talk about our own experiences, what we have seen, what the problems are and why they still exist.”
Although many of the people in attendance were strangers prior to the talk, they united behind their interest and fascination in the topic.
Some of the statistics Monroe revealed included the fact that North America is only 72 percent gender equal in the workplace.
“That sounds good until you think about what that actually means which is that women only have 72 percent of the opportunities that a man of equal position has,” Monroe said.
Monroe also brought up the fact that the United States is declining in terms of gender balance in the workplace.
“This past year, gender equality has actually gotten worse in the U.S.,” Monroe said. “We have slipped four spots just in the last year. The U.S. is now ranked 49th out of 144 countries measured. In 2006, we were 23rd.”
One of the main topics that the discussion focused on was why gender inequality in the workplace is still an issue in 2018, despite everyone’s awareness of the imbalance.
“If you look at CEO-aged men and women, those women come from a culture that was 30 years ago,” sophomore Spencer McLaughlin said. “In order to get up to the top to become an executive, it takes a really long time and a lot of women haven’t had that time because they came from a culture where that’s not what they did. To be a CEO, you had to start a long time ago and a long time ago, women weren’t in that state of mind,” McLaughlin said.
All students in attendance agreed on one thing for sure: the change wouldn’t happen overnight.
“It’s not going to happen immediately,” sophomore Mara Strong said, co-President of HeForShe, a student organization on campus that advocates for the advancement of women.
“It’s a very systemic problem. Rigid gender stereotypes are still an issue but it’s going to take time for the generations become equal.”.
Although the gathering initiated intimate conversations on the topic between people who were strangers right before the talk, students were unable to understand why things aren’t changing for the better and instead, are getting worse.
“The government can’t figure it out, the world can’t figure out what we could do to solve these issues,” Monroe said. “So before we can figure out how to solve these issues, we have to figure out why these are still issues in 2018.”
Contact Kimi Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.