Women make up a large part of the labour force, yet they earn less pay as well as fewer seats are given in the C-suite compared to men, especially in male-dominated professions such as technology and finance.
“Occupational sorting” is the main reason for the gender gap as men choose careers which have a higher pay rate than men. In the US only 26 per cent of workers in math and computer jobs are women while the rest are men. Researchers say one possible reason why women aren't a part of these professions or are shying away because they do not have the required confidence.
Few of them may feel they do not have the ability to compete them in the fields of technology, science and maths. Also, women aren't very comfortable in sharing their ideas when it comes to group discussion in any of these subjects. This is so because they are often told that men are naturally good in these subjects. Thus, women give up easily despite being talented.
This low self-esteem plays a great role in holding the women back and stop them from pursuing some very prestigious positions. They feel reluctant even to digest the fact they can actually succeed in these professions or fields.
To change this, women should first change their beliefs which they have for themselves. This helps in changing all the important decisions we take be it the college they apply to, the career path they choose. It all begins with what we believe in.
There was an experiment regarding stereotypes and belief updating for the Coffman's working paper. The participants had to complete a timed taste on five topics, i.e., arithmetic reasoning, general science, mechanical comprehension, math knowledge and lastly assembling objects.
Once the test was done, they were asked to guess the total number of answers which was correct, at the same time compare their performance with that of others. A woman who scored equal to another man thought that her score was 0.58 points lower which is quite a significant gap.
What's more surprising is that even after providing them with the necessary feedback the wall of gender gap didn't seem to fall.
In another study, the participants were asked to guess how they had performed in a random test to any randomly assigned subject as well as predict their rank and compare it with others who gave the same test along with them.
The researchers then provided the participants with their results and found that men and women both did quite good in their subjects.
Stereotypes play very strongly in our minds. Thus, it becomes quite tough to convince people of their potential and talent. A policy which was adopted to bridge the confidence gap of women regarding certain subjects which was said to be male-typed was by encouraging them when it was noticed that they were really good at it.
But this wasn't as effective as it was thought to be in convincing women for the same.
A research team made two groups which had a free-form discussion regarding the topic “maleness”. One of the groups the participants were well aware of the gender of the other participants while in the other group the participants weren't aware of the gender of the other speakers.
While the experiment took place, it was seen that men and women were equally capable of giving the answers to the question. However, the gender stereotypes did affect the response of the people.
It was seen that with the increase in “maleness” of the questions, women were less likely to promote their ideas on the topics compared to males where the gender of the participants was known. The same questions when asked to women where the gender of the group of people was not known there wasn't much difference in the response of men and women.
When it comes to achieving professional success, one must voice her opinions as well as advocate for one's ideas. Thus, it is the responsibility of women to voice their opinion when male-typed subjects come forward. Also, it is your responsibility to appreciate those ideas. Once you do that, women will be automatically encouraged to express them.
It is also very important for managers and business leaders to encourage their female staff and employees if they see their female counterparts doing well. Small recognition and appreciations work a long way in encouraging and motivating women. They also need to reduce the gender pay gap by working for this in a constructive way.
These are a few situations wherein you can help and encourage women. Thus, being in society, do your part in motivating women and bridging the gap between the two genders.