Modern women have made a deep impression on the job market. Currently, sixty-six percent of America’s work force is composed of women, which makes a huge statement in terms of equal employment opportunity, at least at face value. More women are being hired, but a disproportionately small number are advancing into middle and senior management level. Only twenty-one percent of middle management positions are comprised of women, and only sixteen percent hold a senior management position. The only true exceptions to these figures are in the humanities and in education.
Women continue to be discriminated against in areas that are viewed as “male jobs”, despite their qualifications and field of expertise. Women are routinely passed up for management positions in mechanical engineering, research and development, finance, or as construction supervisors. They are often held back, their abilities transferred to front desk office space that serves more as window dressing than as full utilization of their abilities, their educational qualifications ignored while they serve as secretaries, receptionists or other types of public relations personnel.
Significantly, this form of show room discrimination is against the law in many states that have ordinances banning discrimination against physical appearances. Many companies and organizations sidestep this law by using a bonafide occupational qualifications defense. Since state and federal mandates do not restrict this bias, companies are often able to get away with refusing to hire or advance women based on their looks, size or age.
Although equal employment laws protect against discrimination toward hiring older women, they do not protect women under forty. Youthful looking women may be passed up for a management position based on their appearance. More young women, between ages 18 and 35, feel they are being discriminated against for their age than older women.
A woman should not be passed up for a position because she has children. She should not be discriminated against because of her looks, size or age. Discrimination against looks can apply to both attractiveness and not having the “desired” looks for a job. While attractive women become stuck in show room positions, women are often passed up for not having a “classic American” look. This can apply not only to those whose looks are ruled as unsightly, but also to Hispanics, blacks and Asian Americans. Recent rulings determined that the hiring of women for business management positions should not be based on a sorority appearance.
I am attorney Jamon Hicks and I am sensitive to the unique problems facing women who have left behind business management in order to start their own small businesses. Entrepreneurship aside, the world of high profile business is still dominated by men who want to decide the success or failure of women who seek to own or operate a business. When you work with me, you are hiring an expert in business management who understands the many obstacles women face in presenting a strong business profile.
With over half the work force dominated by women, it’s time to level the playing field!