This paper provides an overview of gender inequality comparing Europe and North America through media perspectives and company front runners within each region. It will provide an analysis of the methods used by companies and how actions are successfully carried out. As well it will discuss the likelihood of sustaining and gender equal company and how quickly or slowly companies can change.
Discrimination is a very relevant topic today and has been in recent years. To discriminate in the labor market means to treat or favor a person on a basis other than individual merit. There are several ways that discrimination can occur, race, gender or disabilities are some examples. On the subject of gender discrimination there have been numerous studies concluding men have higher average incomes than women. Although, this does not always mean women are being discriminated against. The difference in wages can be explained by educational attainment, age, occupational choice, prior work experience and average weekly hours of work.
In many organizations today there have been changes from task specialized structures towards more integrated organizational structures (Lindbeck and Snower, 2000). Job rotation, learning across tasks, teamwork, decentralization of responsibility and worker participation in decision making are now common work practices. These forms of human resource management were adopted by over 71 percent of U.S firms (Ostermann, 1994; 2000). In Europe the number was considerably lower but Scandinavian countries were more frequent to adopt these new structures than the rest of Europe.
A company aiming to be a frontrunner in equal rights has to first create equal promotion rights in their company; to ensure female workers have the same chance of being promoted as male workers. Secondly, it is important that men and women in the same position have equal pay for the equal work they are doing. Thirdly, creating quality control and job rotation in the firm, so that typical "male dominant" jobs are more diversified. It is of high importance that all different jobs are open for all candidates because a diversified workforce often leads to better work environment and better results.
[...] These actions are assessed by taking account of: Information and raising awareness of the gender mix and equality of managers, employees and their representatives; Internal communication operations, adapted to the size of the company, to promote gender mix and equality; The signing of a company agreement in the gender equality at work area. The second area is centered on the management of human resources and management. It concerns: Actions taken to strengthen the equality of access of women and men to ongoing vocational training; The analysis of indicators relating to general work conditions and training of men and women in the company, in order to draw up goals; The policy aimed at the gender mix of employees in the different decision-making committees (board, executive committee, strategic committee). [...]
[...] So even though American Express has had some problems in some divisions earlier they now symbolize a highly respected company that has an impressing company culture and diversity to show off. Analysis of European frontrunners Analyzing a small sample of European organizations progress made on the front of gender equality becomes clearer. The companies discussed have successfully implemented programs and procedures promoting gender equality and shall serve as exemplary organizations within Europe and worldwide. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2007, the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland) place highest on the overall measure. [...]
[...] Operating within a male-dominated industry this organization is well recognized for its progress in promoting gender equality among its workforce. Alike Sweden, Norway has also imposed governmental legislation and bodies to govern and supervise gender issues in the private sector and ranks second place on the Gender Gap Index. Norway's main strategy in achieving gender equality has been to strengthen women's economic independence through increasing their labor market participation.[xvii] The Norwegian welfare system aims to take care of all people from birth to death in a gender neutral manner and makes it easier for individuals to find balance between work and family. [...]
[...] The stories are mainly focused on women gaining positions of power, and new policies and laws to enforce gender equality. Even though different countries are at different places with gender equality, Europe as a whole seems to be actively striving to close the gap. Countries are looking to each other as examples. The United States has acknowledged the issue of gender equality, and the press has been discussing it for a long time though no major progressions seem to be happening. [...]
[...] If a company is not actively promoting gender equality then they may very well be defending themselves in court. Lawsuits are very common in the United States. An upside of this passive approach is that it allows companies more freedom. Companies are not forced to hire a certain percentage of males or females, and so in theory, should always be able to choose the best candidate for the job. They are not limited to only female applicants to meet a quota, and can make their own policies that work best for the individual company. [...]
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