Gender Roles in the Financial Sector

I have chosen a financial/banking set-up to represent the workplace. This is an interesting representation of gender and labor because women are pursuing education to the same level as men, yet upon visiting a bank, for example, one realizes the unequal representation of gender in this workplace. The bank is a very interesting unit of analysis because of the manner in which changes are done with reference to particular positions.

This paper aims to discuss this observable pattern by analyzing various research articles on gender and roles in the financial sector (banks and entrepreneurship ventures). There is limited literature regarding gender roles in banks; hence the inclusion of entrepreneurship in relation to accessing loaning facilities.

The concept of gender and associated roles have undergone tremendous changes in the recent past as women attempt to make their voices heard in society. There is so much push for affirmative action on the concept of gender equalization, but it seems that this dream is yet to be achieved. Indicate that even after 30 years after endorsing the anti-discrimination law, the pay package for an average woman in the U.K. is less than that of her male counterpart by two-thirds. In addition, women are given more domestic and caring roles; hence, the reason why women can’t get ahead in financial ventures (Marlow & Patton, 2005).

As the demands of job qualifications in the financial sector increase, the number of women meeting these qualifications has increased because the number of women seeking advanced education has increased ten-folds (Bertrand, Goldin & Katz, 2009). Despite the fact that women have really worked hard towards gaining personal development, they are not getting ahead in the financial world. There are indications that women are under-represented in the financial sector from 1992 to 1997. In an earlier study by Betrand and Hallock (cited in Bertrand, Goldin & Katz, 2009), only 2.5% of the population in various firms were women, and topping it up, there was major under-representation of women in higher positions.

According to Brown (1992), there is a need for feminists to fight for the rights of women in a world where male dominance has taken root. Male dominance is associated with women’s suffrage, as seen in pornography and female-headed impoverished households. This dominance in the social context has been translated into male dominance in the workplace; hence, women are not able to reach their maximum potential. Women have all along been deemed as objects for deriving pleasure by men. This phenomenon is the reason why women continue to be under-represented in certain employment sectors, for example, the financial sector. Brown’s theory is applicable in the current society because of the manner in which masculinity has been camouflaged by increased numbers of women in less rewarding jobs.

Brown (1992) argues that women discrimination in the workplace stems from society’s perception that the woman is a fragile being that needs to be protected. The economic, political, cultural and social structures of the society dictate gender characterization; and as of now, there is still a lot that is yet to be achieved in streamlining these structures to fit the current gender patterns in relation to capability. The current social structures are developed with the notion that the woman is not capable of doing that which a man can do.

According to Watson (cited in Marlow & Patton, 2005), one’s ability to perform at the workplace is not only affected by one’s gender orientation. The authors show an insignificant difference between total income and total assets in both men and women. Bertrand, Goldin and Katz (2009) have put up a very interesting discussion about the unequal representation of women in the financial sector. According to these authors, women are less willing to take part in more aggressive roles; hence, the under-representation. In addition, the woman is shown to have poor negotiation skills for pay and promotion. Of interest to this paper, and commensurate to Brown’s theory, is the gender discrimination against women in male-dominated workplaces that makes it impossible for even the talented woman to get recognition in the workplace.

Women are given insufficient financial support in comparison to their male counterparts. Demonstrate that employment prior to indulgence in self-employment is a determinant of access to resources. Unfortunately, given the poor representation of women in the workplace, they are not able to adequately save to start-up to large enterprises. As a result, the profit margins are even less because men are able to invest in the larger business as compared to women. Segregation of jobs and opportunities based on gender is a prominent phenomenon in the U.S. labour market that will not just go away. As usual, the woman is the affected, and such a feature has pernicious effects, such as poverty (Huffman, Cohen & Pearlman, 2010).

Rolfe and Metcalf (2009) have shown a different scenario on gender roles and equality in the financial sector, focusing on banks and insurance. According to a report by Rolfe and Metcalf (2009, p. 12), there have been increased efforts to aid in the rise of women’s representation in senior roles. In fact, it shows that the percentage of women to men in the financial sector is 51 % to 49%, respectively. Ironically, men hold 66% of managerial and senior positions and 72% of executive positions. On the other hand, women are given secretarial, administrative, customer service and sales positions (p. 17).

Apparently, better representation prevails in motor trades, community work and public administration. According to their report, the financial sector makes up most of the employment opportunities among women: one in 20women work in the financial sector. To a different angle, also argue that discrimination is inextricable in these financial institutions as women are not able to rise to these senior positions that the banks and insurances, allegedly, are trying to create.

The societal structures, which are embedded in employment, do not support the woman as they claim. The society/state is defined by its ability to influence the lives of its people through four modalities, which masculinity is a part. In addition, the capitalist modality restricts the provision of resources to the woman. The society expects the woman to take care of the house; yet due to suppressed room for expression, the woman has gone into the world to find her identity through better education.

However, the fact that the woman is expected to be caring does not exempt them from caring for their young ones; hence, they are deemed incapable of handling both family and work-related issues (Caputo & Dolinsky, 1998). The woman is fighting a battle that seems endless. The fact that gender stereotyping prevails in the current evidence-based society is problematic. The women bore the very same male counterparts who harass them, even sexually; women should be accorded the respect they deserve.

There is so much irony regarding gender roles. According to Brown (1992), women are powerless beings that need protection, giving men the notion that they are in charge. This ‘protection’ has been misunderstood and has been a reason for misguided behaviour from men. This notion is associated with restriction of women into some spheres of society, while they are confined with others. In actual sense, this poor perception bores male-dominance.

Male-dominance is associated with the perception that women are men’s prey, and by hook and crook, men will hunt them down in a bid to get sexual favours. As a matter of fact, sometimes women are denied opportunities for promotion if they refuse to give in to the demands of the men in question. In the current world where men are evading family responsibility, such kind of sexual harassment has an effect on the woman’s self-confidence. Despite the fact that feminists are fighting for measures to redress damage that has already occurred, addressing the cause is equally important.

The history of male dominance goes a long way, and at the current moment, there has been an improvement. Initially, defined by the four modalities of the state as explained by Brown, the woman was strictly shut away from the world where rights were issued, political power wielded and wages earned (1992, p. 13-15). The issuance of liberal rights to men gives them the right to interact freely with the civil society while refraining from family responsibilities, all of which are placed on the woman. While men go about excelling in their careers and establishing large enterprises, the woman is limited to her unpaid domestic responsibilities.

According to gathered literature, there is no conclusive statement as to the current position of gender in employment. Whereas some highlight increased efforts to support female integration into the workplace, others argue against this, indicating that the world is still dominated by male-dominated norms. Despite the fact that the woman is doing all she can to be better, the man is overshadowing all this by taking up the better and more rewarding positions in a financial institution. In addition, the very same financial institutions discriminate against lending to women. As a result, women have poor access to resources if they wish to be self-employed.

References

Bertrand, M., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. (2009). Dynamics of the gender gap for young professionals in the financial and corporate sectors. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research. Web.

Brown, W. (1992). Finding the Man in the State. Feminist studies, 18(1), 7-34.

Caputo, R., & Dolinsky, A. (1998). Women’s choice to pursue self-employment: The role of financial and human capital of household members. Journal of Small business Management, 36(3). Web.

Huffman, M., Cohen, P., & Pearlman, J. (2010). Engendering Change: Organizational Dynamics and Workplace Gender Desegregation,1975—2005. Administrative Science Quarterly, 55(2), 255-277.

Marlow, S., & Patton, D. (2005). All credit to men? Entrepreneurship, finance, and gender. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29(6), 717-735.

Metcalf, H., & Rolfe, H. (2009). Employment and earnings in the finance sector: A gender analysis. Manchester: Equality and Human Rights commission.