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discrimination at work


             In countries such as Brazil, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Macao, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore, women earn 60 percent less than what men earn (256). Although U.S. figures aren't as extreme as these, women face discrimination in the workplace. In 1999, women held only 5.1 percent of top executive management positions, and only 3.3 percent of companies" highest paid workers were women (256). The term glass ceiling is used to describe the situation in which qualified women aspire to fill high positions but are prevented from doing so by the invisible institutional barriers (256). Discrimination of women in the workplace is a result of men's power and their reluctance to give up resources and their control over women and can be summed up for women of corporate America by looking at four categories.
             First, the quality of women's work tends to be undervalued. Frequently, studies asking participants to assess a piece of work have found that it is evaluated less favorably when said to have been done by a women than when the same piece is attributed to a man (257). Although the tendency to favor a man's work is not always found, when differences in evaluation are found they tend to favor men. Further, women's successes tend to be attributed to "luck", and competent women are sometimes described as "unfeminine". Society's distrust in women's abilities results from the stereotypical roles which label women as less assertive and expert than men.
             A second form of discrimination of women in the work place involves making unjustified assumptions about women's values. Whereas men are assumed to have values that tend to perpetuate the system, women's values are assumed to challenge it. Felicia Pratto and her colleagues conducted a study testing the status of the positions for which men and women were most likely to be hired. They found that women were favored to fulfill hierarchy-attenuating jobs (jobs that seek to change the system or improve the lot of people who have been marginalized); men, on the other hand, were favored for the hierarchy-enhancing jobs (which maintain and strengthen the status quo).


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