Difficulties and problems for working women Christoforos Mitsios | November 18, 2016
The Greek reality reveals that today’s women are far from equal to men despite the commitments for gender discrimination eradication. Furthermore, organizations do not appear to occupy women in management positions or provide them with the same opportunities for career development. The fear of abandoning a position of critical importance that might not be easily replaced is raised as the main argument by the organizations.
In an attempt to shed light on the social realities that embrace all the activities women are engaged in (organizational and non-organizational), it is derived that the multiplicity of different perspectives leads the (social) researcher to the adoption of a tactically dynamic strategy, meaning that the development of knowledge will not come from a deterministic process but from a critical attitude based on the social realities which were mentioned above. Another task here is to understand that the radical developments and the continuous uncertainty as far as the woman employment is concerned, affect not only their social identity (work and home identity) but also their environment in which they act and live in. This ambiguity, leads many women – especially those who live in urban areas in which the cost of life becomes unbearable nowadays – to seek employment beyond the legal limits, such as low paid jobs or jobs with no social security. What is more, a large amount of women is occupied in family business, shaping the non-paid labor.
All these actions, which are done under the umbrella of discrimination – no one can be concrete that gender discrimination is eradicated – and profit, do not enable women to develop the fundamental element of humanity, the identity-personality. On the contrary, they are obliged to adjust their thinking and actions to the ever changing work environment, at the expense of their self-identity, in order to secure their survival in the organization. The McDonaldization of the society – the modern perspective of Taylorism some theorist could argue – and the muscular character of the organizations are only some of the challenges that modern women have to overcome.
On the other hand though, who can speak of what is ethic and what is not, as far as the work environment is concerned. Leaving the European reality and focusing on third world countries, the word exploitation for the “civilized” society, for those women who work in sweatshops for one or two dollars might mean the difference between life and starvation. However, there is a large number of cases, which women become loyal to their abusers, regardless of being offered a safer environment – home or work environment. This phenomenon, widely known as “The Stockholm Syndrome” has been of great interest for social scientists and psychologists, attempting to explain the inner reasons for such behaviors.
Whether a woman works under harsh or ideal conditions, the inter-organizational environment and all the relationships that are developed in, construct and affect a plethora of characteristics that constitute one’s identity. The reaction between social actors and work environments influences not only human beings but also organizations. Under this subjectivist view, culture is not taken as something pre existent but rather as the result of a continuously created complex social phenomenon.
The emergent character of women identity is also affected by the other social environment, the home environment. Undoubtedly, a woman handles a great number of tasks that men cannot. From birth giving and raising the children to decorating and keeping the house clean. All the above which are fundamental elements of every society, are not acknowledged as they should have been.
These roles that every modern woman performs, sometimes may lead to conflicts especially for women who have to raise children or cope with organic problems that discourage them from working. The last one can become a factor for further problems such as psychological as the absence from production without her wanting it, might cause serious vibrations to a woman’s self-esteem.
In conclusion, this article tried to articulate some aspects of the difficulties and problems modern women face today. The results of the globalized society, and the adoption of a bankrupted policy against discriminative, offensive and violent behavior which despite its failure, is still followed, calls for immediate response. However, the declaration and suggestion of a better policy is far different from problem solving. This means that new ideas and thoughts should be developed not only in theory but also in action.