Managing Diversity and Equality Essay
In today’s society, the role that women play in all facets of life cannot be overstated. The title given to the article accurately indicates the core issue that the article seeks to address; empowering of women in the work environment.
The authors propose that affirmative action is one of the surefire ways to ensure that women make a notch in the male-dominated science and engineering field, a view which is echoed by Layne (2009, p.166) who asserts that the combination of affirmative action and bureaucratic formalism are the core reasons for the advancement of women in the aerospace industry.
The article also acknowledges that there have been significant strides made in the battle for female representation in the workplace. However, research by Niederle, Segal & Vesterlund (2008) indicates that despite the achievements that the fight for gender equality has brought, there is still a disparity in the labour market whereby men are disproportionately allocated to professional and managerial occupations.
It is with these undertones that the authors expresses disappointment at the pace at which changes are taking place especially in the engineering field. The authors go on to contend that in some cases, it is the young women themselves who are the Achilles heel in the development process since they deem engineering work as “dirty” and therefore better suited for their male counterparts.
This is contrary to the older women folk who regard science and engineering as the front which will provide the “best opportunities for the next generation”. Only by offering forums for female students can this mindset be changed therefore ensuring that even more women are represented in science and engineering.
A critique of the article
The agenda of this article is clearly stated out and the arguments presented therein only serve to reinforce it. The main issue proposed by the article is the empowerment of women through higher education and other schemes and programs. This is because getting more women enrolled into higher education programs implies better access to top managerial position by the women (Long 2004).
In particular, the article looks at the science and engineering field which has traditionally been a male stronghold. The paper contends that only through affirmative action can managing diversity be established. In addition to this, the article concedes with the views expressed by Prasad (1997, p.64) who asserts that education is of equally vital importance in ensuring that females contend favourably in the work environment.
This article is written from both a political and socio-economic point of view. On a political note, the article hints at the government and other institutes being responsible for developing radical strategies to increase race and gender diversity in the work place.
Many countries have developed such measures as a result of which progress has been made in the increasing of women’s representation in decision making as a direct result of the special measures put in place (Konrad, Prasad & Pringle 2006, p.496). However, most of the bias of the article is on the social dynamic whereby work inequality and a review of the currently held perspective of engineering by women is called for.
The theme of inequality in the high level jobs is addressed by the article. The article reports that most of the high position jobs are still dominated by men and it is only through the employment of long term strategies that this status quo can be offset.
This long term strategies involve empowering women from the base level therefore making them more inclined to undertaken courses that are normally male saturated. This is seen to be the only way through which women can gain meaningful employment and increase female representation not only in the job market as a whole but also in professions like engineering and science in particular.
The article reinforces the notion that the battles that are waged by the modern day feminist movements are very different from those waged by the feminist organizations of the early 80’s. In the early years, the organizations where concerned with such issues as equal pay, increase in female education opportunities, equal employment opportunities and granting of women the same rights as men (Thomas1992).
Observably, all of these issues have effectively been achieved in the UK as a result of the past lobbying and change in the cultural perception of women. However, as the article suggests, women cannot be expected to compete on equal footing on grounds which have been predominantly male oriented.
As such, the feminist organizations of the present day are strategies of empowerment which diversification of work place and a shift in the traditional mode of operation so as to ensure the involvement of minorities (women in this case) in the organization structure (Konrad, Prasad, Pringle, 2009, 486)
The article suggests that most organizations have to appreciate the fact that differences do exist among employees and if these differences are properly managed, they can become an asset to work being done more efficiently (Kandola & Fullerton 2003, p.7). In most engineering jobs, women are perceived to being unable to conform to the working patterns that their male counterparts adopt and as such are deemed to be unable to compete with men without assistance.
Kirton and Greene (2005, p.217) articulate that this thoughts are adverse to the women since the various provisions made to them are seen as benefits rather than entitlements. Organizations should therefore rethink their ways and make changes to adapt to the dynamic workforce which is increasingly being made up of women.
The article aims to make both an emotional as well as logical appeal to its readerships. On an emotional level, the article highlights the plight of women who were once reduced to only apprentice roles in the work environment with the men taking the roles of executives and other high level jobs. The article the proceeds to tell of the great strides that women have made in righting this wrongs. The expression of these statements is no doubt meant to evoke feelings making the reader sympathetic to women and their cause.
Logically, the article gives facts and figures which can be crosschecked to ascertain the truth. The article gives solid steps that can be taken to ensure that women are better empowered through the use of education and special programs and forums. These logical steps articulated in a concise manner will no doubt appeal to the philosophical reader.
One of the strengths of this article is that it does not restrict itself to merely echoing statistics but goes ahead to state the credible sources from which this figures have been obtained. This is especially useful for a reader who would be interested in following up the various issues raised in the article.
The citation of the sources also adds to the credibility of the articles contents since if one is in doubt, they are afforded with an opportunity to countercheck the various claims made. The article also gives concrete programs that have been set out to further the female cause by assisting young students in their decision makings.
The major weakness of the article is in its brevity. As such, the reader is only afforded a brief glimpse into the subject before the authors move on into a different matter. In addition to this, the article assumes a myopic stance by assuming that forums and other low key programs of the sort can undo the social perception of sciences and engineering as male domains. With time, this perceptions that have been drilled down through our various socializations can be washed away but it will take more effort and time than the article suggests.
The overall presentation and clarity exhibited by this article are excellent given the issue being discussed. However, it has to be admitted that this article is far from being conclusive in addressing the various issues that it raised.
Given the shear scope of the issues that the article sets out to talk about, the authors should have dedicated more space to talk about the issues so as to provide the reader with a most solid grasp of the subject as opposed to merely skimming over the issues.
Despite this deficiency, the article does achieve its principle objective; to set the reader thinking about the need for programs that promote the interest of the female student in scientific and engineering fields.
Cornelius, N 2002, Building workplace equality: ethics, diversity and inclusion, 2nd ed, Cengage Learning EMEA.
Kandola, R S & Fullerton, J 2003, Diversity in action: managing the mosaic, CIPD Publishing.
Kirton, G & Greene, M A 2005, The dynamics of managing diversity, Butterworth-Heinermann.
Konrad, M A Prasad, P & Pringle, K J 2006, Handbook of workplace diversity, Sage.
Layne, M 2009, Women in Engineering: Professional Life, ASCE Publications.
Niederle, M Segal, C & Vesterlund, L 2008, How Costly is Diversity: Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness, Stanford University.
Prasad, P 1997, Managing the organizational melting pot: dilemmas of workplace diversity, Sage.
Thomas, R 1992, Beyond race and gender: unleashing the power of your total work force by managing diversity, AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.
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Introduction In today’s society, the role that women play in all facets of life cannot be overstated. The title given to the article accurately indicates the core issue that the […]