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Invisible Barrier Felt by Women

MindOpen is proud to feature the work of our summer interns who learned about running a social justice consulting firm. The following blog “Invisible Barrier Felt by Women” by Gurleen Sandals focuses on advocating for women's rights within the workplace and ways to overcome these barriers.

About the author:

Gurleen Sandals is a student and young professional whose interests include music, painting, writing, poetry, traveling, exercising,and photography. She was an Intern with MindOpen this summer, focusing on marketing and communications. Gurleen is a graduate of Midwood High School and will be a Senior at Berkeley College in the Fall.

a dark background with woman with a ponytail standing in front of a light that is a little visible
Source: Unsplash

Women constantly face barriers that challenge their competence and hinder their progress towards higher managerial roles. Gender stereotypes have been used to hold women back regardless of the number of higher qualifications and efforts they exert. In the 2000s, women held only 12.5% of corporate officer positions in 2000 and 12.4% of board seats in 2001 among the largest companies, and the data has been slow to improve since then. Reality paints a different picture where women are purposely held back from occupying leadership positions since male legacy assures success that no one wants to risk. This concept is known as the glass ceiling.

Gender Bias in Representation

What makes women receive different treatment? Male candidates often dominate informal shortlists during the recruitment process, as highlighted by Brian J. Hughes et al. in their article “Research: To Reduce Gender Bias in Hiring, Make Your Shortlist Longer”. As for women, work is generally an obstacle for them to take out time to perform their duties as a daughter, mother, wife, and more. Only 8.2% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies are occupied by women as disclosed by the recent research article “Women CEOs of the S&P 500 (List)”. It is safe to say that women are often underestimated in their working capability, which is why men in power pass on such comments doubting their expertise.

Equal Pay Challenges:

There is a set status quo in the corporate workforce that respects the legacy of men in power. When working in a male-dominated corporation, women may try to downplay this barrier since it will be a disadvantage for them once recognized. Obtaining a certain percentage of seats in top-tier managerial positions doesn’t imply that the battle for equal representation is over. Even as women make progress in managerial roles, the gender-pay gap is still a barrier.

National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) developed Equal Pay Day in 1996 as a public awareness event to help demonstrate the gap in wages earned by men and women,choosing a particular Tuesday in March to symbolize how far into the year all women must work to match what men earned last year. Since women earn less they need to work longer to achieve the same pay, making the gap stronger for women of color, who face additional challenges in the workforce culture. The Building Movement Project highlights challenges leaders of color have faced despite leadership being attained implying glass cliffs to be a common reality. There are various Equal Pay Days for identities to consider how race and marginalized social identities play a factor in this issue as well.

  • Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay: April 5

  • LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day: June 15

  • Black Women’s Equal Pay Day: July 27

  • Moms’ Equal Pay Day: August 15

  • Latina’s Equal Pay Day: October 5

  • Native Women’s Equal Pay Day: November 30

Empowerment Through Coaching

The work done at MindOpen helps coach mindsets toward true excellence through hardship. Career coaching is provided to help address the challenges individuals face due to many factors helping them feel empowered to perceive true justice. The Empowered Career Development program supports students and new professionals, empowering them to pursue social justice while enhancing their career journey through personal branding and leadership support. It will ensure working women's success isn’t limited to their gender. The services will allow women to gain great career services like interview prep, elevator pitches, and networking skill sets that can prepare them for positions of leadership.

As a young woman, I truly feel the need for a great support panel to aid me in my journey to success in leadership. I need to feel okay to have power and lead confidently into the unknown steps. My time as an intern with MindOpen has helped me value the hard work I put in each time for every task knowing my capability is boundless. MindOpen is keen on supporting emerging leaders of color through leadership challenges they face to provide value for true competence in any condition. The numerous partnerships with MindOpen will help spread an inclusive culture that is promoted to EVERYONE bringing increased value to your efforts regardless of gender.


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