Why women are leaving the workplace

Shannon Stroud,
Editor in Chief

In 2011 my fellow female, Cheyann Elmore, wrote an article that praised the fact that women were moving out of the traditional role of stay at home mom and filling positions in the workforce.

She explained that, “The year 2009 marked the first time in U.S. history that more women began working than men.” Now five years later, those numbers have changed.

According to the US Census Bureau in December 2015, only 47 percent of American workers are female.

The number of women in the workplace has decreased since 2009 and I am not surprised.

Today, the gender wage gap is still real – in 2014, women who worked full time in the United States were paid just 78.6 percent of what men were paid, according to a report from the White House.  That means a woman earned 78.6 cents for every dollar a man made.

So regardless the number of diplomas I hang on my wall and the amount of experience I rack up on my resume, I will still make less than a man, solely because of my gender.

According to an article from the Washington Post, there are now about 4.35 million more women with a college degree in the United States than men. That’s right ladies, we went to college, we worked hard for that degree, but now we face the sad fact that male college graduates will earn a larger paycheck after they receive a diploma than a woman will.

In a study done by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States in 2012, they took two identical resumes, one with a female name and one with a male name, handed it to a group of scientist and asked to rank the resumes. The results found that the female applicants were rated lower than the male applicants in competence, hireability and their ability to be mentored. Additionally, when the group was asked to decipher a wage for either resume, the female applicant was offered lower starting salaries, from $26,507.94 compared to the male salary of $30,238.10.

Okay, so women aren’t paid as much as men, they still need to make a living – so why has that number decreased since 2009?  Maybe it’s the fact that from the moment a woman enters the workforce she is treated differently than man.

I’ve been working since I was 15, and have had a  variety of jobs from bartending to working in a rock climbing gym  regardless of where I was at, I was always treated differently than my male counterparts.

One thing constantly happens to females in the workplace is being interrupted while speaking. I’ve had to say, “I wasn’t done talking” or “I just said that” on a daily basis because as a woman, sometimes I am not heard.

“It’s very common that others may interrupt them, finish their sentences, or not give them the focus and subtle encouragement to continue.” Jenna Goudreau explained in an article on Business Insider. “More frustrating is when a woman offers her idea, and no one responds. Then, a few minutes later, a man in the room presents the same idea, and only then is it heard and received well.”

So we don’t get paid well, and we aren’t heard, and guess what — we aren’t always invited to the party. It is very much a boys club at many jobs.

I’ve had to work my way into getting invited to happy hour, by being extra nice, or trying to be one of the guys. Many employers look at females as someone to do the work, not as someone to promote.

The phrase goes, “It’s all about who you know,” so of course I want to go grab drinks after work, that’s where you break walls and make connections, but begging for an invite, is a quick way to get uninvited.

In 2011, maybe women were pulling ahead in the workplace. But now, as women still face issues of inadequate pay, social club discriminations and being talked over, I am not surprised that there are less women in the workforce today than five years ago.

Once employers offer equal pay and change the work environment, then maybe there will be more women entering the workforce.