Women have had to fight for their rights for a long time Essay

The given facts state, “Women have had to fight for their rights for a long time. For example, the right of women to vote was granted in the USA only in 1920. ” According to O’Neill (2003), there still remains a significantly unexplained difference in male and female compensation that cannot be accounted for in areas of gender differences in work commitment, education, and experience. As given, “Company ABC is a manufacturing company in the automotive industry, with a production plant of 20,000 employees, a sales department of 5,000, and an administrative work force of 1,000.

The male workforce in each department is about 75%, 60%, and 40% respectively. On average, women’s compensation is 25% lower than that of the men in all departments. ” It is without dispute the culture and climate at Company ABC needs to be addressed and altered hence demonstrating the most effective and fair culture for the Company ABC family. Despite these facts, an effort to remedy the current issue at Company ABC concerning gender differences in the workplace will be discussed.

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In an effort to ensure the best representation and approach to the current gender issue at Company ABC, strategies and issues will be targeted to curtail or eliminate the situation. After reading the two articles on the issue, I would conduct extensive research on the effects of gender in job negotiations. I feel the research on gender in negotiation will offer insights with regard to how negotiation contributes to or could help diminish gender differences in compensation. Then I would target two major issues of discussion in the case.

Being mindful across the board changes may be uncomfortable or unthinkable for the organization, several changes exist that can be made to address the issue of compensation for women at Company ABC. To effectively prepare for negotiations, hence representing the women who work for Company ABC, the initial question to address is “why women earn less than their male counterparts in the same position performing the same duties”. Moreover, the underlining causes for lower wages must be considered and addressed, in order to share suitable and reasonable solutions to the management team. Hence, there are numerous causes for this occurrence.

One cause to address is the manner of how salaries and/or wages are determined. There are no across the board wage rates, which would protect women. The introduction of individual contracts or agreements means that women are no longer guaranteed a certain wage for a specific job. Many experts in the field point out women do not have the negotiating power men have for negotiating their salaries. Bowles and McGinn (2008) discuss different theories on why women negotiate for their pay differently, including the suggestion by Putnam (1988) that women negotiate differently at work when they perceive greater negotiating power at home.

Meaning, the concept that women may marry and have spouses with greater earning potential gives them less power to negotiate at work, when they are often expected to carry out the majority of household responsibilities. There exists a concept of perceived power that the partner with the greatest earning potential has over the other. Another cause of wage differences is explained by the fact that women more often hold positions of little power in the labor force and have little opportunity to negotiate, along with less power to do so. This is just one of the explanations provided by the National Institute of Labor Studies (2009).

According to the institute, women also work in the majority of part-time jobs and in more temporary jobs than their male counterparts. While employers may be reluctant to make substantial investments in workers who may be there a short time or who do not contribute as much as other workers, this does not necessarily excuse paying lower wages to women for the same work. Because there is an apparent lack of ability to negotiate for equal pay or wages, anyone who represents women before a managerial team must approach the solutions for each department from a perspective of widening opportunities for negotiation.

Because adjustment is often required during the negotiation process, the approach should consider the changes that each side is willing to make. For instance, the management team has already expressed a lack of willingness for across the board changes. Consequently, solutions should address the types of concessions that can be made for each department: production; sales and administration. According to Fisher and Ury (1991), “Nearly any negotiation can be settled with interest based bargaining, also known as the cooperative approach. ” While women may not be present during negotiations, the representative can interview women in the different epartments, to fairly present exactly what they want, in terms of wages. While managers may not like the idea of investing more money for part-time or occasional workers, they may be able to offer more full time opportunities with the consideration of on-site child care or some other benefit that addresses the responsibilities female workers often have outside the workplace. The position a representative of female workers should take is one of fairness in pay for doing the same work as men and one that also presents the challenges that many working women face, with household and family responsibilities.

Specifically, the representative will work toward developing a plan for wages that establishes fairness for both men and women in all departments and that provides solutions that allow the management team to consider making investments in female workers who may be interested in full time positions, if some of their family or household responsibilities are met. The initial proposal to management is broken down by each department at Company ABC. In manufacturing, women make up about 25% of the workforce.

While they may not work as many hours or put in overtime at the same level as men, they should be paid the same wage as their male counterparts, for the same positions. A plan for developing a tier structure for all manufacturing workers, both male and female, will be based on specific positions, length of service and performance evaluation, with a specific increase in wages for positive evaluations and for length of service. Case in point, if a worker reached a one year anniversary, a 2. 5% to 3% pay increase is automatic. For positive evaluations at the six month and eighteen month markers, a 4. 5% to 5% pay increase is generated.

Hence, specific criteria for evaluating performance should be developed with front line managers in manufacturing, to develop criteria that are fair and equitable. Some examples of fair criteria in the workplace are willingness to collaborate or work with others, timeliness in showing up for shifts, and quality of work. For the sales department, a similar structure may be set up, with the exception that any bonuses or commissions earned by both male and female workers are based on productivity, rather than on raw numbers. For example, if a sales team member converts 50% of contacts to sales, a specific bonus or commission is awarded.

This is more fair and equitable than stating that when a sales team member has made 200 sales for the month, a specific commission or bonus is given. Some female team members may not work as many hours but are still able to be very productive in terms of sales. Their efforts should be rewarded. Promotions should be based on proven ability, which can use sales percentages or conversion percentages, rather than specific numbers. For administrative workers, who most often work during the day, a pay structure similar to the tier level of manufacturing workers can be implemented.

The implementation of a child care benefit for all workers who have family responsibilities, both male and female, may also encourage some male workers to take advantage and spend more time with their families. This will allow some of the female workers, particularly in sales and manufacturing, to consider investing more time and effort in their careers. However, the benefit can be paid as a stipend for production and administrative workers, while it may be paid as a percentage of earnings or commissions earned, toward child care costs.

Should the initial proposal be rejected by management, there are some concessions that may need to be made for the next round of discussions. The child care bonus or stipend may be decreased in amount. Alternatively, it may be eliminated for all but the lowest paid workers at the two bottom levels of pay structure. The wage tier structure may be altered to remove the one year anniversary pay increase, focusing on the six and eighteen month performance review increases.

It is expected that the resources required for management to accept the proposal is the willingness to cover costs and therefore, may be the major source of resistance.

References

Bowles, H. ; McGinn, K. (2008). Gender in job negotiations: A two level game. NegotiationJournal, 24(4); 393. Fisher, R. ; Ury, W. (1991). Getting to Yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin Books. National Institute of Labor Studies (2009). O’Neill, J. (2003). “The Gender Gap in Wages, circa 2000,”American Economic Review,American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 309-314, May.

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