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Community Commentary: Women still suffer from inequality at work, at home

December 10, 2011|By Mary Yeager

Nicki Minaj once said, "When you're 'assertive', as a girl, you get called a bitch, but a boy gets called a boss … it is a double-standard."

When women aim for success, they have to deal with many different stereotypes and issues, whereas a man can be a "boss" in every aspect of his life: work, relationships and family.

While trying to become successful, women have to deal with much more than men in having to also undertake their gender roles to please the societal norm. As a female rapper, Minaj is an excellent example of a young woman who rose to stardom by constantly fighting against the stereotypes put upon her by men. I feel that her story truly depicts the struggles of women today who are trying to become successful in the workforce.

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I interpreted the quote to mean that women are not taken as seriously in the workforce as men are, and that we are expected, especially by men, to be sentimental and ladylike in all aspects of our identity. It would be impossible for one woman to express all of her different roles with just one personality.

Take a successful businesswoman, such as Beyonce, for example. She is an extremely powerful woman who has to be assertive in her work, act as a friendly role model with her fans and be loving and emotional with her personal relationships and family. If, for instance, her emotional family-woman traits came out in the workplace, she would not be as successful because she would be perceived as lacking confidence and an authoritative personality. Similarly, if her traits as an assertive businesswoman came out in her social life, many would consider her to be a "bitch."

It is obvious that in the United States, women and men do not have equal rights in the workplace, considering that women make only 77.5 cents for every dollar that men earn.

Family dynamics are modernizing, and many families have recently become reliant on dual incomes. In the state of the economy, women are forced to work in order to provide for their family, in addition to having the ladylike qualities of a mother and wife.

A poll by Compensation.BLR.com and HR.BLR.com found that "47% of employers offer no paid maternity leave to employees."

I also learned that in Canada, both men and women are guaranteed up to 37 weeks of unpaid parental leave, and women are granted a total of 52 unpaid weeks.

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