Sample Paper on Women in the workforce (compare Asia and America)

Women in the WorkForce

Introduction

Active participation of women in meaningful employment has direct positive implications on their wellbeing. Seemingly, the number of single mothers and female-headed families in society continues to rise. This implies that the population that depends on the earnings and work of this facet of the population is also rising. Research evidence shows that the economic rewards of this practice address the problems of poverty and complexities relating to familial inequalities (Damaske 32). From a theoretical point of view, women’s earnings and work influence decision-making within families as well as the distribution of vital resources. Comparatively, women’s incomes impact demand patterns within families and the general quality of lifestyles that respective individuals adopt. Unlike previously, society allows women to assume formal employment in different fields. Nonetheless, there remain disparities between the two genders with respect to formal employment. This paper provides a comparative analysis of issues surrounding women’s participation in the labor markets of India and America.

In his research, Bergmann indicates that generally, the global workforce has undergone significant changes in the recent past (Bergmann 44). Various factors including single parenthood, the rising cost of living, improved education, and the insights of feminist movements influence women to make critical decisions regarding involvement in the labor force. Besides, women hold leadership positions that were previously reserved for their male counterparts. In both Asia and America, certain women hold managerial positions in the firms that they work for or own. However, the percentage of women holding these top positions in America is significantly higher than those in Asia. The state of affairs is attributable to social, religious, and cultural values that the societies hold in high regard and which affect decision-making. Seemingly, the values of Asian society restrict women from assuming these desirable positions. Assumption of these positions by women contributes to the reduction of the pay gap between them and men in both societies. America is more receptive to the idea of women assuming corporate leadership positions than Asia. Although the progress in this has been staggering, American women continue to obtain top leadership positions in the economic sector (Bergmann 46).

There are marked differences between Asia and America with respect to the participation of female workers in wage employment. Notably, the number of salaried women employees in America is higher than that of their counterparts in Asia. Compared to American families, Asian families consider non-paid domestic work as a normal women’s responsibility. Society expects women to participate in domestic employment without pay. The submissive nature of Asian women compromises their ability to bargain for paid employment. Their economic overdependence on men makes it difficult for them to address the challenges that they face in this regard. Their value system restricts them to domestic production and denies them a chance to pursue economically benefiting commercial activities. Further, very few Asian women assume employer statuses. Society considers men as dominant members of the society and therefore sole owners of family business entities. Fahd asserts that only an insignificant one percent of Asian female employers run successful businesses with paid employees (Fahd 99). In this respect, it is certain that the entrepreneurial capabilities of this group of the population remain untapped.

Conversely, conditions in the United States encourage women to assume entrepreneurial activities. The government focuses on improving innovation and creativity, especially amongst the minority groups. It invests heavily in providing viable opportunities for self-empowerment and the growth of women in all sectors. Statistical evidence indicates that the rate of self-employment amongst women in the United States has increased by sixty percent (Damaske 42). Currently, they constitute up to one-third of the self-employed segment. The entry of American women in male-dominated sectors best explains this trend. In addition, the rising wages amongst the American female employees explain their active participation in formal employment and aggressive pursuit of self-employment. Self-employment is beneficial because it gives women an opportunity to explore and benefit fully from their potential. In addition, the earnings from this form of employment are higher and more sustainable than those from other forms of employment. Cumulatively, this implies that American women get more earnings than female employees in Asia.

The Asian women mainly assume employment opportunities in low-paying subsistence sectors, such as Agriculture (Akbulut 242). Currently, the subsistence agricultural sector absorbs a significant percentage of the female workforce in Asia. In this respect, society considers women as the main producers of food for the family. On the other hand, it encourages men to engage in commercial Agricultural activities and the growth of cash crops. However, regardless of the demeaning conditions, Asian women continue to participate actively in subsistence agriculture. Mechanization of Agriculture in the United States has beneficial effects on the employment status of women in the sector. According to Akbulut, very few American women participate actively in Agriculture (Akbulut 246).

The declining employment opportunities in the Asian agricultural sector have negative effects on the economic wellbeing of peasant women. Research evidence shows that subsistent agricultural production has reduced significantly in the recent past (Damaske 65). The use of labor-saving technological tools, such as harvesters and threshers reduces employment opportunities. Further, this has adverse effects on the viability of smallholder cultivation that most women resort to. Reportedly, the current state compels women to the low-paying service industry that continues to burgeon (Dicero, Engermann, Owyang and Wheeler 52).

The Asian manufacturing industries rely on female labor for effective operation. This is due to the fact that, unlike men, women employees accept low pay willingly, are unlikely to engage in industrial activity and are easier to dismiss on the premise of marriage or childbirth (Fahd 100). Thus, although this export-oriented manufacturing is less rewarding, it still accommodates a significant percentage of women in his society. Motherhood and related responsibilities tend to restrict Asian women from participating in formal employment. Just like the restrictive cultural and religious values, parental responsibilities compromise the performance of women in the economic sector. Likewise, female workers in the United States assume more positions in low-paying sectors and use their incomes to cater to important family needs. Unlike Asian women, most American women who resort to this low segment are single mothers. Thus, they direct their economic returns to cater to the needs of their children single-handedly. The topmost occupations that American women assume include nursing, elementary and middle-level teaching, and entertainment (Damaske 57).

Asian women struggle with problems of low pay and limited opportunities for growth in the informal sector. The conditions are attributable to the fact that most of the sectors are run by private owners. Women in this society seldom hold upper-level or managerial positions. In the health industry, for instance, women assume nursing responsibilities while men are doctors. In addition, they are represented in higher education but overrepresented in primary education. American women also assume more positions in informal employment. As aforementioned, however, their representation in managerial positions is higher than the Asian representation. The economic predictability of the American service sector gives these women a better chance for economic empowerment than Asian women.

With respect to salaries, there are significant gaps between the earnings of females and males in Asia. This is caused by various factors ranging from low education to poor skills and low participation rates. In some instances, however, the low pay of women employees is solely influenced by indirect as well as direct discriminatory practices. The wages that female employees are given are disturbingly low and their entry-level earnings are significantly lower than those of men. In both executive-level and professional employment positions, Asian women earn less than men (Fahd 101). Although American women generally earn less than men, reports show that wage disparities continue to decline (Bergmann 82). The increased participation of women in the employment sector improves their financial capacity. A significant percentage of industries pay their male and female workers equally. Unlike men, American women work for longer hours and thus end up earning more in some instances. The American women’s attainment of quality education also gives them an advantage with respect to wages. In particular, it enables them to attain better-paying employment opportunities and compete favorably in the job market.

The Asian immigrant women grapple a host of challenges that undermine the successful penetration of the labor force. Just like locals, they assume positions in the service sector and informal segments. Compared to their male counterparts, this makes them resilient and more unlikely to lose employment. However, they struggle with problems like lack of social protection and poor working conditions. Moreover, they suffer abuse, discrimination, and exploitation like their native counterparts (Fahd 102). Just like the Asian immigrants, immigrant women in America hold low-paying positions in the informal sector. This is because they lack professional competencies that can enable them to attain meaningful formal employment. However, the level of education of this group is higher than that of Asian immigrants. For this reason, their wages are significantly higher.

The Asian governments have taken minimal steps to cater to the needs of their women who move to other nations. Research evidence shows that in most instances, women seeking employment from this region migrate to the Gulf (DiCecio et al. 54). Normally, these are low-skilled and tend to enter into service sectors in their host countries. Specifically, they are employed as caregivers and domestic workers. Also worth noting is the fact that most of these are short-term migrants who contribute remittances to their home countries. The savings that they attain at the end of their employment period improve their economic wellbeing. Professional American women who move to other nations assume top positions as expatriates. Their economic rewards in such instances are higher than those of Asian women. Furthermore, the American government put in place elaborate policies that protect them while overseas. This ensures that they benefit more from the employment opportunities in the international sphere.

Compared to America, more Asian women seek employment in informal settings. This is due to the fact that they are low-skilled and do not have essential competencies that enable them to assume full-time salaried jobs. The situation has negative effects on their ability to benefit optimally from the opportunities of the economic sectors. In addition, it exposes them to poor work conditions, especially because stakeholders in this sector do not protect the needs of the employees. Unlike American women, women in Asia prefer part-time jobs whose rewards are minimal. The fact that the Asian governments do not emphasize the concerns of the informal sector prevents it from formulating viable policies to govern and regulate operations.

Summary

Dynamics in the economic sector force women to engage actively in production at different levels. As sole providers of single-parent families, women participate in meaningful employment in an effort to cater to the economic needs of the children. Generally, statistical evidence ascertains that the number of female employees has increased tremendously. As indentified in the study, Asian women are overrepresented in the low-paying informal employment bracket. Although both Asian and American women’s representation in top management positions has increased, American women assume more positions in this regard than Asian women. In addition, wage disparities in American employment have reduced significantly due to rising employment opportunities and improved education levels of women populations in this society. Cultural and religious restrictions prevent Asian women from pursuing entrepreneurial activities. The Asian women mainly assume low positions in the Agricultural manufacturing and service sectors. Coupled with the lack of government involvement in the informal sector, this prevents them from enjoying optimal rewards of gainful employment. Immigrant women in both nations experience similar challenges including lack of formal employment and low wages. The migrant Asian women face various challenges in host countries. Lack of active involvement of their governments in this respect increases their vulnerability to exploitation.

Works Cited

Akbulut Rah. Sectoral changes and the increase in women’s labor force. Macroeconomic Dynamics, 51.2 (2011): 240-264. Print.

Bergmann Barbara. The economic emergence of women. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Print.

Damaske Sarah. For family? How class and gender shape women’s work. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

DiCecio Riccardo, Engemann Kristie, Owyang Michael and Wheeler Christopher. Changing trends in the labor force: A survey. Review- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 90. 1 (2008): 47-62. Print.

Fahd Raza. Reasons for the lack of women’s participation in Pakistan’s workforce. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 3.3 (2007): 99-102. Print.