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It's still a man's world

By Jessica Bouyer
On April 4, 2014

James Brown said it best: It's a man's world. Since the creation of man, society has shown favor to men with its beliefs and actions.

Civilization has conditioned people to believe clichés, such as "behind every great man is a great woman," as gospel. Why is she behind a man? Without women stepping from the shadows of men, humanity wouldn't have made progress and grown.

Still, it's more difficult for a woman to succeed than a man. A woman's quality of work as a leader is examined through a magnifying glass. Women have more difficulty climbing the corporate ladder of success due to obstacles such as discrimination, family demands, physical appearance and level of education. Any excuse in the book to diminish a woman's confidence or quality to lead is used against her. While it's evident women have progressed in the professional arena through years of persistence, it's still a man's world.

A leader can be defined as one who has power or influence of a political nature. For years the face of leadership has always been in the silhouette of a man. But in the 21st century, the social acceptance of women has grown tremendously.

Today, the amount of women being decision-makers and movers and shakers is groundbreaking. Janet Yellen, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, serves as the Federal Reserve chair. Marissa Meyer carries double duty as the president and CEO of Yahoo. Sheryl Sandberg upholds the position of COO of Facebook.

These women are examples of women's labor for equality. They have fought and broken through criticisms, stereotypes and hindrances that women encounter to carry leadership positions.

According to Forbes, some stereotypes women face in the workplace include being labeled as weak, tough, angry, masculine and emotional. For women to succeed in the workplace and become devoid of such stereotypes, they must be seen for their work. To be a leader has nothing to do with gender.

A leader is someone who has "a strong character. For example, integrity, loyalty, commitment, energy, decisiveness and selflessness," said Otis Campbell, a senior naval science instructor who teaches at Lincoln High School.

A leader is someone who has gone through life experiences. Women can bring others together for a common purpose.

"Women also have a tendency to promote collaboration and the progress of the group rather than focus on one's own advancement and reward," Campbell said.

Women also possess strong interpersonal skills. Those skills allow women to study situations and take in information from different angles.

The advancement and quantity of women in the workplace in the past few decades have been tremendous. Women are increasingly becoming the primary breadwinners in this country.

However, there are still doubts about a woman's ability to lead. This form of thinking creates inequality and inhibits further progression.

Whether it is salary, appearance, pregnancy or family, any form of impediment toward women progressing stalls growth for the family, the community, the country and the world. The fundamental reason for this is discrimination. It's this form of prejudice that's undoubtedly seen in the media around Hilary Clinton potentially running for president in 2016. If she were a man or a less formidable, qualified opponent, past triumphs and failures wouldn't be such a heated discussion.

Any individual with credentials should garner acceptance and praise as a leader and visionary for the country. It's without a doubt that women are treated unfairly for the mere reason they are women, when, in fact, a woman is of great value in the workplace. So how can women change this train of thought? How can women change discrimination? The solution hits the home.  

"The only way to change this type of discrimination requires changes from the foundation of the home," Campbell said. "Men need to stop raising their sons with the perception that women are only homemakers and subservient to men."

Women should stay true to themselves, achieve a college education and gain experience. They should not compromise their morals or beliefs for anyone or anything. They should seek out networking opportunities and look for role models.

"Be a leader in any position you hold, and keep fighting to change the thinking process of men," Campbell said.

Though progress is palpable, women haven't completely grasped equality. Women should be given equal opportunities as men. The time for equality is now. 

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