The cycle of women in the workforce

The two headlines in today’s Wall Street Journal said it all.  They brought out the history of women in the workforce in two short sentences.  The first headline read “Recession Drives More Women to Work“.  Below it, the second headline read “Returning Workers Face Big Pay Cuts“.


And so the cycle continues.  Women flood into the workplace during times of hardship – like recessions, or wars.  But they leave during the good times.  We all know why they leave – we know about how women earn less than their male counterparts, about glass ceilings and lack of simple facilities like day-care in the workplace.

We have known these things for decades now and yet no one cares enough to fix these things and make women more welcome in the workplace.   Those two headlines tell you exactly why.

Businesses have no incentive to attract women.  In good times, they have enough workers and don’t need the women (except for achieving politically correct workforce  percentages) and in bad times, the women will knock on their doors anyway (and even accept lower wages).

So the old boys club can continue its merry roll while shedding the occasional crocodile tear about the lack of women in business.  They can even go on to blame the women themselves for not trying hard enough to have careers of their own.

Sadly, most men and even some women will believe them.


2 thoughts on “The cycle of women in the workforce

  1. It may be this exercise of identification and classification of people based on gender, color, physical features and then forming judgements upon them that results in many misunderstandings and skewed nature of society.

    Indians considered women on par with men, exemplified in ardhanareeswara form of shiva. Being a woman was no demeaning or lessening. Mahavishnu became mohini, mahabharata hero Arjuna became Bruhanila, yet are widely respected. Devis are equally respected as devas. Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parwati etc.. are examples.


  2. Excellent article, but the fact remains that men do need women, even when they undermine them and try to reinforce the “glass ceiling.”
    Research confirms that women have an inherent style of management, which concentrates on building relationships rather than merely achieving goals. Women generally look at the organization as a connected network rather than a mere hierarchy of people, although they sometimes have a tendency to group with other women and gossip or dwell on trivial issues. Women often regard their fellow employees as family and take time to ascertain their personal needs. Hence, they can sometimes be taken undue advantage of.

    Women communicate well in the business environment because of the skills they acquired as children. Women understand that fruitful conversations promote sound business relationships and teamwork, thus contributing to an improvement in the bottom line. They are usually well organized; they manage a dual career, as homemakers and professional employees, but may lose headway if projects do not progress according to plan.
    Women tend to be detail-oriented at times, thereby causing others to get impatient for results. Competition is strange for most women; they were not groomed for winning, but some women can be overambitious at times, and this can lead to undermining the importance of corporate goals…

    If anyone wants free abridged versions of my books on leadership, ethics, teamwork, women, trade unions, etc. please send a request to

    Maxwell Pinto, Business Author

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