Importance Of Gender Tokenism In The Workplace

1700 Words7 Pages
Gender Tokenism in the Work Place
To many, it may come as no surprise that men have historically, and to this date, held the majority of positions in the United States government. As of July, 2014 women comprise 18.8% of the 113th congress (Congressional Research Service, 2014), an all-time record high. Although we have come a great distance since the first congressional session, women should by no means be content with this statistic. However, it appears that the presence of a few successful women, such as Hillary Clinton, in high profile jobs, has become a tool used by corporations to conceal the discrimination nearly every woman faces when maneuvering up the hierarchy in a job that falls outside of gender appropriate occupations (Jackson,
…show more content…
Tokenism can take several forms, such as performing small actions for members of out-groups and using those actions as an excuse to get out of later performing more meaningful actions for the out-group (Jackson et al., 1995). However, in the workplace, tokenism typically takes the form of hiring someone due to a social group they belong to that is underrepresented in the organization (Inzlicht & Ben-zeev, 2000). The presence of successful tokens leads other women who are not as successful to feel they have only themselves to blame, despite how capable most of these women are. Conditions of tokenism encourage women to believe that as long as they are persistent, they will eventually be able to move up the ladder, and it lets the prejudiced group off the hook (Baron & Branscombe,…show more content…
In addition, Roth also found that women in her study found it disproportionately difficult to network with their colleagues, and experienced high levels of harassment, further preventing them from advancing in their careers (2000). In this scenario and many others, the employee’s gender is given more attention than actual ability to perform (Jackson et al., 1995). Successful token women in high profile jobs, such as Hillary Clinton and Sandra Day O’Connor, are used to conceal this discrimination, encouraging women to look beyond numerical underrepresentation as a sign of discrimination (Ryan et al., 2012) and to instead view women who are not as successful as not as
Open Document