Women, Ethics and the Workplace

By Candice Fredrick; Camille Atkinson | Go to book overview

availed themselves of these alternatives were viewed as "less committed to their careers" ( Catalyst 1996: 53).

So, despite the emphasis that is placed on women's experiences as mothers which supposedly serve to make them more effective managers, they are still regarded as incapable of playing both roles by the dominant corporate culture and no concrete means of accommodating motherhood are actually offered by most businesses. With all the talk about bringing the values of the private sphere or home life into the professional sphere, there still remains a resistance to such fundamental changes that runs even deeper. Finally, if mothers must go to work without their children, who will fill this domestic gap, and how will the demands of a household be met? We've already seen the proliferation of private nannies or au pairs, but they are a luxury only upper-middle class women can afford. Moreover, this situation has opened the door to an entire new set of problems. Just finding, and keeping, someone suitable for such an important and delicate job as child care, for example, can be a full-time endeavor itself (and is a responsibility that almost always falls on the woman). For that matter, nannies and housekeepers themselves are almost always women--usually women who are less educated, are considered "unskilled" in a market economy, or are undocumented or recent immigrants, making these women particularly vulnerable to economic exploitation or abuse by those who employ them. Traditionally, men with children were able to advance in their careers without facing these barriers because of the "free labor" provided by their wives. As this is no longer the case--65 percent of all American couples with children were dual-earner families in 1994 ( Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1994)--other remedies must be sought. And there is no compelling reason why these kinds of solutions (i.e., corporate child care centers, mentoring programs, and so forth) would not be good for business and cost effective as well as ethical.


CONCLUSION

In sum, one of the conclusions Catalyst researchers have arrived at is "that in order for real change to occur, corporate leaders must develop the business case for dismantling the glass ceiling, then implement initiatives to eliminate the attitudinal, cultural and organizational biases that created it." 24 In other words, what must come first is the demolition of the invisible barriers that prevent women's advancement. Only then can the underlying issues be effectively dealt with; that is, the "symptoms" must be alleviated before we can begin to address the causes of the "disease." Perhaps these causes will simply fade away by themselves when they are no longer relevant. Or, changes in perception might occur

-131-

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Women, Ethics and the Workplace
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Ethical Theory 1
  • Conclusion 17
  • Notes 18
  • 2 - Feminist Theory 19
  • Conclusion 44
  • Notes 45
  • 3 - Sexual Harassment 47
  • Notes 65
  • 4 - Comparable Worth and Value 67
  • Notes 87
  • 5 - Advertising 89
  • Notes 108
  • 6 - Leadership 111
  • Conclusion 131
  • Notes 132
  • 7 - Working-Class Women 135
  • Notes 157
  • Conclusion 159
  • Notes 162
  • Appendix A Anita Hill Testimony 163
  • Appendix B Women, Family, Future Trends: A Selective Overview 169
  • Index 175
  • About the Authors 181
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