Why Power Suits Ruined Opportunities for Women in the Workplace

Climbing up the proverbial work ladder in the last couple of years has introduced me to a wealth of information, expectations and stereotypes about women in the workplace.

And now I’m in a bit of a culture shock situation. The shift from a female dominated profession/workplace (like many PR agencies) to a male dominated one is making my head hurt.

Thanks to the 1980s Power Suit, women have struggled to be taken seriously in the workplace. Yes, the very style meant to prove that women were equal to a man (at least in the shoulders) is the very thing that has screwed us over in today’s society.

Maybe I’m over-dramatizing a bit. In fact, I know I am. But 20-30 years later, the only jobs that women make more money in than men in are related to cooking and cleaning. Seriously, I’m not making this up. That crap comes straight to us from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And “The Man” tries to make it seem like the rationale behind such a wage gap is the result of women in lower-paying industries, but whose fault is that?! The Man. And why are we not in more engineering and computing roles, Mr. Man? Because you have instilled in us from a young age that those types of jobs are meant for men.

Who told me I couldn’t be a garbage man and should be a teacher?! The Man. Okay, maybe it was my Dad and I was five. And he did have a valid point. But even Dad – some 20 years later – said he wishes he had pushed me into pursuing more engineering-related passions (tinkering with a radio, assembling a computer – you know, traditionally “Manly” crap).

So, dear friends with children (specifically smarter than average young girls) – please force them to pursue fields that do not fall into these categories. In fact, if you live in Austin, force them to go a GirlStart Summer Camp.

That is all.

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