Throughout history, gender inequality has shown to be an issue across the globe, especially in the workplace. Men have always had a greater and more powerful presence in careers of all kinds. Today, in the sports marketing industry, this proves to be true as women constantly battle to make advances within their companies and outshine their male colleagues.
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The purpose of this paper is to explore the issue of the “gender gap” in the business world, specifically sports marketing for the National Football League and how this issue may be solved: by presenting a sense of self- onfidence in professional women. Employers constantly hold women to different standards than their male counterparts in the workplace. Shelley Rider, current president of Interloop North America, commented, “as some large, traditional corporations have fewer, bigger Jobs in top management available, it’s harder for everyone to advance.
This is especially true for women and minorities, who are often expected to have demonstrated that they have fully mastered a new role prior to being promoted, versus their white male colleagues who may be given ‘stretch opportunities. ” For women, this is frustrating because they are Just as qualified, if not ore qualified, than their male counterparts. Gender bias in business affects female professionals financially, emotionally, and mentally as they experience inequality in the office.
Gender inequality can be seen in the labor force as a whole as far back as the beginning of businesses. However, the issue of gender bias in business is becoming more significant as the industry grows and women break out of the “housewife” stereotype to go to work. Professionals in sports marketing experience a greater gap of separation especially because of the lack of females that participate in and watch sports. Although the number of women who watch the NFL Super Bowl is rising, according to a study published in 2009, the number of men still exceeds the number of women (Clark).
Because of this, it is generally believed that women should have less presence in the sports world than men, thus making it very difficult for a woman to reach a high executive level within the NFL. There are not any women currently working in the Executive Department for the NFL Player’s Association and only thirteen out of thirty positions within the company’s marketing subsidiary are women (Department Contacts). As of 2011, only fifteen of the 500 companies listed on he Fortune 500 have female CEOs, making up a mere thirty percent of these companies (Fortune 500). Women Just are not as prominent in the business world as men are.
Gender bias is a problem because women who experience it become discouraged and less confident in themselves. During a speech in 2010, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, explained that “women systematically underestimate their own abilities” when comparing themselves to the men that they work with. As a result, women hinder their own chance of earning a promotion or recognition from those who are above them in the workplace. Regardless of a woman’s personal beliets, there is nard evidence that suppo rts the idea that women make not only better employees, but also better leaders.
Women are rated as more honest, compassionate, outgoing, and creative when compared to men. They were also rated to be Just as ambitious as men are (Stroope). So why does this inequality exist? While gender bias obviously affects women in the workplace, it also affects the marketing industry as whole and future female employees. For a large, male dominated company such as the NFL, it can be very difficult to reach a female audience. Without a female audience, there is money to be lost. For example, this past September, the NFL published several pages in the popular women’s magazine, Marie Claire.
Many women found this article to be patronizing, as it seemed to only offer party-planning tips, a football term dictionary, and shopping opportunities to purchase NFL licensed products (Bloomberg). Although it is not expected that women be marketed to in the exact fashion that men are, it is understandable that a woman would like to be treated as more of an equal. When asked about her opinion on marketing to different genders, Shelley Rider stated, “although a talented rofessional should be capable of successfully marketing to both sexes, it is vital to a company that both sexes are represented in a board room where decisions are made.
From my experience in marketing athletic apparel for Champion, I have found that the most successful and effective marketing strategies come from groups with both men and women present. ” For women hoping to enter a career like sports marketing, it can be a very intimidating process. From childhood, women learn that men are leaders and women stay at home to care for their families. Every female student will experience gender inequality at some point in her academic career as ell, especially during undergraduate studies.
First, men are much more likely to choose business as a major during college which means more men than women are enrolled in undergraduate business programs (Ball). Being a minority of any kind in the classroom can be discouraging for students, thus leaving them with less motivation and confidence. “The gender stereotypes introduced in childhood are reinforced throughout our lives and become self-fulfilling prophecies. Most leadership positions are held by men, so women don’t expect to achieve them, and that becomes one of the reasons they don’t (Lean In).
Women are raised with this kind of attitude, which makes it extremely challenging for them to overcome stereotypes and advance not only in school, but also in the workplace following graduation. In 2011, the prestigious Harvard Business School initiated a case study involving female enrollment and participation. The school made the decision to begin the study as “year after year, women who had arrived with the same test scores and grades as men fell behind,” and “attracting and retaining female professors was a losing battle; from 2006 to 2007, a third of the female Junior faculty left. The faculty f Harvard saw this as an opportunity to influence other business schools around the country to foster the success of female students and educators. Although this study did not go quite as smoothly as originally planned, the Harvard Business School benefitted greatly from it. More women than ever graduated in the top five percent of their class and female professors received better ratings from the student body because of changed attitudes towards educators that were women (Kantor). Upon graduation, both men and women begin to seek employment.
The difference between the sexes when entering the marketing industry is salary. On average, women’s median weekly earnings are $533 less than men’s median weekly earnings (Waldron). Although efforts have been made to make salaries equal for men and women, not much progress has happened in the last few decades. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act with the purpose of prohibiting “discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce (Equal Pay). Despite this, most companies still get away with paying men and women unequally and unfairly. More recently, in 2012, Senator Barbara Mikulski presented the Paycheck Fairness Act to Congress with the intention of amending “the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) known as the Equal Pay Act to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages. ” Ultimately, Congress did not pass the act as it failed under suspension (GovTrack).
As disappointing as it is for women to be paid significantly less than their male counterparts are, there is not much that can be done when congress turns down a bill. However, some companies do recognize that women are potentially equal to en or even more powerful and productive employees, which benefits them in many ways. According to a research report from Harvard University, “of the Fortune 500 companies, in 2007, companies with three or more women on the Board of Directors averaged 28 times more money in philanthropic donations than those with no women (Gender Inequality). “And companies with higher numbers of women at senior levels also have better organizational and financial performance according to McKinsey’s “Women Matter” studies (Stroope). ” Some of the most successful leaders in the world have been women. For a company like the NFL, with so many men in executive positions, it can be hard to earn the support of and relate to the average woman. If the NFL were to promote more females to executive positions, it would earn them positive publicity, more female fans, and a different point of view in the boardroom.
According to an interview with Alyson Francisco, current Director of the Center for Women in Business at Salem College, “gender inequalities are a norm in the workplace, on both sides of the gender fence, because humans are naturally biased. ” Regardless of human’s natural tendency to be biased, it is unfortunate that nyone experiences gender inequality at work. Women have made abundant progress over the last few decades, however this problem is far from being solved. For women to be more powerful and gain a larger presence in the business world, they must work hard and encourage other women to do the same.
Sheryl Sandberg wrote in her book Lean In, “It’s time to cheer on girls and women who want to sit at the table. ” If women believe that they are capable of being successful, they will be successful. Shelley Rider is an excellent example of a woman who set her goals high and achieved them. She planned for success since a young age and has worked for several large companies, leaving a significant impression on them all. In an interview Rider stated, “l am a mother of two, so balancing work and family has been tough. However, I wouldn’t change anything.
I am successful and I have two children who want the same for themselves. Raising children and working a corporate Job is not easy, but it’s possible and it’s worth it. ” With women feeling more empowered, companies will begin to see many benefits. Todays young female professionals have the power to truly change the way the business world works Though society enerally sees men as breadwinners in a family and leaders in the workplace, women are defying this stereotype every day. For a woman that wants to go into sports marketing, it will be difficult to reach a high level of leadership.
However, many women have proven that it is drive and encouragement that gets one to the top. Alyson Fransisco commented, “l grew up in a generation when it was very top of mind that women were way behind men in terms of equality. We have made tons of progress. ” Though society has made a great amount of progress, there is still a long road ahead of women who aspire to be equal to their male counterparts at work. As long as women continue to support each other and fght for equality, they will be successful. Motivation is the solution.