Women face discrimination in postgraduate job search

By Maria Tortorello

The battle for jobs after graduation from college is becoming more intense. However, getting a job seems to be simpler for some people than it is for others.

In recent years, several attempts have been made to eliminate sexism in the working world. Although some of these attempts have been successful, there are still many cases of chauvinism when it comes to women getting a job.

Gary Scott, director of NIU’s Career Planning and Placement, said it is illegal for firms to make a distinction between men and women when they are recruiting employees.

Even though it is illegal to discriminate between men and women, women who are engaged or married are advised not to wear their ring in an interview. The reasoning for this is because employers assume the woman will be raising a family and will not have time for a job.

“It may be illegal for an employer to ask about family plans, but a marriage ring might cause an employer to look at a candidate differently,” Scott said. “However, if the candidate for the job is concerned about (a ring affecting her job chances), there is no reason to bring it up unless she is asked. So, remove any reason for concern.”

Scott also said if the woman candidate for the job is not worried about wearing an engagement ring or wedding ring, then she should wear it.

In some cases, unequal situations between men and women in the workplace arise after a woman has been hired.

“The situation is changing,” Scott said, “but there is still the concern of the ‘glass ceiling.'”

The term “glass ceiling” refers to the idea of women being able to look up to the higher levels of her job, but she is held back by the stereotypes of female employees.

“Differences come up after a woman gets the job,” Scott said. “Women are not promoted as readily as men are.”

Because of this fact, women also are less likely to get pay raises, he said.

However, at NIU, several actions are taken against discrimination in the workplace.

Scott said if the firms that recruit students from NIU are suspected of pursuing an inappropriate line of questions, Career Planning and Placement has a meeting with the firm to go over the questions the employer asks.

If the company is found to be asking inappropriate questions, they no longer will recruit at NIU.

Career Planning and Placement also encourages women to be assertive and to know how to deal with inappropriate questions in an interview.

“Not everyone is comfortable in being assertive,” Scott said. “But we are trying to teach people this so they can handle the situation from the beginning.”

The university is also introducing the idea of why businesses should be interested in diversity in the workplace through the new multicultural course, Management 333.

According to Scott, fewer companies are determining who gets a job based on the candidate’s gender.

“Today, more companies are looking at the total candidate and the chemistry between the candidate and the firm, whether female or male,” he said.

“It may be illegal for an employer to ask about family plans, but a marriage ring might cause an employer to look at a candidate differently.”