It has been widely reported that in the next few months women will become the majority of the workforce in this country. This is a monumental development, since just forty to fifty years ago many women were stay at home moms or assembly line drudges.
But by passing the 50% mark, American women are simply taking the next employment step; they already make up the majority of university graduates and professional workers, and an ever increasing number have broken through the corporate leadership glass ceiling at Fortune 500 companies.
By becoming the majority in the workplace, women in the future will have greater financial security, more managerial power and most importantly independence. This will mean that the office, the factory floor and the boardroom will not only have a different look, but also a female perspective on leadership, decision-making and work-manager relations.
The workplace has already begun to change in anticipation of the new majority with stricter laws on sexual harrassment, equal pay and family leave. But despite these new benefits and protections, women will still have to deal with critical personal issues such as competing with men for job opportunities, child rearing demands and the division of labor at home.
Climbing the ladder of success has always been harder for women than for men, and the new majority status does not mean that women are rid of shameful discrimination and sexism on the job. As a result, the most important aspect of this change in the workplace is how men will respond to more and more women around them, especially if those women assume positions of authority and power. We could be entering a time when men enter into a battle of the sexes as they try to protect their turf or hold on to outdated practices.
But whatever happens between men and women in the new American workplace, this country is now entering a time with a new majority, and that often means majority rules.