One of the more amazing spins of the day is how the term diversity has been cast to mean global labor. The original term was for United States Domestic diversity. In other words, giving equal opportunity in a nation to all of her citizens.
Well, there are now damning reports coming to light on what is happening to a large segment of the American Professionals and that is women.
According to the JEC:
- The 2001 recession hit the jobs that women held especially hard. Unlike in the recessions of the early 1980s and 1990s, during the 2001 recession, the percent of jobs lost by women often exceeded that of men in the industries hardest hit by the downturn.
- The lackluster recovery of the 2000s made it difficult for women to regain their jobs – women’s employment rates never returned to their pre-recession peak.
Noted in this report:
The 2001 Recession Signaled End of Long-term Rise in Women’s Employment Rate
This report, I find fairly odious in some respects, for the biased assumptions, implications are strong that a male is the breadwinner of the family and this just is not keeping with the principles of equality or with the economic realities on the ground. Women need careers, incomes the same as anyone else and if they are cut, there is not some Prince Charming in the wings ready to whisk them away to some fantasy economic salvation. Nope. They go bankrupt, homeless and broke the same as their male counterparts. The good news is this report is at least somewhat recognizing that, but it's clear US domestic diversity and equality is moving backwards from this conclusion:
It erases more than 12 years of gains in terms of women joining the workforce
One question I have on this study is while they show women in Professional fields are on equal par with men in terms of labor arbitrage, does that take into account women are strongly underrepresented in career areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)?
Another study,The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology (covered by ABC news):
52% of women in private-sector science and technology jobs drop out [of their careers] without returning, a vast majority between the ages of 35 to 44.
Now my question is did they really drop out...or were they forced out?
Note the age range block. This happens to correlate to the typical pivot point where institutionalized age discrimination occurs in these fields.
According to the National Science Foundation, women make up 56% of the graduate school population (aggregate, it varies widely per occupation). The top reason women drop out is the workplace hostility. Last I saw that was not legal under U.S. discrimination law, yet this is the top reason cited. Could it be that by not ensuring a safe work environment, instead promoting global labor arbitrage, culturally, corporations are importing values that do not adhere to United States workplace laws?
The second issue cited is extreme jobs. Translate that to working to death. There is only a hint that global labor arbitrage might be partially responsible. The President of the Association of Women in Science states:
American men are increasingly are not wanting to take on these extreme jobs either, particularly as they are sharing home and family responsibilities with their partners. This is why you see large companies calling for relaxing H1B visas limits to bring in more professionals because the amount of work-per-dollar-paid just doesn't look attractive to Americans anymore.
Although I certainly suggest the global wage arbitrage of professionals in these fields has deterred students from entering them, I question if most voluntarily simply quit. I see no data to date on whether this 52% drop out rate is voluntary or not. Additionally, last I saw requiring people to work these 80+ kind of hours was outside of the 40 hour work week. I'm not sure if it is illegal per say, but assuredly it should be.
Some other astute observations:
For those large tech companies, that travel to Capitol Hill every year to ask for raising limits on H1B work visas, the issue of attracting those women back into the work force should be of utmost importance.
The talent is actually sitting in their back yard.
Sure is and I also suggest that talent is sitting in their backyard broke!
So while bias and global labor arbitrage are not spelled out in these reports, it certainly implies corporations prefer guest worker Visa holders willing to work themselves to death, not have families and work for much less pay than US workers with long term careers.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, one of the studies authors, writes in an article titled, Focus on the female talent in the backyard:
41% of highly qualified specialists on the lower rungs of corporate career ladders in these areas in the US are female.
So, will global labor arbitrage and the consequences of eroding US domestic diversity be further examined? It's yet to be seen, but the Race to the Bottom globalization implications are teetering on the edge from these recent reports.
Even more telling, a bill H.R. 6314: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2008, was introduced to try to address sexism/gender bias in STEM. Watered down, the focus is on statistics, training, sensitivity programs in federally funded research and within Academia. While these sorts of efforts are sorely needed, assuredly seminars, awareness and education assists greatly in reducing US domestic diversity adversity down the road, I think nothing will happen until Americans are put first for jobs within the United States.
This isn't about warm fuzzies, hand holding, bonding and mentoring programs. This is about money, career, advancement and investment. The United States needs to take the bull by the horns and start investing in Americans, all Americans.