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Unilever Case Analysis

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At most companies, however, particularly those with federal contracts, affirmative-action programs have been in place since the early 1970s. In 1972, discriminatory employment practices were further restricted when Congress passed the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, allowing civil lawsuits against companies for discrimination and mandating the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure compliance of the law. Federal law has become a "social mandate" that forces companies to open their doors to more women and minorities, according to Burke Stinson, manager of diversity programs at AT&T ("Corporations find diversity," 1997).

Some companies were quicker to adjust to the changing faces of their workers and customers. Generally, larger corporations, particularly those in the utilities industry and those with worldwide operations, were the first to adopt programs to hire and promote more minorities and women. It is obvious just by looking around us that women are reaching slowly but surely the glass ceiling. We now have a woman Secretary of State, along with many women Senators, and Doctors. Even the business world has made efforts into promoting women to higher positions. Meanwhile, the government has always been supportive of an environment that would support the equality of women and men. However, in spite of all these efforts, gender discrimination remains a very big issue in the United States. Diversity programs are aimed at reducing this form of discrimination as well as others prevailing in the workplace. Yet, the number of cases backlog for sexual harassment or pay inequalities in the workplace remain very high. The move toward equality must be commanded, but women will have to continue the fight toward greater equality with men.

This critical review will concentrate on the following areas of female role in society:

- Gender discrimination

- Female Emancipation in the workplace

- Women in Sports

- Women in Politics

- Feminist's Next Step

Two major acts have been passed to eliminate gender discrimination within the workplace - The Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Pay Act was the first law to suggest that the pay of women should be equal to men when their positions are equal. The purpose of the Equal Pay Act was to secure equal pay for women when they have jobs similar to men and to seek to eliminate discrimination and the depressing effects on living standards caused by reduced wages for female workers (Twomey, 1994). While sources indicate that women's pay is still approximately 25 percent less than men's pay, the Equal Pay Act is still considered one of the best attempts to help close the gap ("Equal Pay," 1988; VerMeulen, 1995; Hamilton, 1994). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a broader piece of legislation in that it was passed to eliminate job discrimination in areas such as hiring, job assignments, and promotions. Since the Civil Rights Act can also have an impact on compensation decisions in the workplace, a brief overview of both



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