06 January 2008|
Freedom From the Man
How libertarian reforms can help women succeed professionally
The lure of a Corporate American gig to most women arrives with a patriarchal swagger-- complete with a sword and white horse to save the working damsel in distress. The ubiquitous American corporation that comprises our market economy provides a veil of security to women via a wide array of health, maternity and retirement benefits. Given that most corporate or "white-collar" positions provide structure, financial security, potential of advancement and job stability, it is fairly obvious why many women gravitate towards "working for the man."\While the image of the corporate American working girl may fit for some women, it certainly is not a size that fits all. Familiarity breeds contempt for some of us in particular, especially in the professional realm. A woman may grow tired of her existing corporate or white collar job--she may long to leave the staid bureaucratic structure of her company to pursue loftier dreams that don't involve a cubicle. Or she'd rather face the uncertainty of starting an entrepreneurial venture rather than enrich someone else's purse, or pursue a dream of personal success that does not involve conforming to a job title given by that of a Human Resources department.
When a woman decides to transition into a new career or entrepreneurial venture, a myriad of trials await her. Aside from higher entry costs into a new or uncharted industry, women face another key challenge— the loss of valuable health and retirement benefits when her profession is in flux or transition. Consequently, this loss creates an inherent economic disincentive for women to leave their current profession.
Not only are these valuable benefits important to women, but their eventual loss also hinders women from making professional leaps and economic advances in the market. If a woman switches to another job, she is uninsured until her eligibility for insurance is determined and requisite documents are completed. Or worse, if a woman decides to become an entrepreneur or work as an independent contractor or consultant, she isn't offered health insurance unless she chooses to pay out of pocket. Such obstacles also affect the economic freedom of women: if a woman has an existing investment strategy for her retirement account at one company, she is either forced to roll her prior investments into a new account or withdraw investment funds to be placed in an IRA. Despite what some may view as the temporary loss of benefits or a minor inconvenience, such infringements have a bearing on whether a woman decides to make a professional change in an attempt to advance herself in society.
As such, our current system of accruing and maintaining health and retirements benefits is ineffective in this regard. Currently, women who wish to step outside the corporate veil and enter the marketplace have no real alternative but to grin and bear it. Alas, libertarians have provided a market-based answer that allows women to acquire the professional and economic freedom they wish for. With the innovative proposal of personal retirement and health savings accounts, women can be free to move about the marketplace as they wish.
If market-based reforms are utilized to lessen entry costs in the marketplace, women are free to engage in entrepreneurial ventures, enter or change jobs within existing industries or create positions they enjoy. This perk to individual women actually benefits all of us in the marketplace--when women can effectively compete and successfully provide valuable goods and services to society, innovation is spurred, the economy is bolstered and women have the ability to embolden themselves financially. Furthermore, women will have an opportunity to create services and products that may not currently exist, or exploit existing niches in the marketplace that are understaffed or insufficiently marketed. Not only does our resilient market have the remarkable ability to absorb the outcome of any entrepreneurial event, but an increased female presence in the marketplace will attract more women towards pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.
With the successful implementation of personal accounts, women will have the freedom to create a feminine model of business that is unique to their needs.
Seeing that most corporate structures were created by men utilizing the traditional male model of success, it only made sense many businesses and male-dominated professions were structured to fit men in the past. Yet with the advent of market-based reforms that empower women's personal freedom, women can redefine this traditional male standard of success by creating the types of positions they want to see in the marketplace.
Libertarian market-based reforms allow women to redefine traditional, male-oriented corporate pathways to financial and professional success. How great is that for sticking it to the man?
Feminists have long derided the patriarchal institutions that exist in Corporate Life. But while they have responded to the closed-minded Old Guard by advocating government intervention into hiring decisions, female entrepreneurs have found a better solution. By forming their own businesses, not only do these women withhold their services from sexist employers, but they also end up far better off.
A recent study cited by The Economist found that for the first time, women account for almost half of the millionaires in Britain. The same report, published by Datamonitor, estimates that the number of female millionaires in Britain is growing by 11% per year. For the first time, women make up a full quarter in Management Today's list of the top 100 UK entrepreneurs.
It's a lesson feminists have missed, but plenty of other women have embraced.