Women who work in public sector careers, or fields that provide basic government services such as law enforcement, transportation, housing, or healthcare may in fact not be finding “equal opportunity employment.”

West Virginia University associate professor Leslie Tower has co-authored “Women and Public Service Barriers, Challenges and Opportunities” with Florida International University professor Mohamad Alkadry.

The book contends that gender inequality still runs rampant.

“Expectations about how women ought to behave are significant barriers to equality,” Tower said. “There are complex forces that prevent women from achieving equality in the workplace and in the home.”

Women and Public Service, Barriers, Challenges and Opportunities explores obstacles women continue to face such as workplace segregation, pay inequity, sexual harassment and social costs of career progression, while identifying possible remedies and surveying progress made in recent decades.

The authors offer hope by presenting possible remedies that individuals may utilize.

“The book may be used as a handbook for negotiating family and work,” Tower said. “It can help women identify issues they may face such as ‘When do I want to have kids?’ or ‘How can I balance work and family?’ as well as ways to minimize career penalties associated with these choices.”

Another explicit message is that policy intervention is needed to put gender equality on the right track.

“Meaningful policy changes—federal, state, and organizational—are needed to reduce inequity. This is not a problem that women or families can solve alone,” she added.

“I think re-framing the issue as a ‘family issue’ rather than a ‘women’s issue’ will help get the message across.”

Tower’s book, “Women and Public Service Barriers, Challenges and Opportunities” is available for purchase through a number of book retailers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

Tower holds a dual appointment in the School of Social Work and Department of Public Administration. She leads the policy development component of the WVU ADVANCE grant. She serves as chair of the Women’s Council For the Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting body of social work education. For more information, contact Leslie Tower at letower@mail.wvu.edu.



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