I have been working for more than three years at Icing by Claire's, a national discount jewelry store chain most commonly found in malls. As the store sells jewelry and other accessories, virtually all of the employees are and have been female. This include upper management as well. This uniquely gendered business setting has had some interesting effects, both positive and negative, for the employees. One of the positive aspects has been the genuine feeling of sisterhood between the employees in my store. Though the faces have changed throughout the years, the women of Icing by Claire's Rosedale have an uncommon bond of friendship and teamwork that I have not encountered in any other work situation (and I've had a lot of jobs!). I can honestly say that I have made some lifelong friends as a result of this job. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that the number of employees in the store is small (we have a staff of 6), but I believe that it is also due to the all-female environment. While I realize this is making some generalizations about mixed-gender or male-dominated workplace, I believe that the female-dominated environment creates an atmosphere of calm because of the freedom from the threat of sexism and harassment in the workplace. There is also less cutthroat competition and more encouragement to do well.
One negative aspect however, is the pay. Icing employees by no means earn a living wage. Luckily I am working part-time and don't necessarily need the money to live. However, my manager has had to take a second job because the wages she is earning at Icing is not sufficient enough for her to live comfortably. The pay that we make at Icing is probably less than other comparable retail jobs, and I believe that this is largely due to the fact that Icing is a female-dominated job. Employees at other retail jobs such as electronic stores or gaming and hobby stores are mostly male, and accordingly make more money. While I would argue that retail jobs are probably not paying living wages regardless of gender, the impact is worse on females because there is still this assumption of women's work being merely "supplemental" income and not primary income.
I find this pay gap ironic especially considering the fact that the upper-management is almost exclusively female. One would think that these women would understand the unique financial situations that women face, from married women to single moms to college students trying to make it on their own. Unfortunately, however, it would appear that they suffer from the same ideas of gender and money as their male counterparts