The effect of glass ceiling on the prospect of American women finds analysis in this paper. Significantly, the reasons for glass ceiling and ways and means of women’s empowerment as well as recommendations for their development and career advancement were discussed. Even the advantages and disadvantages of those recommendations find a place in the paper. In addition to that, the discussion and analysis in the thesis are about the reasons for glass ceiling for women and the possible solutions for it. Hence, initially, the paper starts with the presence of women in the workforce and goes through the reasons for not having them in an adequate number. In the next stage, the interventions for the development of their educational qualifications as well as the organizational policies that enable them to advance their career are part of the thesis. The role of corporate companies, as well as government, also finds presence in the discussion.
What are the reasons that prevent the majority of women from finding corporate success and what measures are necessary to break the glass ceiling for them?
“Glass Ceiling” means the obstacles for women in rising to the top level due to discrimination in society as well as the structures and processes of organizations. The above-mentioned aspect is about competent women knowing their capabilities, but cannot reach them due to invisible barriers that prevent them from getting a breakthrough. However, the limit of the glass ceiling is different in different countries depending on the discrimination faced by women as well as the structure of society and organizations. In some countries, the glass ceiling may be closer to the corporate head and in some societies, it may stop at the junior management level. For example, in some societies, women are largely found in the Human Resources department when compared to other ones. In American Society, the career options of women being hampered by family responsibilities as they have to satisfy the needs of both career and family (Wirth, Linda, 2000, Page 36-42).
This aspect is part of the analysis and discussion in the paper. In addition to that, the ways and means of improving the educational qualifications of women as well as their advancement in career is part of analysis and discussion. The paper tries to explore the reasons for the glass ceiling as well as to find out the solutions in the form of recommendations. Both advantages and disadvantages of recommendations in this paper are indicated from point of view of society, the corporate world as well as women. The focus of the thesis is on the status of American women regarding glass ceiling though yet times, the state of women in other countries has been considered for comparison and to have an idea about solution and recommendations.
Women’s Role in Corporate Sector and their contribution for economy of a country
As part of the above-mentioned discussion and analysis of glass ceiling, the discussion is about presence of women in workforce and their role in corporate companies. The percentage of women out of total top management posts is compared to the percentage of women in total workforce to establish the lack of advancement in careers of women. After that, the purchasing capacity of women has been established as well as the role of administration activities along with the need of presence of women in marketing force. The need of presence of women in different stages of workforce has been discussed as well. At this juncture, the difference in work style of men and women comes to the fore. Then the ‘out of box thinking nature of women finds place in analysis and then the discussion is on the differences in bringing up of boys and girls in American Society, that results lack of leadership qualities in women. The next stage is about difference in leadership styles and power of corporate culture that makes it difficult to women to be the part of the top management. After that the improvement of educational qualifications of women is part of analysis. In the next stage, recommendations as well as their advantages and disadvantages are framed according to the advancement of careers of women. In this context, the role of organizations in breaking glass ceiling is part of analysis and recommendations.
The Presence of Women in Work Force
According to a study by IZA (2005), the fortune 500 companies in US have 10.2 percent of their CEOs as women and 13.6 percent women in boards of directors. However, the same is not true with UK FTSE 100 firms and they have only 1 percent of CEOs as women but 8.6 percent females on boards of directors. Though the share is less and a minority when compared to the share of men in top positions, it is increasing considerably in the recent years particularly after 2005 (IZA, 2005, page 1-9 and page 26).
In line with the above aspect, number of women CEOs for fortune 500 companies in US increased from 2 percent to 3 percent from 2005 to 2008. However, the number of seats on boards held by women increased from 14.7 percent to 15.2 percent only. While considering the senior level management positions, the women’s representation decreased from 16.4 to 15.7 percent between 2005 and 2008. In the same period the percentage of women in US labor force slightly increased from 46.4 to 46.5 percent. The above statistics indicate that the representation of women in top managerial posts or senior managerial positions is not according to the presence of them in labor force (Catalyst, 2009. 1-3).
However, there is a long history to find women in work force. After a movement for emancipation of women in 19th Century, the sexual division of labor has been done and different roles for men and women were allotted. According to Bugge, Anna (1998) the opinion is as follows.
While men were supposed to be patriarchal heads of households and breadwinners in the expanding labor markets of industrial societies, women were confined to and responsible for the private sphere— for household work and the care and upbringing of children. In reality, the assignment of men to the public sphere and women to the private one was far from complete, and many women had to struggle hard in paid jobs in order to support themselves and their children. (Page 7)
However, after some time, married women returned to work, when their children are going to school. In USA, working women faced gender discrimination in pay structure, but in the last 15 to 20 years, there has been a dramatic improvement in making pay structure of women equal to men. Till this period of time, the glass ceiling for women in USA is their temporary participation in market force due to their family restrictions. Hence, their growth has been hampered due to family responsibilities. Two decades back, the segregation in work paid less for women. However, after 1970, women are working on permanent basis in labor force and have a stronger permanent labor market attachment during their life cycle, thus increasing the limit of glass ceiling for American Women (Bugge, Anna, 1998, Page 16-19).
Role of Women in Purchasing Activities
Women’s spending power in USA is according to their role in society and their efforts on the economy. The great shift in role and efforts resulted in increasing purchasing capabilities of women. Hence, American companies started manufacturing according to thinking of women. In the past, women are supposed to purchase only home related items like pastels and flowers. However, the changing environment for women in USA enabled them to enter purchasing activities of all types of the things required by the family. Hence, marketing campaigns concentrated on women to sell their products. Consequently, one can understand that the purchasing capacity gave women an opportunity to enter into marketing sector as the strategies are women centric at present. Considering the situation in US, women comprise of 51 percent of the population and marketing strategies find inevitable to take them into consideration. In the context of women’s spending, Learned, Andrea, (2004) states as follows.
It’s true. Women spend over two trillion consumer dollars a year. Yet only a fraction of that market can name a brand that speaks to their needs.
Can you sense the opportunity? (Page 7-8)
Hence, many companies are utilizing the opportunity and are framing women centric marketing strategies (Learned, Andrea, 2004, Page 7-15).
Role of Women in Marketing Activities
After women centric marketing strategies, the role of American women in marketing sector began with hagglers, peddles, hawkers, traders and market women. The scholars studying about transformation of American women stamped them so, according to the places the women work in the market. However, the growth in Women’s income in USA resulted in marketing activities in which women played a role in merging disparate social spaces, gendered identities, economic values as well as ethnicities and language genres. Consequently, American women are suitable for marketing in the country they live as well as cross cultural marketing due to their capability of merging the different activities.
The above description of marketing activities of women is related to informal sector. The extensive exploration of the economic behaviors globally that are shaped by local cultural practices as well as values relating to gender can give more information about women’s marketing activities. The places occupied by women in industry changed over time according to structural conditions that enhanced market women’s activities. One important aspect is that the cultural values and practices that are shaping economies resulted in anthropological and sociological paradigms that made economic changes also resulted in market women imposing cultural calculations to manipulate the laws of supply and demand (Seligmann, Linda J, 2001, Page 1-8).
Role of Women in Administration of Corporate Companies
After the role in marketing, the progress of women in last two decades resulted in finding them in administration jobs like senior level executives, CEOs as well as on corporate boards of directors. However, the slow progress of women due to the glass ceiling is affecting the views of women on management and hampering their views in adopting that as a career. According to Ronald Burke, Susane Vinnicombe (2006), the impending shortage of qualified administrators and the aging work force, new entrants gave an opportunity for women to enter into administrative jobs. In addition to that more women in their mid career are leaving their corporate jobs for family reasons. Apart from the above-mentioned obstacle, women are facing many challenges regarding their careers. The three phases in the career of women are, the idealistic achievement phase, pragmatic endurance phase and re-inventive contribution phase. In the first phase they are optimistic and determined to shape their career. In the second stage, they face professional problems combined with multiple life roles after marriage. In the third face they positively define their careers and lives. The women who cross the first two phases are very few, and the number of women who reinvent and shape their career in administrative jobs is also very less (Ronald Burke, Susane Vinnicombe, 2006, page 165-167). Relating to above context, Ronald Burke, Susane Vinnicombe quotes President of Catalyst as follows.
In my experience, the women who have found a viable compromise between their work schedules and their personal schedules have been the happiest. (Page 166)
Success of Women in Administration Activities
Despite the above facts, the increasing number of successful women in administration activities is due to the fact that they are earning greater numbers of business and professional degrees to enter the labor force. The successful women managers or administrators are leaving the corporate environments to setup own entrepreneurial businesses and are using their administration skills for their own businesses instead of taking part in corporate activities. However, there are women who are growing in their careers to the top level of corporate companies. Hence, the successful women administrators are turning into female entrepreneurs and the above information is supported by the fact that in UK, women are 13 percent of small business owners. That means women’s focus is to have independence rather than dependence in their career and hence, the above fact may be a reason for less number of them in corporate top positions. However, Siri Terjesen (2006), states that women enact their careers differently from men and are set to benefit from organizational change in workplace. As a result, few women who stay in their corporate positions have more chance than their male counterparts to grab bigger positions though in smaller number (Siri Terjesen, 2006, Page 246-250).
Difference between Working Style of Men and Women
While talking about the working style of women compared to men, it is important to consider ‘Body Shop’, which is managed by a woman CEO Anita Roddick and headed by a male Chairman. According to Quarter Jack (2000), though the company is UK based, it is successful in USA and Anita has been a public figure in maintaining the company and got fame as a woman entrepreneur in USA also. Her refreshing vision about a modern corporation can combine skilled business acumen with social activation and can be a part of discussion about women in US. This is possible by following feminine principles of caring and intuition. Moreover, the achievement of Anita may not be possible if she hangs up with hierarchy (Quarter, Jack, 2000, page 129-130).
Hence, it can be understood that women present in corporate positions, though in small number, think different from men due to the fact that very few women have mentors when compared to male employees. This is true in case of American women and as a result, their working style is different from the men and work hard than their male counterparts thinking ‘out of box’. However, according to Sheila and Betty (2001) majority of mentors are men and it is difficult for a women to get a mentor. In USA it is more difficult for a colored woman to get a mentor. On overall view, it is difficult for women to get a mentor. Hence, they work hard and think innovatively as mentors do for men. The lack of guidance for women in work place results in women working hard than men. However, the insecurity made women to start with fresh parchment in pocket finds a manager wanting her to do better and her response is working hard. Hence, the thinking of women will be different from men as they have to think in the way the mentors of men do (Wellington, Sheila, 2001, Page 3-7).
Business Communication Style
Normally men are confident communicators as they possess communication skills and are more successful when compared to women. However, women are very good listeners when compared to men and that aspect brings out the difference in communication style. Hence, according to Sue Newell, (2001), views of Rogers and Rothlisberger (1952) regarding the importance of active listening for effective communication are important. The views are about active listening as a positive orientation on each side that perceives the value in the others and develops hope for mutual understanding. In the context of orientation Sue Newell, (2001) states as follows.
Without this positive orientation on each side of the message process, the ability to perceive value in the other and understand that person’s significance and meaning, there is no hope for mutual understanding. Yet the reality in most organizations is that of separation and competition which denies the integrating contexts. (Page 72)
Hence, the above context helps women to communicate as efficiently as men or to compete with them in organizational activities (Sue Newell, 2001, page 70-75).
According to Zain Hameed (2008), historical and evolutionary reasons made men to work and women to settle. Hence, men and women differ from each other and that resulted in differentiating business settings and different dimensions in employment conditions as well as leadership as well as entrepreneurship. In this context Zain Hameed opines that men and women have different roles to play in social and personal lives and that affects the employment conditions. Men are comfortable with long working hours and women are not due to domestic responsibilities and men are free from them when compared to women. As women take running the home as the main responsibility, the gender differences affect the working time as the employment conditions are more suitable to men. Though the above aspect is stated in a general manner, it is also true in case of American women as they prefer part-time work, which hinders their growth and cannot be considered as an employment condition that enables the growth in a woman’s career (Zain, Hameed, 2008, page 14).
Out of Box Thinking Nature
Out of box thinking can be termed as to be innovative. Sometimes it may come from frustration. As women do work hard than men, it makes them think innovatively regarding their work and to do above the status quo. In this context, Ed Bernacki in Canadone.com quotes Charles H. Duell, Director of US Patent Office, who said that everything that can be invented has been invented. Hence, he was in the box (Canadone.com, April 2002).
The outside the box thinking is to explore the opportunities to invent. In the work place one can think out of box by thinking for innovative ways of doing the work. As men think technically some experts say that they kill the ideas but women never say ‘that’ll never work” or ‘it is too risky’ regarding their work. If men find solutions, women find creative solutions while they work (Canadaone.com, April 2002).
Due to the lack of mentors at work place, it is inevitable for American women to think about new perspectives in day-to-day work as well as working hard. They need to be open to different things and have to do things differently. Hence, being burdened with role of them at home, American women are forced to work hard, when compared to men to sustain their career as well as for advancing in it. They are capable of supporting, respecting others while coming up with new ideas (Canadaone.com, April 2002).
Reasons for women not getting top Positions as Men
It is clear from the above discussion that the percentage of women who are getting into top positions is not comparable with the women who are part of the work force. Hence, it is important to find reasons for it as there are some women who are able to overcome the competition in a male dominated society to occupy a top position. In that context the corporate culture comes to the fore.
The corporate culture in general is favorable to men as their number is more than women and the policies and ways and means of getting work done in office. Hence, the corporate policies and practices in majority of companies decide the way the women should follow to dominate men in order to get into top positions.
Corporate policies and practices
Regarding corporate policies and practices the important aspect that helps American women in getting significant positions is maintenance of diversity of gender in workforce. According to Morrison, Ann M. (1995) the next practice that helps women is regarding enlarging the management talent as well as enlarging the pool of executive level talent. By enhancing the competitiveness between genders and maintaining gender diversity, around 70 percent of the respondents of America’s corporate sector rated it as important. Moreover, the work and family policies of corporate companies can enable American women to have better opportunities than in the past. The encouragement by top managers to maintain diversity in workforce is helping them to make use of corporate policies and practices in America. An important corporate practice “Entry Level Development Program” can be successfully used by American women in getting enough knowledge about competing with men. According to Morrison, Ann M. (1995), internal training programs that exist for women and colored people as well as diversity programs that help women to have a career and to develop it are important. Regarding this the author quotes researcher and the words of the persons they interviewed as follows.
“Organization has grievance procedures or complaint resolution process” (76%), “Organization sponsors access to external training and seminars” (Page 16)
However, the study states that in USA, the traditional white male managers are limiting access to women, because they experience greater comfort with their own kind. This limits the opportunities of women to grow. Hence, though the policies are encouraging women, the practices of white male managers are not favoring women to grow in their career and that is the reason for underrepresentation of women in senior level. (Morrison, Ann M, 1995, pages 15-17).
After the above discussion about entry of women into corporate companies, the career development is the area that needs focus. According to Janet L. Kottke and Mark D. Agars, (2005), though the attention to affect American women positively in work place is not up to mark, the presence of them in management positions increased. However, still men outnumber women in management positions at high level, which are considered as power bases. In this context, Janet L. Kottke et al. (2005) quote Catalyst (2001) to remind that women in USA represent 40 percent management positions, but only 12.5 percent of posts on board positions and company offices are occupied by women indicting that their career development is a slow process. Hence, it is evident that formal organizational efforts are necessary for American women, for supporting the advancement of women. In this context Janet L. Kottke et al. (2005) mention Mattis (2002) about ideas and best practices in this area. Bench marking on gender, mentoring programs as well as supportive organizational infrastructure can help them in overcoming the gap with men in top positions. Hence, instead of implementing policies like ‘family friendly policies’, which are not directed on women, it is important for American companies to have affirmative action policies that helps them in advancement in career. As women in management respond favorably to work-family initiatives, family friendly policies can be perceived in the same manner by men, but may not help women in career advancement. As top management is not aware of the perceptions of organizational members about gender based initiatives, the implementation of women oriented policies are not being successful and are not helping them to achieve their career advancement. Hence, the programs that help women in career advancement should take into account the social cognitions as well as individual perceptions and organizational justice. However, the threat rigidity response of women counts while implementing the policies for their career advancement. However, it is clear that the above aspects are not being considered in implementing the programs of women’s career advancement (Janet L. Kottke and Mark D. Agars, 2005, page 190-202).
The career advancement of American women mentioned above depends on the promotion policies or on decision making on promotion. According to Ruderman, Marian N, (1996), the policies of an organization as well as the evaluations of persons who promote others into key assignments also matters if they are imperfect evaluators. Though the policies of organization may encourage women, the imperfect evaluations of persons may affect the promotions of women as majority of the decision making people are men. Normally in American Companies, the evaluation of performance of a single individual in interdependent jobs may not be certain or correct in case of complex relationships and can affect women’s promotions. However, instead of policy on promotions of women, the decision makers decide on other sorts of information as proxies in selection decisions. Enough literature is not available regarding the special policies for promotions of women in corporate companies. In this context, Ruderman, Marian N. (1996) quotes Larwood & Blackmore, (1978) about the preference of American managers working with members of their own sex. In this context, the authors opine as follows.
As social psychologists have pointed out, similarity between individuals is a key component of attraction (Byrne, 1971). In the context of staffing decisions, attraction to the candidate increases the decision-maker’s confidence in the candidate. (Page 21)
Hence, the decisions of promotions of women in USA may take place in favor of women, provided their number in the decision making staff increases. As per the discussion in this paper till now, American women are minorities in positions regarding decision making and hence they may not have enough networking and mentoring activities to promote themselves into higher positions. As network of the individual also matters in case of a promotion, it is important that the presence of women in higher positions helps them to get promotions. However, in some companies, the promotion of women is part of a diversity initiative and women are getting chance of being promoted in those circumstances (Ruderman, Marian N, 1996, pages 20-26).
Compensation practices (Pay differentials)
If the compensation practices are not enough for women in leadership circles, it will be difficult for them to aspire for those positions. According to Nelson, Robert L, (1999), employing organizations try to disadvantage workers mostly females in jobs by denying them power in the organization. In the above context, the findings of authors are as follows.
Much of the gender inequality in the system is, therefore, the direct result of organizational decision making. (Page 1)
Hence, author argues that with comparable worth, the organizations are misdiagnosing the causes for gender inequality. In this context authors quote about the court’s decision that reversed the equality in pay gender as follows.
“Neither law nor logic seems the free market a suspect enterprise. Title VII does not obligate [the State of Washington] to eliminate an economic inequality it did not create” (Page 17)
As a result after 1983 courts also rejected pay equity proposals. Though after 1994, some wage reforms were won through state legislation and collective bargaining, the results are mixed and women are not completely getting pay equity (Nelson, Robert L, 1999, Page 17).
Hence, it is important to look after the causes for wage discrimination. The first difference is that wages are produced outside the employing organization and are the product of the market and employer is not a decision maker. The second difference is about efficiency considerations of women by employers. The second difference states that the male dominated employers view women as less efficient than men.
Preferred leadership styles
After the consideration of decision making processes, the leadership styles preferred by companies come to the fore as in turn they decide the policies and decisions. According to Silverthorne, Colin P, (2005) the organizations in USA prefer organizational leadership for success. Hence, the decision making involves a causal link between leadership and employee of an organization. The companies prefer the employees who involve in the decision making process of the company. Moreover, organizations in USA prefer participative leadership styles and prefer women also if they exhibit that type of style. Hence, the ability to influence and motivate others matter for the advancement of career of women. Moreover, the companies prefer individuals who have ability to persuade others to seek objectives. Consequently, companies prefer the persons who differentiate them from the people and influence them. Hence, women have to develop personality characteristics and traits that are relatively easy to measure and are capable of identifying themselves as leaders (Silverthorne, Colin P, 2005, pages 66-68).
Power in corporate culture
When companies consider leadership style, the managers consider power associated with the company as well as the designation. According to CHAN, Andrew, (2001), theorists of organization stylize the postmodern self reflexivity. This in turn results in practicing the limits of subjectification and technologies of power and individuals are subjects of power. The power in the company is a result of treating the individual as a subject of knowledge and that makes women to compete with men by having enough knowledge about the company’s activities. Even the involvement in the activities of the company also can give power to the individuals thus making them to grow in the company. The power can be experienced by women, when they express contingency in their approach and involvement. Hence, the contingency and objectivity in the order of thought results in power and those thoughts prevent favoring a particular gender in case of promotions and advancement of career. Consequently, the authors suggest as follows.
While one cannot develop global leaders until one knows what being a global leader means, it does appear that effective global leaders are able to see the world’s challenges and opportunities, think from an international perspective, act with global-centric leadership behaviors, and lead world class teams. (Page 105)
Moreover, the authorial voice of an individual can be treated as precarious element by organizations and hence, it is necessary for women to develop that authority along with caring and convincing nature while working. However, the power associated with the company or with an individual in the organization is associated with authority as well as knowledge production and accumulation. Hence, it is important to note that the power associated with individuals in the company due to involvement in activities can help them to grow and this applies to men as well as women. According to CHAN, Andrew, (2001), the fabricating and reproduction of individuals who can function for the power relations are crucial for the company and women are not up to the mark in that aspect. However, by using the interrelationship between power and knowledge, women can compete for powerful positions in organizations (Chan, Andrew, 2001, pages 105-107).
Maintaining the status quo (“old boy” networks)
As mentioned above, American women are finding it difficult to compete with men due to male dominated decision making. However, another aspect that is not disturbing the status of quo of male domination is ‘old boy network’ that avoids women to be in top positions. According to Sarah Kaip, (2008) the above fact is due to links between members of social class or profession to provide connections, information and favors. Hence, in USA a male dominated network gives opportunity to males only and that is known as ‘old boy networking’. As American women being minorities in corporate boards, the men benefit from ‘old boy network’ thus maintaining the status quo. In this context Sarah Kaip (2008) in fourth paragraph mentions about Taylor Cox of Michigan University, who talks about good remuneration for the people who maintain mentoring network. Hence, ‘old boy network’ pays well and the status quo of male dominated top positions are being maintained (Sarah Kaip, 2008, page 1).
Balancing home life and career
Hence, according to ‘old boy network’, American women are finding it difficult to grow in their career. In addition to that the necessity of balancing their career and home life also hinders their growth. The marital status, the employment of partner, the family commitments decide the balancing nature of home life and career. According to a study of Friedman, Stewart D. (2000), American men are highly involved in careers than women counterparts and they work for more time. However, in the act of balancing between home and career, American women are not able to work as many hours as men do. As a result the aspirations also exist in the same proportion and men have more beliefs than women regarding their career. Moreover, dual-earner American mothers limit their time commitment for the company for the sake of family. Hence, the balancing between home life and career influence the involvement of women in career advancement. The above aspect finds the evidence in the fact that single women are more involved in their careers than the women who are leading a married life and have children. Hence, the balancing between home and career can hinder the advancement of career for women (Friedman, Stewart D, 2000, page 45-47).
Constant awareness of being a woman in a man’s world
As mentioned earlier, women have to work in male dominated work place finding only few women around. Yet times male domination may result in intimidation for women. In the above context, an article in Xomba.com (2009) assures that there is no need to be panic and women can take help from men. Instead of being intimidated by them, it is important to take help from them while doing work. However, it will be problem for women in workplace if they are not able to coordinate with men regarding office activities. If women are able to coordinate with men and help each other, it will be comfortable, but if women feel the male dominated world in the workplace, it would be difficult for them to cope up with the activities in office (Xomba.com, 2009).
Lack of access to male networks
In addition to coordinating with men, it is important to have network and men are more interested and skilled in maintaining them. Having access to male networks is important for women to compete with them. However, women being more skillful in managing networks as they form close bonds with people who make up their network. When women have access to male networks or they develop their own network, it is important to get social and emotional support from them. However, male networking is based on more distant and instrumental relationships. Hence, women have to try to dominate the male networks by their close bonding network. In this context an article in ERSC Society Today (2009) by Helen Blair states that, women’s networks in film and TV industries provide most of the resources necessary for career building. However, the less number of women present in senior positions still avoid them from being decision makers (ERSC Society Today, 2009).
Cultural Stereotypes play a major role in developing perceptions about the persons of certain gender. Comparably, when women are less in number than men in corporate top positions, normally, the perceptions of men regarding women will not be favorable to the latter gender. In the above context, it is important to discuss the aspect “Boys will be boys and girls will be girls” in American Society.
Boys will be boys and girls will be girls
After discussing about the vulnerability and activity of women, the construction of gender in society comes to the fore. As society assigns distinctions between male and female, there is still a division of labor by sex. As a result, different work is being assigned to men and women thus indirectly stating ‘Boys will be boys and girls will be girls’. According to Judith (2002), American parents interrupted girls more than boys in their parenting and regarding their behavior in the society. Moreover, American mothers restrain their girl children more than boys. The above aspect has been observed across different cultures in American society. In addition to that fathers of school-age children and adolescents continue to show their cognitive intellectual development on sons and spend more time in different activities with them than the daughters. Moreover, mothers are responsible for socializing their daughters for obedience and responsibility thus resulting in lack of leadership skills in them from adolescent stage (Judith, 2001, page 804-806).
In the above context, according to Aires, Elizabeth, (1996) male dominance is built into familial, economic, political and legal structure of society. Due to different expectations since childhood, they develop gender identity or the ability to classify them as male and female. Moreover, American girls are pressured to disown the thoughts as well as actions and self conceptions that are not congruent with their gender in the society. Hence, being a girl and female in the society, developing those conceptions while growing will make difference between women and men resulting in a gap in their workplace achievements (Aires, Elizabeth, 1996, pages 31-33).
American women face academic obstacles in their studies that do not confront men. However, Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering, (2007) mentions about Sandra Day O’ Connor about the skills necessary for American businesses that are developed through wide exposure to diverse people, cultures and ideas. Though proportion of American women obtaining science and engineering degrees increased in last 30 years, they outnumbered men only in degrees of life sciences, thus restraining themselves to particular subjects. The above aspect states the limitations of educational choices of American women when compared to men. However, one can observe that there is decline in proportion of American women with increasing faculty rank. The reason for the above-mentioned change in educational choices is the discrimination and the necessity to overcome more barriers when compared to men. Consequently, the limited or restricted educational choices for American women restrict them to enter as many fields as men can do (Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Contributor, 2007, Pages 41-43).
Review of State of Women and their Performance
After the discussion about cultural stereotypes and educational choices, the population of women is significant aspect to study the opportunities of women and the wages they get when compared to their male counterparts.
Population of Women
Women constitute about half of the world population and also the world’s largest low wage population. According to CWWL (2009) women represent majority of the world’s poor and are facing obstacles in building their career. Being lowest income population in world, they are not represented in decision making. However, Ministerial Initiative for the environment (2009) states that women bring unique voice to the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development. Hence, it is clear that the women constitute half of the population but one cannot see half of the women in majority of work places. Hence, it can be understood that though women constitute half of the population, they are not finding ways to take part in market, labor and industry decision makings according to their population. Hence, the review of their role in society is necessary to discuss about their career opportunities and empowerment (CWWL, 2009).
Role of Women in Society
According to Headlee, Sue (1996), the cost of being woman is important before talking about their role in American society. The author quotes about American women who are never career oriented and are happy to stay home as a wife and mother. As a result, there was a perspective in society that the role of women was to carry on household chores. However, when single parent American women are forced to be bread winners for their kids, the new role of them in the society comes to the fore. However, all working women cannot be termed as single parents or bread winners for the family in USA. It is important to note that the career options of women are on rise due to changing perceptions in society and rising opportunities in market and industry. They are forced to break the glass ceiling and to develop their career. Hence, according to the changed circumstances, it can be termed that the role of women is not limited to family and they are exploring their career options. Hence, the social role of women as child bearers and home makers has been changed and they are concentrating on career options before they have children and after the children attain age of going to school (Headlee, Sue, 1996, Pp.47-50).
Share of Women in employment and entrepreneurial opportunities
In the above context, American Women can take a cue from women in European countries or Great Britain, as the share of women in those countries regarding employment opportunities increased as there is increase in need of workforce. After that the women who entered the workforce started striving for leadership posts. In this context, Uma D. Jogulu and Glenice J. Wood, (2006) quotes Tannenbaum et al. (1961) about the importance of influence and defined leadership as interpersonal equal opportunities international theory profile of management. Hence, in this context, women are capable of developing the ability of individual influence to motivate and enable others to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of the organizations. However, in the beginning women were not taken into account as possible leaders. When women are visible in paid employment, gradually they too started to compete for managerial positions that need leadership qualities. In 1940 only four percent of management roles were occupied by women. After 1940, researchers began to propose traits alone were not adequate to explain effective leadership and the importance of soft skills increased. After that in 1964, the managerial grid has been proposed by Blake and Mouton that included concern for people and concern for production. From then, the number of women in managerial positions increased but still low. However, as mentioned in earlier chapters, the talented women managers prefer to have their own businesses and 13 percent of UK’s small businesses belong to women (Uma D. Jogulu and Glenice J. Wood, 2006, Page 9-12)
Chances of Women Climbing to Higher Positions
Hence, the chance of climbing higher in career of women depends on effective leadership and successful career advancement in their organizations without breaking a career for starting a small own business. As women comprise 76.5 percent of health care staff, it will be reasonable to examine the chances of women climbing to higher positions through career advancement. The chance of women climbing to higher positions became a reality when masculine as well as feminine behaviors proved necessary for leadership. However, when the managements started to assess the effectiveness of leadership with team performance, feeling of integrity in subordinates and trustworthiness, women started to get opportunities as they are able to take a team with integrity (Margaret, M. Hopkins, 2006, pp. 24-25).
Women in workforce learned to climb to higher positions by satisfying the followers to show the effectiveness. Moreover, the recent changes in assessing effective leadership started using degree of tenacity and dedication in work as well as communication and relational skills. The above context is useful for women to climb for higher positions in the company they work. As the climbing high in career means upward mobility and higher salary level, they in turn depend on the persons who judge an employee’s achievements. As majority of women employees have no mentors in the company, it will be difficult to see their achievements in a manner that is appreciable. However, the ability to develop relationships can help women to build network that makes them important while considering for managerial posts. However, majority people are of the opinion that women do not have ability to build a network, but the ability to have good relationships and fine PR can be used by them to build a network in and outside the company. However, the modern day leadership qualities that are assessed by interpersonal orientation, task orientation, and democratic nature as well as transformational qualities enable women to climb high as they have the above-mentioned qualities better than men. The stereotype male qualities are not completely reliable in modern day business and thus women have opportunities to compete with men for managerial posts. Though the society has the opinion of muscular characteristics for leaders, some feminine behaviors also are being viewed as the ones that are the part of leadership qualities. One such thing is flexibility and that helps the female leader to fit between her gender and the requirements. However, the rating for males as more effective leaders may hamper the growth of women as leaders. However, in the field research, the researchers found that there is no difference between men and women regarding the perceptions of effective leadership. The examination of success factors can demonstrate a marked difference in the experience of men and women and can explain the opportunities of women climbing high in career to managerial positions. However, proactive approach on any issue can be seen in women who climb high in their career to break the glass ceiling (Siri Terjesen, 2006, pp. 251-259).
The leadership qualities discussed in the previous sub-chapter can prompt women to own the firms. As mentioned in earlier chapters, successful corporate women leave their jobs for owning private firms. As United States of America is well known for its ‘entrepreneurial culture’ as it initiated a million new businesses in 1998, the same can be seen in American women. As mentioned in the above chapters that women are interested in starting their own businesses and the small entrepreneurial firms resulted of their entrepreneurial skills (Ingrid Verheul., Niels Bosma., Fonnie vander Nol and Tommy Wong, 2002, pages 216-217).
In the above context, while talking about American women, success of them 0in industry can be found in the fact that the firms owned by African-American women in USA increased by 19 percent between 2002 and 2008. A survey made by Women’s Business Research revealed the above fact and it projected that in 2008, the number of employees for such businesses will increase by 10 percent (Encyclopedia.com, 2008).
In addition to the above facts, according to an article on encyclopedia.com (1999) women owned businesses are one of the reasons for strongest job creation. According to details of the women owned as well as minority owned businesses in U.S, there are 12 million such firms and they account for $4 trillion in annual gross sales a research of U.S. Small Business Administration. It can be termed as an outlook that women are approached the decade started with 2000 with a positively by flexing more purchasing power as well as entrepreneurial activity (Encyclopedia.com, 1999).
Success in Top Management
According to Susan Vinnicombe and Val Singh (2002), organizations in USA often do not tackle the issues that hamper the growth of women to top management. One such aspect is lack of mentors for American women. In addition to that many other aspects alienate them from advancing in career thus creating a glass ceiling. The perceptions of senior management that do not take women’s capabilities, which help in management activities avoid women from advancing to top. Hence, instead of using a stereotype rules for identifying a successful manager, it is important for managements in American Corporate Sector to be flexible in assessing the capabilities according to the needs of the company by taking female employees also into consideration. The authors state that their study provided an evidence of a shift in perceptions of leadership styles management, but found that many women are thinking a manager as a male. Moreover, women in senior management are very less in male dominated companies of USA. The comment is that though the glass ceiling is moving upwards, it is still influencing the women’s perceptions of leadership attributes in USA as male leaders are in action in male dominated companies. Hence, instead of thinking ‘a manager a male’ women have to think ‘a manager a person’ to come out of the stereotype view of working under male managers. In the above context, according to Susan Vinnecombe and Val Singh (2002), Kanter (1977) and Burke and McKeen (1996) draw attention to the need of female role models to make more women think about their role in senior roles. In the above context, Burke and McKeen find that female managers in male dominated companies are willing to leave. Consequently, the managements are not in favor of women managers as they leave the company quickly. Moreover, as mentioned in introduction, the intentions of women to have own firms and their way of leaving the managerial jobs also turn the intentions of managements against them. However, in the present era of management the authors opine that the transformational management styles of women that comprise of personal respect, mutual trust and regard makes them favorable for the top management posts. As this is in contrast with transactional style preferred by men, it depends on top management that prefers the management style. However, according to Susan Vinnecombe and Val Singh (2002), Yammarino (1997) expresses views about the positive relationship between transformational leadership and female leaders’ effectiveness as well as subordinate commitment and performance. The managements who find that transformational style of management brings out warm, considerate and participative interpersonal relationships that increase productivity, effectiveness, satisfaction and performance are encouraging women. However, in the same context, authors mention Eagly and Johnson (1990) who state that women managers in male dominated industries tend to emulate the stereotype masculine leadership styles. In other words, women are emulating transactional leadership styles instead of their natural transformational leadership styles. This is because the managers evaluate themselves according to the perceived measures of the male dominated organizations they are working. In this context, the authors quote Cames et al. (2001) about the perceptions of male manages being androgynous. Hence, Sex stereotyping in management roles can be termed as irrelevant (Susan Vinnicombe and Val Singh, 2002, pp.120-130).
Share of Women in Top Management
After the review of women’s opportunities to climb higher in their career, it is important to discuss their share in top management. According to Nina Smith et al. (2005), the focus on gender of top executives increased in the last decade. Even then, the proportion of women reaching top positions is low in most of the countries in US. Even the imposition of gender compositions on the boards of directors of private firms, the turnout is low. According to Nina Smith et al. the proportion of women among top executives and on boards of directors tends to have a significantly positive effect on a firm’s performance. However, due to unavailability of relevant literature regarding the performance of firms who have women as directors on their boards also is a reason for the male dominated firms backtracking on the issue of taking women on their boards. In this context, the authors quote Carter et al. (2003) about 5 positive arguments regarding business case perspective and thus discuss the diversity management. According to above argument, the heterogeneous board can have better understanding about the requirements of market and production activities rather than a homogeneous board. According to above aspect, gender diversity management in executive boards of the firms can improve the image of the firm as well as its performance as they have a better understanding. Due to the absence of studies that reveal the good performance of firms having women on board is resisting the top managements to avoid women on their boards. According to a study on Danish firms, the authors did not find any substantial change in female proportion for entry and exit firms compared to firms who stayed in the sample for their consistent performance for 9 years. This aspect suggests that the boards having women as their directors are performing as well as the other boards having men and as bad as they do (IZA, 2005, page 1-9 and page 26).
Success of Women in Managerial Workforce
After reviewing the share of women in top management, it is reasonable to review their success. According to Adelina Broadbridge, Jeff Hearn (2006), Gender and management was the fourth largest in the response to their study, which is indicative of growing importance of gender to the field of management research. In the above context, the authors quote Vinnicombe (2000) and Eurostat (2002) as well as European Business Survey (2002) that there has been considerable attention to promotion of gender equality in European Union. This is due to the operation of equal opportunities policies at supranational and national levels. The fields in which the gender equality has been named are; family, welfare, labor market and education. In Norway, UK, Portugal and Poland there are similar proportions of women in senior positions in corporate companies as well as legislatures. However, the purchasing power parity and earnings of women are less than men in Poland and Portugal. However, the presence and success of women in top positions of companies in US and Europe reveal that the glass ceiling is going up (Adelina Broadbridge, Jeff Hearn, 2006, page 93-96).
While reviewing the success of women in Top management, it is important to consider small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector that accounts for over 99 percent of business in UK. As it employs over 55 percent of workforce, it is important to study its diversity. A study by Carol Woodhams, Ben Lupton, (2006) reveals that the staff in MSEs is paid low wages and the weaknesses of women are exploited. However, the small and medium firms, which practice equal opportunities, offer growth opportunities for women as top management and women employees know each other personally. However, this is not the case in the firms, which are not practicing equal opportunity or human resources practices. However, as the management development trends in SMEs are reactive and lack attention to career development, the firms offer fewer chances for women managers and they tend to leave the company to own their small businesses. Hence, the size and the nature of the management in the firms matter when coming to the opportunities offered to women having managerial skills (Carol Woodhams, Ben Lupton, 2006, pages 149-169).
When women get place on board or get a top management post, their perceptions of reality comes to the fore. The success of women in this context has to face board room dynamics that involve power games among the male board members in and outside the board room that affects the decision making. Women observed the power games of male board members as six types and classified them as “old boys’ network”, created by people of authority, prestige and who have power of creating alliances. However, after observing that the male board members take as a prestige to join board, the success of women starts as they are above the power games and work is their main agenda as a director. However, by identifying the importance of power in creating alliances, they started thinking who is having wheel in their hands. That thinking made them successful in board room dynamics as they attributed themselves to power relationships in boardroom. The reason is that instead of power games, women used to make power alliances that made them successful. Hence, they are capable of offering many contributions. In this context, Morten Huse, Anne Grethe Solberg, (2006) quote Bilimoria (1995) and Segal (1996) about women being receptive of success by offering contributions. The success of women implicates the development of role of women as directors. In the above context, coming to the board dynamics, the board composition is related to financial performance. However, just the presence of women being on boards is not a success story as it may be due to having a positive bottom line that affects stakeholders. However, the performance of them gives them success. The research about women directors in a gender specific way can give more information about their success on board rooms in terms of performance. However, the conditions that assist women directors to use their knowledge and skills also help to analyze the success of them on board rooms. There is a chance of having difference between men and women directors in getting assistance in using their knowledge and skills as men are more involved in power games, while women rely on relationship style. Regarding the transformational theory mentioned in earlier chapters, it can be termed that gender related board room dynamics reveal how women contribute on corporate boards. For example, a research that considered women directors from Scandinavia, found that the women directors had fathers who treated them as boys and brought them up like a manager. Their soft skills as a woman added to their advantage. They perceived the motives of their male colleagues and realized the importance of power in creating alliances. They found success after realizing the power balance on board by finding the person who have wheel in his/her hands. Women found success when they are able to build alliances that influenced the decisions. The alliances may be in or outside the boardroom that can affect the clout and capability of a person (Morten Huse, Anne Grethe Solberg, 2006, pages 113-130).
Success as Manager that makes Women to manage Multi National Companies
After the way the women feel in top positions has been discussed earlier, the role of women in Multi National Companies comes to the fore. The recognition compulsion of having expatriate managers by MNCs, Women managers are ready to grab that opportunity to attain senior level positions. In this context, Mark Cordano et al. (2002) quotes Adler et al. (2000), Selmer (1999), Shackleton and Newell, (1997) about wishes of woman managers. They feel that international experience provides visibility required for advancement. However, according to Caligiuri et al. (1999), Downes and Thomas (1997), and Harris (1993), women normally face a variety of cultural, economic, legal and political factors in home and host countries that restrain their access to the expatriate assignments. Hence, individual characteristics of women that can manage cultural differences and organizational policies that encourage them to do expatriate assignments as well as family adjustment help them to complete expatriate assignments to attain senior levels in future. The authors’ opinion is that the richer understanding of country differences and attitudes towards women managers can help to develop refined strategies for women managers in global assignments. Mark Cordano et al. (2002) quote Caligiuri and Cascio (1998) about the direct assessment and comparison of attitudes that provide useful data for women managers as well as their companies to examine the opportunities in a cross cultural atmosphere of business. However, the adjustment of women to various cultural atmospheres can be a secret of success in their global assignments. The above-mentioned adjustment is significant as international research reveals that the attitudes towards women as managers vary among nations and geographical areas. Mark Cordano et al. (2002) quote Harris (1995) and Stroh et al. (2000a) about the acceptance of expatriate women managers by host country. Hence, in this context, women are facing an extra constraint than men to have success in MNCs, which is not present in domestic companies irrespective of their size. Though women managers are able to adjust to cross cultural differences among the nations, the authors quote Caligiuri and Cascio (1998) about the confrontation they face to establish themselves in host country. Mark Cordano et al. (2002) in the above context quote Gulhati’s data that yielded significant variations by sex, but not by education level or age. When Wong (2000) sought responses across the countries, only 44 percent of the respondents favored the managers of any gender or particularly women managers. The above respondents were CEOs of the companies and hence, male managers in senior level are not accepting women managers as their peers. Moreover, the study states that the male managers are not comfortable with female boss. Hence, Wong (2000) concludes that legitimate institutional mechanisms to overcome the low number of women managers in managerial positions and the overall lack of support for women managers is necessary for Multi National Companies. Hence, the success of women managers in Multi National Companies depends on the attitudes of host national and even affects their opportunities. In this context, the authors quote Harris (1995) and Stroh et al. (2000a) regarding adjustment of women managers on global assignments. Hence, in the above context the authors quote about Owen and Todor about attitudinal differences that exist between sexes (Mark Cordano et al. 2002, pp. 51-60)
Application of Skills of Women in Business
As the topic is glass ceiling and the previous chapters discussed the managerial positions of women in a detailed manner, it is important to observe attitudes of a woman leader that induce positive and dynamic nature in the team she leads. The skills of a good leader are to develop good relationships with employees and to project a positive attitude. As women have less network and more relationships as discussed in the earlier chapters, it is important for them to break major goals into smaller and make them attainable. As women work hard, they look professional and spend time in favorite activity in workplace. Moreover, the out of box thinking attitude of women can be used to develop vision about work. However, as mentioned earlier, women are good at out of box thinking, they are able to adhere to ethical standards and can inspire and motivate people. In this context, Manning, Marilyn (1995) writes about communication of global outlook. The global outlook is similar to the one mentioned earlier for MNCs to minimize the restrictions for expatriate women managers. Marilyn talks about work related vision and opportunity women take to review and revise what they have written regarding the work they do. As women have family life as restriction, Marilyn advices to achieve congruity among all areas of life to be a successful manager. In the above context, Marilyn talks about the unspoken prejudices and harassment in workplace. In addition to that Marilyn writes about time planning as women need to spend more time with family than men. Hence, time management and prioritization of goals is important for better dealing with the tasks and team. The important lapse in women is to do all by themselves and in this context, Marilyn advices the judicial delegation of tasks to team members. As this makes the team more productive, it is important for each delegation to go to right person. In the course of the delegation women can motivate their team members as they are soft than men in speaking. In addition to that the restructuring skill is the one woman has to develop while handling a heavy workload. It is important for women in expatriate assignments to let the team members know about the responsibility and the importance of tasks delegated. While doing it, answering the questions by team members is important as it conveys confidence in them. Moreover it should be the responsibility of woman managers in the host country that is reluctant to accept woman managers (Manning, Marilyn, 1995).
How do Women Differ from Men and Why?
As responsibilities, constraints and skills of women are discussed, it is important find the differences between men and women that made the topic of glass ceiling a topic for analysis. The fundamental differences are regarding distribution of wealth, prestige and power. Regarding career and managerial positions prestige and power distribution makes the difference between men and women as they try in different manners to achieve them. Till recently, the opinion in society was that the entrepreneurs, trade union leaders, political, religious or intellectual dignitaries used to be men. Hence, men have a place in society as leaders and managers. Consequently, they have an attitude to fight to keep the power they already had. However, women’s attitude according to the evolution is to attain power as they do not have that in the past. Hence, their attitude is to fight to attain power. According to Vianello, Mino (2004), the above aspect is the reason for the differences in the work styles of men and women. Moreover, the male and females are differentiated by masculine and feminine natures and thus their working styles are different. The topic of differences in the skills between men and women arise in the period that public arena is no longer a man’s world. Hence, emerging role of women in society brings out their skills in transformational leadership thus making them to have share of power in society. Moreover, the skills of women are able to compete with men as the present societies are no where oligarchies and thus making them fight for their share of power by thinking innovatively. Another important difference between skills of men and women is that the latter start to enter public life by facing obstacles of all kinds and comparatively men face fewer obstacles than them. Moreover, women find very few persons of their gender in workplace in male dominated offices. Hence, this can be termed as a structural barrier and compels women to develop skills to live as a minority still aspiring to share the power with majority men. Another conflict that differentiates skills of men and women at workplace is that men try to perpetuate the present setting and women resist it by making their inroads by forming good relationships with the people they work. The next thing is to differentiate the men and women regarding their responses to challenges and how do they rise to the situation. It can be understood from men and women occupying similar positions and authors have chosen such people to investigate. However, it is clear from the research of Vianello, Mino, (2004), that the structural and cultural conditions faced by women in attaining power and exercising it are adverse for their success. Hence, in the above context, the questions about women enjoying the successful career arise. Moreover, majority men have supportive life partners for their careers and majority women do not have them. Hence, women who have supportive partners struggle less in facing the problems in their career and their skills can be best harnessed (Vianello, Mino, 2004, pp. 1-9).
However, according to Gary N. Powell, Laura M.Graves (2003), there are some basic differences between men and women. Men are being better managers for their unique socialization like greater participation team activities. However, the socialization can be acquired by women in later stages and this can be termed as important difference between men and women vying for managerial posts. However, at present women are drawing different skills and attitudes that are suitable to their socialization as women and are getting results in a different manner. As powerful forces may influence the behavior of leaders of both sexes, Gary N. Powell, Laura M.Graves, (2003) quotes the book Feminine Leadership, or How to Succeed in Business Without being one of the Boys, which states that the organizations need feminine leadership more than ever and this may increase the level of glass ceiling or may break it in future. Hence, the authors state that the sex differences in experiencing the socialization can be the reason to differences in leadership behavior (Gary N. Powell, Laura M.Graves, 2003, pp. 143-146).
The usage of the difference in women’s thinking in entrepreneurial activities
While considering the above difference in leadership style, the difference in learning of men and women comes to the fore and the fact of female participation in a co-educational class benefitting boys arises. However, a survey of ‘Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’ (1998) in page 28 states that women often have different experience needs as well as preferences. Hence, they make different choices and practice different paths. In that course of persuasion of different paths, women left jobs for starting a business. Experiences with women in Unites States suggest that they prefer being less formal and tend to learn from women as well as try to help women. Moreover, they tend to own small businesses with slim profit margins as they have less time than men to run them. Hence, the difference of women from regarding leadership is being less formal than men and preferring the small businesses that suit for time available to them (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1998, Page 28-29).
Successful Corporate Women
After the discussion of the aspect that there will be the difference in thinking of men and women, the strategies of successful corporate women are important as thoughts decide the strategies. Hence, the strategies of successful corporate women can help other women in guiding them towards achieving success in climbing a career.
Strategies of Successful Corporate Women
According to Brooks (1999), most successful women agree that it is essential to have characteristics like high energy, tenacity, toughness and sense of humor with flexibility. In addition to that they realized that the importance of a mentor, increasing their visibility, developing network, communicating effectively, balancing home and work, taking smart risks as well as understanding the politics of the organization (Brooks, 1999, pages 22-23).
In this context Brooks (1999) quotes Madelyn Jennings and Terri Sullivan in page 67 about influencing their organization Gannett/USA Today, with their innovation in human resources department. As publisher of USA Today Tom Curley also agrees with Terri’s agenda, the strategies of successful women can be termed as innovative as they are new, never before as well as acceptable (Brooks, 1999, Page 67). Moreover, as mentioned earlier there is a difference in working style of women when compared to men and they are less formal with out of box thinking and take help of men in technical matters simultaneously dominating them in innovative ways.
What Organizations can do?
Organizations should concentrate on breaking the glass ceiling for women by ending the discrimination against women in different aspects. One of the aspects that need the organizational backup for women to end the discrimination is child bearing and rearing as the above two aspects are important reasons for disturbance in the career of women as well as making them to pursue career in establishing small and medium scale enterprises.
Change the organizational policies and practices that discriminate against women
In this context, an organization can allow women on leave for 15 months for child bearing and delivery and should allow them to join the duty after that period. It is important to consider the above period of leave and as part of the service that counts while considering them for promotions.
Drive Change through Management Commitment
In the next step the commitment of management is important to enable the women to break the glass ceiling. The commitment of management needs to be in such an extent that can eradicate discrimination at all levels. In this context, Wirth, Linda (2000) quotes,
“Governments also play a fundamental role in regulating social, political and economic environments and ultimately in making these receptive to gender equality and the guarantee of equal rights.”(Page 153)
Hence, the argument that demands support from the government to enable the managements to support and manage gender diversity finds support with writers like Wirth, Linda. She further claims that,
“Enforcement mechanisms such as penalties or positive action measures have not always been adequate enough to ensure quality in practice. A number of countries have pursed three types of positive action with some success; the development of non-discriminatory recruitment, training and promotion procedures; the monitoring of the distribution of the sexes across the functions and grades.”(Page 153)
The above information from Wirth, Linda (2000, Page 153) is useful in arguing that the managements’ commitment is necessary to support women in the workforce as well as top positions by using the government policies (Wirth, Linda, 2000, Page 153).
Regarding commitment of top management for managing the talent and encouraging women, Kermally, Sultan, (2004) wrote the following.
Finally, one must not ignore the talent of women workers. There are now opportunities to pursue international careers and organizations should make efforts to encourage development of talent and create more opportunities to leverage this talent.”(Page 70)
She further states that the natural qualities in women like caring, nurturing, enhancing and multitasking add to their ability for communication and developing network in global cooperation. In this context, Kermally, Sultan (2004), in page 70 quotes Dr. Hilary Harris, Director of Cranfield University’s Centre for Research into Management of Expatriates. Her opinion is that women are particularly suited to the global work place.
Regarding above context of women and talent management Kermally, Sultan, (2004) lists out some best practices for organizations, those can support and develop women to senior positions. Kermally suggests the developing of organizational capability to track and assess the changes and develop talent as well as building knowledge to cope with the changes. By encouraging women in global scenario, managements can meet the business needs of future as well as the present ones. Moreover, it is important to develop specialized as well as generalized talented women in top positions as the mixture of talent; incorporating hard issues such as technical expertise such as working as a tem are being acceptable (Kermally, Sultan, 2004, Pages 70-71).
Improving Educational achievements of Young Women
Cause for women not having enough qualification is Campus Climate. Campus climate is important to recruit and retain women students and faculty into universities as the recruitment of them results in improving their educational qualifications.
In the above context, the report of Committee on the Guide to Recruiting and Advancing Women Scientists and Engineers in Academia, (2006) quotes as follows.
At times, female students and faculty and administrators may run into unfriendly, if not hostile, behavior from peers, colleagues, and superiors. Power relationships are magnified in the insulated and small setting of academia. Students are dependent on faculty (and access to faculty and their labs) to accomplish their research, for recommendations, and for entry into the professional community and Faculty are dependent on peers during tenure and promotion cases. (Page 19)
Strategies to widen the educational choices of girls and women
Hence, the unfriendly climate is avoiding female students to enter universities to improve their qualifications (Committee on the Guide to Recruiting and Advancing Women Scientists and Engineers in Academia, 2006, Page 19).
New gender choices in careers
Susan Michie, Debra l. Nelson. (2006) quotes the details of US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2004) regarding the job opportunities for women. As the report projects a wide range of employment opportunities in the next ten years that is up to 2014; she writes about recruiting women into more technical IT occupations as follows.
Programs aimed at recruiting women into more technical IT occupations, the number of women engaged in learning how to invent, create and design information technology are still few relative to men (US Women’s Bureau, 2000); and women attaining management positions in these areas are fewer still. (Page 10)
Change the negative stereotypes about female employees
After discussing about the status of women in corporate companies and their enthusiasm to be as entrepreneurs, one can understand that it is necessary to improve the qualifications of women by coming out of the female and negative stereotypes. For the above purpose, women should shred the thinking that the leader is a male and have to think in a different way. Moreover, according to above discussion, men have advantage with equally qualified woman. If the domestic compulsions are kept aside for a while, another aspect that makes that inequality is co-education benefits the boys or men. Hence, it is important to have change in the mindset of women. For that purpose there interventions from the side of government are necessary to encourage girls and women for higher studies that enable them to pursue a career. Hence, the strategy that is suitable for the women to develop educational qualifications at par with men is to have separate educational institutions for girls and women, so that they can benefit in the classroom learning. Moreover, instead of being limited to some fields like human resources, women have to opt for other subjects in education and the professional courses that enable them to attain managerial positions in corporate companies or make them successful entrepreneurs.
This section proposes steps that are necessary that enable women to compete with men to grow in their career and to attain managerial positions. The recommendations are regarding organizational change as well as concerned with educational opportunities.
Recommendation for Organizations and Identification of the organization’s best practices that support women’s advancement
It is important for organizations to give special incentives for women, according to performance of them, which should not be available to men; they may be regarding the usage of technology at home to reduce their burden in domestic work. The above aspect can help them in reducing burden on domestic duties and find enough time to compete with men by concentration on duty (Robin J. Ely, 2003, 2nd question).
As mentioned in the introduction the women in top management or senior positions are not according to their presence in workforce. As the discussion in this paper indicates the male dominated senior management, it is important for organizations to implement reservations for women so that a minimum number of them can have a guaranteed access to top positions in every organization; government or private. Moreover, while implementing reservations, it should be taken into account that the promotion quota of open competition need to consider women, if they are able to compete with men. Hence, it is important to fill the quota of open competition first and then the women’s reservation quota can be considered. The above recommendation deserves to be a legislation and good practice for organizations to maintain gender diversity as well.
Recommendations for Women to Improve their Qualifications
In order to encourage women to improve their educational qualifications, it is important to have strategies that favor the admission of women students as well as recruitment of women faculty. As mentioned in the earlier chapters that female students learn more with female faculty, it is important to have women faculty to enable women students take admission and learn well. However, in the above context, the report of Committee on the Guide to Recruiting and Advancing Women Scientists and Engineers in Academia, (2006) states as follows.
Women and men pursue particular S&E disciplines to different extents. A greater portion of degrees in biological and agricultural sciences, psychology, and the social sciences went to women in 2001, whereas most degrees in engineering were awarded to men. (Page 32)
Recommendation to improve women’s qualifications
Hence according to above information it is important to have women faculty in the areas dominated by men (Committee on the Guide to Recruiting and Advancing Women Scientists and Engineers in Academia, 2006, Page 32).
For example if one wants women to enter science and engineering courses, it is important to have women faculty in them. Hence, recruitment of women faculty in the courses dominated by men can help to increase the admission rate of women into universities.
The next step is to retain the women students and faculty
To retain the women students and faculty, it is important to assure females that the career in universities is far fetching than the other jobs. There should be special incentives for women to join as faculty in universities, which are not available to men. The above-mentioned special incentives should be a bit more in the context of courses, where the attrition of women student as well as faculty attrition is more when compared with other courses.
Advantages of Recommendations
The recommendations for organizations and for identification of the organization’s best practices that support women’s advancement can enable the organizations to maintain gender diversity and increase the number of women in workforce. Moreover, women who are disinterested in their career and normally do not apply for the sake of child bearing and rearing can come forward to apply for a job as well as try for a place in senior management even with the domestic work.
Regarding the advantages of recommendations to improve qualifications of women, they can attain equal educational qualifications with men and can compete with them in pursue of their careers and their advancement. They can attain educational qualifications that are supposed to be domain of men till now and can compete with them for managerial positions.
Moreover, the abovementioned recommendations can increase the admission of women students as well as their retention. Moreover, it offers a job security and chances of availability of a job for women in which they are few in number.
Disadvantages of Recommendations
The recommendations regarding ‘organizations and identification of the organization’s best practices that support women’s advancement’ have their disadvantages too. It may be a financial burden on small organizations in the era of global competition to pay women oriented incentives. In addition to that to allow women on leave for 15 months for child bearing and again retaining them by counting the leave as service may result in compulsion of having more employees than in the past, for the same amount of work. This may result in another financial burden for smaller organizations.
Regarding recommendation of women faculty as well as separate education for women, the lack of co-education may result in difficulty to know the ways, the men think and that makes it difficult for them to compete with them in the future. As majority of men in the managerial workforce are men, it is important for girls and women to attain their educational qualifications and know the nature of thinking of men regarding work and society.
In the context of recommendation of special incentives for women in career and jobs it may spoil the job opportunities of men as they are more in number. As a result, the job opportunities for men graduates of a particular course in which women are preferred as faculty may be damaged and may lead to unemployment for men in that particular sector. Paying incentives as mentioned above is not a difficult for the universities, which have enough financial resources. However, it may be a financial burden on the universities with limited financial resources.
Measure for Change
According to above information, though there is a reasonable impact on the opportunities women due to recruiting strategies, the presence of women in senior positions did not change much. Moreover, the representation is much less in technical professions. As a result, the significant inherent differences that exist between men and women come to the fore. This may be due to perspectives that women are not suitable for technical professions as men are most suitable both biologically and psychologically. In this context Susan Michie, Debra l. Nelson (2006) quotes in page 11 that the primary theme of the above perspective is the influence of male-dominated feeder cultures like electrical engineering. Hence, the recruiting strategies need to be concentrated on lack of strong expectations of efficacy of women for many career related behaviors to increase their representation (Susan Michie, Debra l. Nelson, 2006, Pages 10-12).
As a next step to measure the impact of recruitment strategies, Committe on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering, (2006) quotes that there is “applicant-pool problem” for science positions as the female applications are lower than men within the total pool of applicants. In the above context, according to Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering, (2006) Stacy’s opinion about conflict between work and family being a barrier as follows.
Like Xie and Drage, Stacy noted that conflict between work and family is a barrier to women, citing statistics that married men with young children are 50% more likely to enter tenure-track jobs than comparable women. Three-fourths of female assistant professors at the University of California have no children as opposed to 58% men. Only 9% of female professors have two children as opposed to males. (Page 95)
Impact of Recruiting Strategies and Presence of Women in Management
Hence, the rotation of jobs as well as hiring and recruiting policies can affect women only when they are comfortable enough to apply for jobs at par with men if they do not have family responsibilities more than men (Committe on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering, 2006, Page 95).
According to the discussion in this paper, it is clear that women are bound to glass ceiling mainly due to family responsibilities and marriage. In the context of marriage, the career of men is being given more preference, and that is resulting in break in career of women, which hinders their growth into top management positions. Moreover, women prefer to own small and medium scale firms to spend more time on family or adjust the time available according to their needs. This aspect also is hindering their advancement into top management positions. In addition to that, the discrimination in bringing up boys and girls also results in lack of leadership qualities in women or their development being belated when compared to men. The difference in mind set of women due to perceptions of leadership in society as well as the learning capabilities of women are a cause for making them unable to compete with men for top positions. Moreover, already male dominated top management had mentors for male employees and that is not the case in women. Hence, women have to face unequal competition with men with mentors. The lack of networking for women up to a certain stage also is a reason for not making enough number of them to the top slots in management. As American parents particularly mothers control their daughters more than their sons, the boys learn to develop networking capabilities more efficiently than women. After completing education, when it comes to the career, women learn to develop network only at work place but men learn it while studying in college or training. Hence, the lack of networking capabilities or delay in developing them is restricting women in using the advantages of recruiting policies of organizations for their advancement. Though women are trying to overcome above-mentioned defects with their natural aspects like caring, nurturing and gathering capabilities, the low turnout into the work force and breaks in their careers are a major hindrance for their advancement to senior levels of management.
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