Can Women Achieve Success in the Workplace?

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Can Women Achieve Success in the Workplace?

Rabiah Reyome

University of Phoenix

In today’s society, are men and women truly viewed equal or does societal influences play an even greater role in how well a person is able to achieve success? In 2007, “women occupied 46% of the U.S. labor workforce.” (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Earnings, 2007). Studies have shown that the number of women holding top management positions is nominal. From the United States to Japan, gender barriers have kept well qualified women from breaking through the glass-ceiling. According to CNN Money (2006), there were only 10 women running Fortune 500 companies and only 20 in the top Fortune 1000. Even with women earning higher degrees than their male counterparts, can women achieve individual success in the workplace?

This question and many like it have been a source of considerable research and debate for many decades. My hope is that through this research and continued investigation, this information will lead to yielding a more progressive stance in providing tangible solutions for women to achieve individual levels of success in corporate America.

The term “glass ceiling” was introduced in a 1984, Adweek article. The expression was used to describe the barriers that prevent qualified women from achieving top executive level positions. Lampe (2001), stated that “An invisible, yet quite impenetrable, barrier serves to prevent all but a few women from reaching the highest ranks of the corporate hierarchy, regardless of their achievement and merits.” This observation is believed to be based on individual bias attitudes as well as corporate cultures. Continued practice of these types of stereotypes have nothing to do with intellect and more to do with the prejudices that have precluded women from being able to climb effectively up the corporate ladder in hopes of achieving their desired potential.

Traditionally, women have not held top leadership positions in corporate America. Although women are entering the workforce at a quicker pace than previously and are obtaining higher educational degrees, men still occupy the vast majority of senior-level positions. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau (1997), women made up 44% of total persons employed in executive, administrative and management occupations. Although this percentage may seem high, the metrics used to produce this number included a broad reach of occupations. These occupations ranged from fast food chains to c-suite corporate positions. Based on these findings, one could conclude that progress is being achieved in the promotion of women. But, because this information does not provide a concise breakdown on the percentage number of women in management positions per business line, additional research would be required prior to assuming progress has and is truly being made. The assumptions that women are not industry savvy, educated or aggressive enough to hold top leadership positions has been the basis for justifying why women have not achieved executive positions. These arguments are no longer valid in today’s society, but, corporate drivers still maintain certain tendencies that alienate and discourage women from obtaining major positions.

These findings are also representative of multinational corporations. Women who are interested in pursuing and acquiring c-suite level positions in their home country are aware that international experience and assignments are necessary in obtaining these roles. With firms increasing their global footprint, international assignments are becoming increasing popular and the status-quo within corporations for senior level positions. But, are women able to obtain these career advancing...
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