Gender and Women in the Workplace

Topics: Management, Leadership, Gender Pages: 9 (2283 words) Published: September 20, 2008

Gender diversity: Gender diversity and women in the workplace1 Introduction1
Literature Review2
Gender diversity in a workplace2
Women in the workplace3

Gender diversity: Gender diversity and women in the workplace Introduction

Gender diversity was not taken into consideration and most companies have very little knowledge on how to take advantage of it.

Despite the effort to increase diversity of workforce over recent decades, the number of female and minority executives has remained disproportionately low. (Celia & Antonio, 2007)

It may not be true for every country. In the USA women now represent approximately half of the working population, while in the UK women constitute just over 50 per cent of the total workforce and considerable evidence has been gathered that these women are mostly in the executive level positions (Cross & Linehan, 2006)

According to leading US research organisation Catalyst, there is a difference between companies that managed to take advantage of gender diversity and those companies that did not. (Robinson, 2008)

It is therefore important that an organisation should take a closer look at the issue of gender diversity internally within their workforce which could help see how it impacts their operation. (Farrer, 2004)

Literature Review
Gender diversity in a workplace

Heilman and Welle (1998) conducted a study whereby the effects of diversity initiatives on the perceptions of competence were examined. . This study was further revealed by Hartel (1998) that ‘telling people that gender diversity was a consideration in group member selection increases stereotyping’. Gender-role stereotype is a reflection of people’s perception of differences in personality traits and behaviors related to a person’s gender (Lueptow et al., 2001; Moskowitz et al., 1994).

While social change over the past 50 years has been widespread, research has shown that it has not been followed by a change in gender stereotyping. In their meta-analysis of research on leadership and gender, Lueptow et al. (2001, p. 1) found that:

. . . there has been stability in gender stereotyping of women and men from at least the 1950s to the late 1990s, and even an increase in gender stereotyping, especially regarding self concepts focusing upon the personality traits of women.

A study of Jackson (2004) indicate that women, for example, were rated less competent and less likely to be selected as a group leader but the reason to it was not found.

Weyer und Hansen (2007) completed a similar study and found that it is not that men are preferred as leaders but rather because leadership is described as a task that requires behaviors deemed masculine. Thus, if women become leaders, they are likely to behave in a manner that is not expected of their gender based on gender-role stereotypes, and they therefore may have to fear negative consequences.

Most of the work by Jackson (2004) indicates that discriminatory behaviours in the workplace affect an individual’s openness to diversity. This may not be entirely true as Hartel (1998) explains that it is openness towards diversity that has been found to effect discrimination and suggests that organizations “should be working hard to instil a climate of openness in their organisations, work groups and employees. Women in the workplace

A 2001 survey of human resources professionals found that 91 percent of the respondents said that diversity initiatives help the organisation keep a competitive advantage, primarily through corporate culture, employee morale, retention, and recruitment. (Society for Human Resources Management Survey Programme, 2001, p. 16).

In 1995, the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission reported that surveyed corporate executives confirmed “the bottom-line value and economic imperative of including minorities and women in senior corporate management” (Federal Glass Ceiling...
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