IN THE END WOMEN ARE TOO WEAK FOR MANAGEMENT?
Gender issues within Organisations.
ODUM Uchechukwu Azubike.
There is a general saying which is very common amongst industrious women which states thus; “what a man can do, a woman can do even better”. A publicly reverberating affirmation, perhaps to correct the impression that apparently clouds professional viewpoints on the effectiveness and relative success of female versus male managers, probably stemming from women around the world who have shown themselves to be exemplary in areas where the men folk have failed. The time immemorial argument geared towards identifying which sex is stronger has been a resonant issue throughout society. In Christendom on the one hand, teachings of the early church as documented in the first letter from Apostle Paul to Timothy advocated “Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them, let them listen quietly” (1 Timothy 2:11-12a, NLT). On the other hand, St Peter reinforcing and contradicting these views suggested "In the same way, you husbands must give honour to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered." (1 Peter 3:7, NLT). Furthermore, in biology it is argued that men by virtue of their anatomy possess superior physical capabilities to women. However, research findings suggest that male fetuses are more likely to develop complications during the mother’s pregnancy, carry a greater risk of premature delivery and in adulthood are more vulnerable to infection and are less able to withstand diseases (Glezerman, 2009). This long-running argument, finding its way into management and professional life suggests that men are better managers based on the assumption that women are not as interested and effective as men in handling leadership and managerial positions. This paper endeavours to critically review gender differences in management using a pool of literature from previous research, in a bid to examine how possible it is to agree the notion that women are indeed weaker managers than man. There is a false perception that very few women have risen to highly relevant positions of leadership, however in reality, well over 50 women have served as country president or prime ministers since the 1950’s (Adler, 2001). The participation of women in management has over the years been influenced by a wide array of complex social, religious, cultural, political and economic factors embedded in the overall promotion and assessment procedures (Harris, 2004). Statistics from the ILO (2004) indicate that the past 5 decades has witnessed a consistent increase in the number of women entering the workforce. However, the proportion of women decreases at progressively higher levels in managerial hierarchies within all countries (Powell & Graves, 2003). Although in recent years, women have shown interest in entering male intensive occupations, the labour force remains sharply segregated on the basis of sex with the consistent devaluation of work in female intensive occupations (Jacobs, 1999). The economic status of women in the workplace remains significantly lower than men, probably owing to the fact that women are more often than not paid less than men in the same occupation and often in the same job (Roos & Gatta, 1999). This observable facts and trends have become known as the “glass wall” or “glass ceiling” which symbolises an undetectable and impassable barrier which inhibits women as they attempt to climb upwards towards managerial ranks (glass ceiling) or move sideways into line positions (glass wall) which have conventionally been held by men. It has been argued that women have not been in the management pipe line long enough to reach the top levels and that there are many qualified and interested male...
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