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To what extent is there inequality between men and women in management positions and is there an economic explanation for this?

Many reports and articles have explored the broad issues that need to be addressed to ensure women's economic empowerment, and take steps to reduce the inequalities between women and men in the workplace. It is generally accepted that until such time as women are perceived to have - or in fact have - the same economic value as their male counterparts, true equality will be difficult to achieve regardless of any constitutional imperatives on equality. Ensuring equal pay for work of equal value will go a long way towards ensuring that women attain true equality. A ‘glass ceiling' is an unofficial barrier to an upper management or such major position within a company or other organisation which certain groups, particularly women, are perceived to be unable to cross. The term refers to the removal of formal barriers to career advancement when it is nevertheless believed that these groups are still kept out via discrimination. It was originally coined by Carol Hymowitz and Timothy Schellhardt in the March 24, 1986 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Barriers to women achieving management positions not only prevent women from reaching their potential but also result in barriers to an organisation's ability to have the most capable and competent staff in positions that would allow them to most effectively contribute to the success of that organisation. Those barriers must be identified and explored for the organisation to reach its potential. Eliminating the barriers that women face in achieving leadership positions within the organisation can only be achieved through awareness and acknowledgement.

Social trend statistics show that the percentage of males achieving management positions is considerably higher than that of females. Statistics show that 23% of males achieve a manager's position with only 14% of women achieving a similar position. There it can be seen that barriers to achieving success do exist, which have some basis in the chosen career; however there are many other barriers.

Equal pay is an important part of equality at work because pay is the most direct way an organisation values the contribution made by employees. An Equal Pay Policy is an important way of showing commitment to achieving equal pay free of sex bias. The Policy should set out clear objectives that enable priorities for action to be identified and an effective programme to achieve them to be implemented. However despite the Equal Pay Act becoming fully in effect by 1975(5 years after 1970 Equal Pay Act), remarkably little progress has been made in improving women's pay. Exceptions are jobs in large organisations or other occupations which are numerous enough to have had specific rates negotiated for grades of work e.g. civil service jobs, nurses etc. In an article published by the Guardian, which speaks how unequal pay could cost councils millions is one example. Unison, the largest union representing local authority staff warned the council, stating that ‘councils that fail to implement equal pay for staff face multi-million pound compensation claims'. They have found that council workers are growing increasingly restless about the slow pace at which local authorities introduce new pay and grading structures under the single status agreement, which is designed to ensure staff receive equal pay for work of equal value. Unison also states in this article that ‘the gender pay gap between men and women working in local government is still 19%, according to a local government pay commission report published in 2003. Yet, eight years after councils were first told to carry out pay and grading reviews, the majority have yet to do so. They were given a clear timetable to carry out the reviews by March 2006, to be implemented by 2007, in a deal struck between unions and employers in last year's pay bargaining round'....
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