Since the rise of capitalism and large corporations, traditionally, the vast majority of top positions throughout the world have been held by males rather than females. Yet, since the 1970s, women have made a substantial stride in becoming part of the labour force. There are an increasing number of women who enter the workforce and an increasing number of managerial positions filled by women. Furthermore, companies have been taking huge strides in promoting and recruiting women in all levels of management and have introduced benefits such as parental leaves, part-time policies, and travel-reducing technologies to help them stay in the company (Barsh and Yee 2011). As well, corporations realize there benefits of working women within their company. For instance, in the United States of America, women have been a growing factor in the success of the country’s economy. Without women, the economy would be 25% smaller (Barsh and Yee 2011). Although there has been promising news in women’s advancement, the fact remains is women’s access to senior management positions remains limited. Since the three decades has passed of women entering male professional and managerial occupations, women’s persistent underrepresentation in senior managerial positions remains a puzzle. The proportion of women in middle and senior management positions had stagnated over the last 20 years. The gap between men’s and women’s representation in the senior management ranks narrowed very little during that 22-year span, and the proportion of women senior managers overall as a share of the female labour force was virtually unchanged during that period (The Conference Board of Canada 2013:3). The reason why women have yet made it through to higher organizational levels is related to the concept of the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling constitutes an invisible barrier for women and minority groups, preventing them from moving up the corporate ladder (Weyer 2007:483). One aspect of the glass ceiling is the gendering process that makes it difficult for women to advance. Gender beliefs become part of the entrenched beliefs of the institution. Many corporations have a gender-role mindset where they see women as inadequate in senior positions. Gender also plays a role in the structural obstacles women face. What many male colleagues have that women lack is informal networks to make connections, female role models in higher positions, and lack of sponsors to provide opportunities (Barsh and Yee 2013). Lastly, women’s own mindsets are affected by the gender. The cultural stereotypes and gendering of senior management makes it difficult for women to go further in their career and unlock their full potential. Therefore, the advancement of women achieving senior management positions has been restricted due to gender based promotion process, structural obstacles within the workplace, and women’s own mindsets.
Women’s success in achieving senior post is difficult in corporate management than in other professions. There is considerable evidence that managerial cultures are male cultures and that the ability to manage, to control and to exert authority is gendered male (Charles and Davies 2000:546). Due to this structural mindset, it makes it difficult for women to achieve senior positions. Especially when looking at the decision making and promotion process, gender stereotypes plays a significant role. For instance, employers have in mind a detailed model of the specific role needed to be performed, which requires specific abilities and skills (Gorman and Kmec 2009:1433). These roles tend to be masculine and the skills they are looking for is also of masculine trait. Masculine traits include being action-orientated, decisive, charismatic, and so on. Since senior management positions are seen as having a certain set of masculine skills, decision makers would go for men believing they have the stereotypical masculine abilities, while women are lacking them. In the...
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