Why Do Few Women Attain Top Management Positions?

Topics: Gender, Sex, Male Pages: 5 (1639 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Why do few women attain top management positions?

Name: Linghui Li (laura)
Date: 10 August 2012


Women have been striving for equal rights for themselves for a long time and they are gradually achieving the goal. As a result, when it comes to managerial area, women’s voices have been heard and responded little by little, more and more women are moving into higher posts in their working. Nevertheless, the business is still strictly run by males, only few women gets the chance to top in management positions, which, at the same time, has already intrigued great debates among all parties. This paper tries to look for the reasons why few women set foot in the top leading places and see whether women are less-qualified to handle the deal or are there any other barriers hinder them from moving forward.


There have been an increasing number of women getting involved in leaderships in corporations for quite some time. Generally, people are used to be in a man-dominated business world, given that more males hold “the vast majority of top leadership positions” across the world ( Stelter cited in Weyer, 2007). Yet, it seems that there is a sign for a change when we notice the fact that, according to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, the proportion of females holding managerial and administrative posts in the USA have risen from 18% in 1972 to 46% in 2002 (Eagly & Carli, 2003). However, despite the ascending numbers, women still remain mostly in junior or middle management positions, few of them obtain the top jobs, as shown by the Catalyst, a New York-based consulting firm, there were only 17 female CEOs within the Fortune 1000 companies, while only 13.6% women are directors in board of Fortune 500 companies ( Weyer, 2007). Approximately 40% of the Fortune 501-1000 corporations composed their Boards of Directors with no woman involved in 1999 (Catalyst cited in Winn, 2004)

What is holding women back from being on top? There are various reasons for this issue. This essay is going to discuss the possible justifications dealing with women’s halt in climbing up in corporations, to explore whether it’s stemmed from women’s biological or pyscholological nature or from the environment. By comparing the characteristics of male and female in leader position as well as looking for the obstacles women have encountered, it would be a clear picture to tell if women are qualified in the upper leader positions that companies should have open minds to accept and encourage women in top administrative places.

Sex differences

Are women and men distinguished notably when it comes to their qualifications engaging with leadership? Would the differences, if any, be the obstacle that keeps women from being exclusive in the hierarchy system in companies? A considerable number of research has been done on this subject as it has received enduring attention during the past thirty or so years (Alimo-Metcalfe,Bartol, Bruke and Collins cited in Weyer,p489.2007). These researches have been summarized by Weyer (2007) in two main schools: one school of investigators claim that females execute assignments in a remarkably opposite way to males, and women are endowed with distinctive talent in managing people as well as weakness by nature; whereas the other school tends to agree that women behave no less the same as their masculine encounters in managerial area.

To the former researchers, the majority of them concluded their assumptions by individual organizational practices or face-to-face arrangements with managers or other unofficial investigations. They are inclined to the opinion that females are more of subordinate supporters and are effective in exchanging ideas when compared with males. Combining their arguments with the developing theories of leadership conditional environment, stating that “the effectiveness of leader behaviors depends...

Bibliography: Burke, R.J.(2003), Women on corporate boards of directors: the timing is right, Women In Management Review, Vol. 18 Iss:7 pp.346-348
Eagly, A.H. & Carli,L.L.(2003).The female leadership advantage: An evaluation of the evidence, The Leadership Quarterly 14 pp.807-834
Vinnicombe, S. & Colwill, N.L.(1995). The essence of women in managementiew,Vol.22 Iss:6 pp.482-496
Weyer, B. (2007).Twenty years later: explaining the persistence of the glass ceiling for women leaders, Women In Management Review,Vol.22 Iss: 6 pp.482-w96
Winn, J.(2004). Entreneurship: not an easy path to top management for women, Women In Management Review,Vol.19 Iss:3 pp.143 - 153
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