Gender equality establishes the concept and attitude of unbiased and impartial allocation of corporate resources and prospects involving men and women. It establishes equality for men and women in terms of opportunity in social circles. But the corporate world is based on certain gender norms and stereotypes of role provisions. Hence these roles have made certain divisive identities (Sharma, & Sharma, 2012). The social norms of women being the housewife and caretaker of the family have infected eastern and western civilization. Corporations have been hiring women for mid-level and lower level positions, but they are blocked from top level positions (Ntermanakis, as cited by Mihail 2006).
According to Schein, Mueller, Lituchy and Liu (1996), women are afflicted with the typical think-manager-think male norm. In Nichols (1994) opinion, the popular opinion is that women aren't cut out for the tough decisions and roles of management position; hence they are kept out from these positions (Michailidis, Morphitou & Theophylatou, 2012). The gender inequality is influenced in the manner of leading, speaking and influencing. Hence, men and women have been deemed as two dissimilar kinds of people (Merchant, 2012).
Women's Barriers to Positions of Power
The office place is an environment, where gender differences are noticed and maintained. Work plays a pivotal role in determining status and power of men and women. It leads to gender differences in job description of both men and women. With postmodern era, some strategies are implemented in office place to overcome gender discrimination. Gender difference remains a key workplace hazard in developing countries as of yet (Sharma, & Sharma, 2012). Women's promotion in the corporate sector has come a long way during the course of five decades. Research shows that men still dominate the top executive positions, while women still retain the mid-level positions by a larger number. Women are less visible in:
This scenario sets the concept of women promotion on back foot. The media and popular culture has shown that women have acquired management positions when contrasted to women of the 1960's; they deem to have achieved equality (Schmitt, Spoor, Danaher, & Branscombe, 2009, p. 49), the fact of the matter is that, they haven't. Hence, this wrong assumption of women acquiring equality while statistics show a different side creates misunderstanding, although popular view is that women have made their way into top management position, but they still are outnumbered by men in:
Executive leadership (Schwanke, 2013).
Stephanie shows lack of women in notably qualified fields.
Project-based work is handled by such firms, which entail a few consequences as well for instance:
Long hours of working
Opposition to reductions
High expectancy of clients to meet their demands
Employees rooting for flexible hours of working along with a project manager
The research shows that women stand to lose in such a system, which clearly explains the underrepresentation (Stephanie, 2010; Sharma, & Sharma, 2012).Glass ceiling in Cornell University's opinion is a term which was used by Nora Frenkiel in 1984 in Ad week (Catherwood Library, 2005) for highlighting the invisible corporate barriers women face when they work in mid-level positions. They are restricted after this barrier and remain in mid-level position. Media and popular culture shows that this glass ceiling has been broken through, but reality indicates otherwise (Schmitt, Spoor, Danaher, & Branscombe, 2009, p. 56).
Labyrinth is another term used more commonly recently for indicating the arduous challenges women endure in acquiring senior positions (Guerrero, 2011, p. 382). Even though, advancement has been made in lower and midlevel positions, but in senior positions, women remain underrepresented. Only 16% of women according to Fortune 500 companies are board members and corporate officers (Catalyst, 2007, p. 1). These positions were acquired by at a price as they have endured the following discomforts:
Isolation (Barreto, Ryan, & Schmitt, 2009, p. 9).
Hence the term glass ceiling and labyrinth are used for women's endurances in corporate sector. The root cause of this gender disparity hasn't been explained or defined (Schwanke, 2013).
Prevailing Perceptions of Gender and Leadership
The research hasn't shown much indication of competent leadership in case of men and women, the gap still persists (Guerrero, 2011, p. 382; Rosener, 2008, p. 411). Gender biases claims that leadership traits are present in men only, they remain rooted in most organizational cultures and hard to pass through. Women when claimed to showcase such qualities is mostly dissuaded (Guerrero, 2011, p. 383). The general view of the society's belief about men and women's traits can be segmented into two types. Descriptive and prescriptive beliefs are the two types. Descriptive indicate how men and women act (silent or talkative), while prescriptive beliefs indicate how men and women are supposed to act (strong and compassionate) (p. 383) (Schwanke, 2013).
According to present research, leadership is a trait which is associated with men mostly, according to the perception of the society at large (Eagly & Sczesny, 2009, p. 25; Stelter, 2002, p. 90). Communal vs. agentic are the commonplace descriptor of diverse anticipation from women and men. In case of communal traits, it's mostly associated to women since they are compassionate, loving and affectionate. Agentic traits are associated to men mostly signifying control and assertion. These generalized concepts have paved their way in corporate environment as well (Eagly & Sczesny, 2009, p. 24). Working women due to prevailing society notions are expected to be competent since they can't afford to be warm and competent simultaneously (Cikara & Fiske, 2009, p. 79-80).Leadership traits mostly involve the agentic style which is desirable and supported, hence termed as think manager-think male effect (Eagly & Sczesny, 2009, p. 26). As women enter into leadership position, they are expected to display agentic traits to execute leadership responsibilities as well as communal traits since they are women. Hence it's an uncomfortable position where women are criticized to be masculine or feminine (p.27). Hence, it creates aggravation for the women in managerial position as colleagues and subordinates' expectations aren't being met (Schwanke, 2013).
Apart from that, leadership positions are associated with agentic terms, hence men seem capable for such responsibilities irrespective of the fact that the position is male or female dominated (even in healthcare and education). Hence, men take the lead in climbing the corporate ladder swiftly, whilst women lag due to glass ceiling (p. 30).The limited amount of women acquiring the top management position is given way to a new term known as tokenism. It is an indication of the fact that women have overcome the barrier of gender inequality whilst the statistics indicate otherwise (Schmitt, Spoor, Danaher, & Branscombe, 2009, p. 50). This incorrect paradigm shift further backs women away from overcoming gender equality as it stems false sense of security and renders the gravity of situation less serious (Schwanke,2013).
Women are remarkably less seen in leadership roles in an organization. This is due to the glass ceiling effect which hinders them from rising to upper management positions. They also experience the glass escalator effect, where men are pushed forward along the corporate ladder whilst women are kept back (in women dominated fields as well Maume, 1999; Williams, 1992) (Ryan & Haslam, 2007).Apart from these corporate hindrances, women have come a long way but still have a long way to go (Ryan & Haslam, 2007). According to Judge, women's journey to senior positions has been tough where they are criticized and under radar at all times as compared to men.
Employees also prefer having men as their supervisors in contrast to women (e.g., Simon & Landis, 1989), whilst most men are very skeptical about the competency of women as leaders and supervisors (Sczesny, 2003). But here comes the real question of whether these claims are substantiated or just personal preferences; since women have broken through this barrier, they face this dilemma (Ryan & Haslam, 2007).
Prejudices and Discrimination
Like earlier commentators have noticed, the root cause of the gender discrimination in office place is a byproduct of inherent theories pertaining gender and leadership. The concept stems from particular beliefs about leadership and women, which most deem incompatible (e.g., Agars, 2004; Eagly & Karau, 2002; Heilman, Block, Martell, & Simon, 1989; Schein, 1973, 1975, 2001). Furthermore, Berthoin Antal and Izreali have observed that women face the particular stereotyping problem as management is fundamentally associated to men (1993: 63) (Ryan & Haslam, 2007).
In Rhode's opinion, analyzing the present research shows that leadership opportunities are blocked by gender discrimination, lack of mentor availability, supporting mechanisms and lastly narrow-minded office place framework. Rhode has termed research on gender inequality in leadership a form of cottage industry consisting of two hundred empirical researches as well as wealth of journalistic and pop psychological accounts (p.18) endeavoring to evaluate the styles of leadership and its differences apart from priorities. In conclusion she deems that there is lack of evidence against gender differences, but they are inherently common in workplace nevertheless (p.19). In the end, she sums up by indicating…