Women are not being represented in required proportion at the top management positions. The phenomenon observed world- wide requires an inquiry on three fronts. First is to understand the reasons behind such phenomenon, second is to assess its implications on business & society at large and the third issue is to find the required measures…
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A revisit to culture vis--vis traditional division of labour and positive policy decisions for retention and promotion of women are some of the key instruments to bring back the missing women.
A sizeable proportion of women is not being seen at the top echelons of management in public, private or legal bodies. The phenomenon is being observed across nations despite the development index or political ideology and is also not specific to certain sectors but is spread across sectors with some variations. Equal Opportunity Commission recently in a study (as cited by Curtis 2007) informed that glass ceiling is holding back women in Britain from top 6000 positions to attain the representative proportion. A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (2006) showed that in Cyprus, women hold only 12 % of the top executive positions. African women hold only 0.9% of key management positions and world over average percentage of women ranges between 10% and less on both sides of Atlantic. (Mnganga, 2003). Most of these studies also observed that women are entering the workforce with equal qualifications but progress to top echelons is hampered. International Labour Organisation (ILO) noted in its proceedings (ILO, 1998) that "women's access to top management posts was still severely restricted though they frequently matched or exceeded their male counterparts in terms of formal qualifications and technical know-how". There are three issues attached with this phenomenon requiring incisive inquiry. Where do these women disappear & what happens to them Does it matter and to whom What should be done, if it matters
Where do these women disappear & what happens to them
Women are valued if they take care of family responsibilities and vice a versa. Working mothers try to balance work and family. Visible and often invisible barriers emerge from the sexual division of labour. The work culture also has a long inheritance of male dominance, which celebrates masculine qualities nested in late hours, old boy's network and informal networks. (ILO, 1998). The task of balancing both the worlds take its toll and many women start treading on a stagnated path and do not actualise their potential. Some quit in between to remain at home and in the process strengthening the stereotyped role of women and probably not even fuelling the ambitions of next generation daughters to conquer the sky. Though some of these women break away to form their own enterprises and studies suggest that these enterprises do remarkably well. Only very few women succeed in breaking the glass ceiling. (Treanor, 2007;Bawden, 2007). The work culture instead of assimilating women proactively by working on the barriers adjusts itself to the uncertainty associated with the women in workforce. Eventually the problem gets placed at the doorstep of these women who leave for personal reasons. Visible women also become invisible in long term planning and succession line de facto get reserved for men.
Visibility of women at top echelons, does it matter
Welbourne(2000) studied the relationship of top women managers and earning-per-share after the initial public offerings and found that higher number of women managers at such companies help in resulting
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