Gender Disparities in Management Positions

Introduction

It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of women in management because term management may mean different things to different people, also there is lack of regular systems that collect data on this area (Burke, R. J., & Davidson, 2013). However, a research conducted in about 5000 small and medium enterprises in Europe showed that the number of women in managerial position is low. In fact, there were no women holding senior positions in about 50% of the companies (Burke, R. J., & Davidson, 2013). There is a need to critically analyse the gender issues since both male and female should be given equal opportunities (Shabbir, Shakeel, and Zubair, 2017). Discriminating one based on their sex should be discouraged to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all. Mostly, family responsibilities lie with the women and a woman is left to choose between career and family. Working women bear double burdens since they take care of their jobs as well as their families (Shabbir, Shakeel, and Zubair, 2017).

Favourism and stereotypes

Gender favourism has been a reality in the employment sectors across the world (Shabbir, Shakeel, and Zubair, 2017). Women have been performing exemplary well across all the sector but they are faced with gender inequality and discrimination. Within the society, the socialization of gender, the boys tend to be affirmed that they are better that the girls, hence they grow up with favourism. Also, there are some behaviours that re tolerated in the society since one is a man and condemned in women. This means that the treatment that the men get from the society is different from that the women get.

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There is an underrepresentation of the women leaders across the world (Perrewe, Halbesleben, and Rosen 2015). The women leaders are scarce in the education, agriculture, science and technology, government as a well as in business. On the contrast, women are the currently the majority group that is enrolled in the colleges and universities. This however does not represent the employment sector where the majority of the employees holding top positions are the men. To add, men are the majority in the manufacturing sector and receive more favourism in terms of higher salary and better positions. Due to their elevated numbers in the manufacturing, men tend also to hold the elective positions in their organizations.

Women on the other hand have been discriminated for a very long time based on their sex. There are several discriminatory factors that minimize the demand for females in the management. Stereotype has played a major role in discriminating against the women (2021). Men are thought to be more aggressive than the women. Therefore, women are termed as less in terms of aggressiveness and art considered less competitive as compared to the men. Businesses require people who are aggressive and competitive at the top levels so as to propel the business forward. The CEOs, therefore, tend to prefer men being on the managerial positions as opposed to the women. Also, women are stereotyped as less ambitious. The managerial positions require persons that are very ambitious to push the goals and to achieve the set targets. Therefore, men who are seen as more ambitious are able to secure those positions and the women are left out. To add men are seen to be better leaders than the women. They are therefore given the responsibility of leading while the females are to be led. Resulting from the stereotype, women who could be having all the leadership skills tend to be discriminated against since they are feminine.

To add, the social factors contribute to less women in the managerial positions. For instance, women have more family responsibilities than the men. The career of most women is hurt by the need for maternity leave as well as the absenteeism to take care of their sick children. This converts to loss of more hours which could have since been used to grow the company. Therefore, most companies prefer to hire more men in the managerial positions so as to maximize on the loss of work hours. Also, the socialization process in women is different from that in men. Men tend to receive more encouragement; hence they are more likely to take risks. On the other hand, women may feel inferior and they are therefore not able to take the risks that the men do. Those factors favour the men and discriminate against the women.

Gender norms

Women are advised that they should be dominant, assertive, unemotional and confident like the men so that they can succeed in the workplace (King, 2020). However, the society does not expect the woman to portray such a character due to the gender stereotypes. The woman who portrays such traits are penalized since they do not conform to the feminine stereotype (King, 2020; Baxter 2015). The society expects the woman to be emotional as well as submissive. Therefore, women find it hard to cope with the expectations and the stereotypes that surround them. The Gender norms have since been a hindrance to the career growth and success of women and they favour the career growth and the success of the men (Sherman, 2009).

The issue of gender norms has been debated among activists, practitioners and academics on matters relating to gender. Gender is a term that has been used to distinguish between male and female in terms of preferences, behaviour and roles rather that a as a biological function (Pearse and Connell, 2016). Most of the gender systems that are existing are hierarchical and the females are taken as feminine while the males are masculine. The gender systems consist several elements including gendered power relations, gender socialization, gender roles as well as gender norms. Gender norms can be described as the social expectations and rules that maintain the gender system intact.

The work environment in the manufacturing sector is not flexible, therefore the women find it harder to work in those sectors than in those that seem to be more flexible (Love, Goffnett, and Wetzel, 2012). The responsibilities that are bestowed on the woman require her to work in a flexible environment. The manufacturing industry has been perceived to lack the work- life balance which the women need more due to their feminine responsibilities which include taking care of babies as well as taking care of their jobs. The men are therefore more advantaged and they take up those leadership opportunities in the manufacturing and overall, in the job environment. Therefore, there is a need for the manufacturing industries to look into the short term as well as the long-term issues that would hinder the women from working and taking up top positions in the sector.

Additionally, the manufacturing industry is associated with people working for long hours and long rows of assembly lines (Love, Goffnett, and Wetzel, 2012). The stereotype still lingers on although it has a since been outdated. Men are seen to be stronger than the women hence women tend to run away from those jobs that are seen as masculine. This explains why women shy away from the manufacturing sector to join other sectors that are more feminine. Research has shown that three quarters of women do not consider joining the manufacturing sector. The stereotypes and the gender norms hinder them from being attracted to those careers.

Network

For a career growth, professional networking is crucial (De Klerk, 2010). It allows an individual to create a good reputation as well as build long term relationships. The number of men in the work place is higher hence they dominate the work environment. Therefore, they influence the membership and make in most informal groups. This allow the men to network more and in a multipurpose way and they are therefore able to progress higher within the ranks of the organization. Women on the other hand network for other reasons and ant they do it differently.

They are therefore not able to compete with the men hence they are not able to rise into the higher position in the organization as fast as the men do.

Networking in a business is crucial since it strengthens business connections. It allows for one to engage with their customers as well as other stake holders and they are therefore able to identify new opportunities. Through more networking, men find more opportunities, hence they are better placed in the organization. Also, networking allows one to get new ideas (Rhodes and Butler, 2010). Different people have different ideas and different way of doing things. Through networking one is able to share their knowledge with others and they are as well able to acquire new ideas. They knew ideas can be used to propel the business further hence realizing better profits. Women network less in organizations; hence they would lack the ideas that are shared through networking. Sharing goals, experiences and the challenges that an organization is facing is crucial in gaining new insights.

To add, networking raises an individual’s profile (de Janasz, and Forret, 2008). The networking allows men to be more visible which promotes their career building. Women who tend to network less are sometimes seen as reserved and may not be noticed when opportunities in the managerial level arise. They are therefore disadvantaged in getting those positions. Also, networking helps in the career advancement. Men tend to regularly attend social as well as professional events more which makes them know to more people. This makes them to advance in their career more than the female do. They are also able to identify better and new job opportunities due to the exposure that comes with networking. Personal growth, career advancement as well as business growth may be achieved through networking.

Creating networks also creates an avenue to learning new business techniques (de Janasz, and Forret, 2008). The opportunity gives one an access to valuable information which can be used in the advancement of their career. Also, networking is a great way of building confidence. Continually meeting new people enables on to step out of their comfort zone. Because men network more in their careers, they tend to be more confident than the women. The confidences make men to advance in their corer more than the women. To add, women lack access to informal networks making it even harder for them to create networks.

Fear of uncertainty

Women are stereotypically viewed as passive, emotional, indecisive, nurturing, caring and warm (Perrewe, Halbesleben, and Rosen 2015). Therefore, the employees are not certain that the woman are up to the task that they would be given in the manufacturing sector due to the stereotype. The reputation has been earned because of the role that they play in the society. However, the stereotypes affect the careers of the women since they are carried to the places of work hence some employers may not have confidence that the women would be capable of taking up the leadership roles. The leaders are expected to be rational, strong and decisive, which is considered as masculine hence the women face more obstacles in the access to leadership opportunities.

Women in the manufacturing workforce are less than a third of the total women in the labour force (Love, Goffnett, and Wetzel, 2012). Women are underrepresented in nearly all the manufacturing sectors and the underrepresentation is still reflected in the leadership positions that the women hold. The manufacturing industry faces a gender gap which need to be filled. To add, most of the women lack the necessary skills that would be needed in the sector. Men on the other hand are more skilled and they tend to take up the positions offered in the manufacturing sector. The work environments including the manufacturing are dominated by the males. Women are therefore viewed as new comers. Within the organizations companies may prefer to hire men who they are more familiar with as opposed to the women into specific roles (Beilock, 2019). This gives the men a better opportunity to dominate in the organization. Women tend to lack opportunities in some organizations since the employers may not be familiar with how their work and they are also uncertain on the capabilities that the women may possess.

Additionally, the manufacturing sector has been dominated by the male for ages (Love, Goffnett, and Wetzel, 2012). Hence the employers are angle to gauge and plan on the future. They use the current as well as the past success to plan on their goals and to strategize on how to achieve them. Therefore, it becomes difficult for the employers who had not worked with the women before to engage them and also to give them managerial positions. Also, women take some time off due to maternity leaves and other leaves that are associated with motherhood.

Education and experience

As stated by Catalyst (2014), women incline their careers towards human resource and marketing, which explain why there are less women in the Mathematics, Engineering, Technology and manufacturing science roles. Being a manufacturing company, Encirc, therefore, has more male employees as opposed to the female since it is a male dominated sector in terms of education and experience. Currently, the women in labour force are approximately 47 percent while only 27 percent are in the manufacturing. Recognizing and mentoring the women who do well in the manufacturing may be essential in ensuring that more women join the industry.

Schools on the other hand do not motivate the women to take up the courses that relate to manufacturing (Charles, Hurst, and Notowidigdo, 2016). The number of females that pursue the career that relates to manufacturing is minimal. This explains the less educated and experience women in the manufacturing sector. Therefore, there is need to mentor and encourage women to take up those courses that relate to manufacturing and science. Also, other women who may want to pursue the manufacturing sector may not be in a position to since they may not be able to access those educated and experienced women in the sector since they are few. Hence there is a need for female role models who may be looked up to for advice as well as for the skills.

Upon entry into the work place, women are given fewer opportunities as well as lower pay (Bhardwaj, 2018). This also discourages the women from getting into some sectors through acquiring knowledge and skills. Some of the employers’ claim that they are less experience and other do it because of the stereotypes that area associated with the women. The people who are tasked at making hiring decisions also discriminate against the women since they have been found to view the candidates in terms of the stereotypes as opposed to the education and experience. There is a predominantly masculine culture to sustain the preference of male dominated roles as well as reinforce gender stereotyped role. The difference in performance evaluation as well as in promotion, status and salaries act as barriers to advancement and opportunities. To add, women may be in a disadvantaged position to acquire education especially due to the responsibilities of taking care of their homes as well caring for the babies (Rhodes and Butler, 2010).

To conclude, there is a vast talent that is yet to be exploited in women. If given equal opportunity, women would perform as well as the men do. Therefore, there is a need to encourage the women into embracing the manufacturing sector through motivation, education and through gender equality.

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References

Beilock, S. (2019) Research-Based Advice for Women Working in Male- Dominated Fields. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2-4.

Bhardwaj, B.R., 2018. Can education empower women through entrepreneurial marketing. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy.

Burke, R. J., & Davidson, M. (2013). Women in management: current research issues, volume II

Charles, K.K., Hurst, E. and Notowidigdo, M.J., 2016. The masking of the decline in manufacturing employment by the housing bubble. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 30(2), pp.179-200.

de Janasz, S.C. and Forret, M.L., 2008. Learning the art of networking: A critical skill for enhancing social capital and career success. Journal of management education, 32(5), pp.629-650.

De Klerk, S., 2010. The importance of networking as a management skill. South African journal of business management, 41(1), pp.37-49.

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King Michelle, P. (2020) The Fix. London: Simon & Schuster

Love, K.G., Goffnett, S.P. and Wetzel, A.D., 2012. Group Differences in Work Sample Ratings of Manufacturing Applicants: Exploring Group Gender Composition Biases. Leadership & Organizational Management Journal, 2012(4).

Pearse, R. and Connell, R., 2016. Gender norms and the economy: insights from social research. Feminist Economics, 22(1), pp.30-53.

Perrewe, P. L., Halbesleben, J. R. B., & Rosen, C. C. (2015). Mistreatment in organizations: research in occupational stress and wellbeing. Volume 13 Volume 13. https://www.vlebooks.com/vleweb/product/openreader?id=none&isbn=9781785601163

Rhodes, C. and Butler, J.S., 2010. Organizational membership and business success: The importance of networking and moving beyond homophily. Challenge Online, 16(1), pp.33-48.

Shabbir, H., Shakeel, M.A. and Zubair, R.A., 2017. Gender stereotype, glass ceiling and women’s career advancement: An empirical study in service sector of Pakistan. City University Research Journal, pp.236-246.

Sherman, J., 2009. Bend to avoid breaking: Job loss, gender norms, and family stability in rural America. Social Problems, 56(4), pp.599-620.

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