Effective Elements Preventing Women From Achieving Senior Positions Sociology Essay Example
Effective Elements Preventing Women From Achieving Senior Positions Sociology Essay Example

Effective Elements Preventing Women From Achieving Senior Positions Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1867 words)
  • Published: August 15, 2017
  • Type: Paper
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This section establishes the foundation for investigating the barriers that obstruct women from attaining high-level positions. The literature review is split into two parts: a comprehensive evaluation of global literature and an analysis of pertinent literature regarding Iran.

International Literature

Mead (1935, p.322) stated that "To discover a wealthy civilization, abundant in diverse values, we must observe all aspects of human potential." It has become evident that women and minority groups play crucial roles as the workforce continues to expand. In contrast to expectations, white workers comprise only 45% currently compared to dominating the workforce in the 1960s.Future expansion in labor force is predicted largely from females and minorities with Caucasians contributing just 15% (Lovers, 1990;Thomas, 1990;Population Reference Bureau Iraqi National Congress, 1989). Johnston(1987) published Work and Workers in the twenty-first century on behalf


of Ministry of Labor which predicted an economic downturn, significant population changes, and a mismatch between work requirements and employee capabilities.Johnston(1987) also noted substantial modifications made to human resource policies due to demographic shifts such as increase female employees but decrease inexperienced workers.In 1992, the General Accounting Office conducted a study (p.3) which reported significant changes in workforce composition that are expected to continue, despite a lack of expert predictions. One notable change is the entry of women into the labor market since 1950, resulting in an estimated one million non-military female workers added annually by Bloom (Castro, 1985, p.65). By 1990, this growth had increased over two hundred percent with around fifty-seven million women employed or actively seeking employment. Bloom asserts that female advancements have been crucial developments seen within the US economy and their promotion to senio

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positions will be a major leap forward for decades to come. Despite females' progress matching their educational achievements and professional commitments according to many people's beliefs - they encounter barriers called Glass Ceilings preventing them from climbing higher up career ladders. The term "Glass Ceiling" was coined by The Wall Street Journal in 1986 describing challenges faced by women and minorities pursuing better working conditions; numerous authors suggest it is an invisible barrier hindering women's progress due to gender rather than individual inadequacies (Morrison et al., 1987, p.13).In 1991, the U.S. Department of Labor defined the Glass Ceiling as a set of barriers that exist within organizations due to human biases, preventing qualified individuals from advancing (p.1). This phenomenon is present in both private and government sectors, with its obstacles being more universal than once believed (U.S. Ministry of Labor, 1991, p.4). Conservative directors have acknowledged significant hurdles for women seeking high-level positions according to Rivers’ report from 1991. Although some progress has been made over time regarding women becoming directors, only a select few can achieve leadership positions as reported by female members at the U.S. Ministry of Labor in 1989. A Catalyst study conducted in 1990 showed that between 25-22% of senior director and HR employee roles were held by women while only 5% occupied top executive positions. Additionally, Fierman's research from 1990 demonstrated less than five percent of executive-level slots across America's various industrial and service companies were occupied by females with fewer than one percent receiving top wages or salaries.The Glass Ceiling law was established under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to combat race, color, religion and nationality discrimination but

now also addresses gender bias which is currently the leading form resulting in significant financial settlements for companies found guilty of it.Marriott Corporations and Precision Castparts Corporation are just two examples of companies that have paid out millions in settlements to women who were denied promotions or pushed into traditional gender roles. Despite some progress, Lynn Martin's "Glass Ceiling Initiative" report illustrates that there are still obstacles preventing women from breaking through this ceiling. To achieve individual advancement, as well as societal development and economic growth, it is crucial to overcome these barriers. Analysts are investigating why women with capabilities and expertise continue to struggle to obtain managerial positions. A 1991 Catalyst study found that 70% of senior executives acknowledged the existence of barriers such as stereotypical thinking, prejudice, and managers' reluctance to promote women. The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board's research from 1992 confirmed deeply rooted stereotypes, attitudes, inclinations, subconscious biases affecting managers' perceptions of women's abilities and hiring decisions were among the primary obstacles preventing women from reaching senior positions. Moreover, female employees often face assumptions that they are less dedicated than their male counterparts; cultural diversity studies highlight historical recruitment practices; limited networks for mentorship; resistance to change; invisible barriers may also hinder women's career progression despite their qualifications and skills.The phenomenon referred to as the glass ceiling is well-known. In 1992, Morrison conducted a survey across 16 private and federal organizations, identifying 21 obstacles with only six being significantly different from each other. Common hindrances include prejudice that perceives inequality as inefficiencies, inadequate career planning, an unfriendly working environment for non-traditional managers, lack of organizational wisdom and understanding in non-traditional managers,

comfort in dealing with someone from the same background and difficulty balancing work and family life. Several studies conducted on women's career advancement have identified personal and external factors affecting it. These studies investigated internal factors like social-psychological and personal elements as well as external factors such as situational and structural factors. Horragan suggests that certain traits exhibited by women hinder their career advancement due to childhood biological and psychological patterns that contradict management practices' requirements. Conversely, external factors are generally beyond women's control where any errors made would likely be attributed to one's environment rather than individual actions (Oliver 1993; Andrew, Coderre & Denis 1990; Talley 1988).Kanter's (1977) research indicates that the distribution of power and organizational structure play a significant role in shaping attitudes and characteristics of men and women in the workplace, which can impact women's ability to attain upper management positions. Harlen and Weiss (1981) argue that both intrinsic and extrinsic factors contribute to gender disparities in career advancement, calling for a comprehensive approach. Fagenson (1990) proposes that limited career advancement among women may result from gender bias, organizational context, or social/institutional systems. Morrison's 1992 study identified biased attitudes towards individuals who differ from the default group based on traits such as race or gender as major obstacles for women seeking higher positions. Wrightsman (1977) defined group stereotypes as inflexible beliefs oversimplifying perceptions of certain groups while Basow (1980) explains how gender stereotypes stem from simple beliefs about psychological traits based on sex differences between men and women. Putman & Heinen (1976) state society views progressive men as aggressive, strong, logical, decisive, ambitious forceful, independent and self-reliant; however Spence & Helmreich

(1978) believe society views women as vulnerable, irrational inactive and subsidiary with an expectation to display femininity through kindness fondness and self-devotion.According to Rosener (1990), women need new perspectives and theories on leadership in order to attain higher management positions. The National Academy of Science commission's study in 1994 found that only 12% of applied scientists and scientists were women, and gender stereotyping worsens discrimination against females in traditionally male professions. Powell (1994) argues that the concept of "Perfect Leadership" relates to gender role identity rather than gender itself. Bass (1990) notes that societal expectations dictate different behaviors for men and women, leaving women unsure about how to cross the "reference line." Dusky (1992) concludes that women must push beyond these limitations to achieve success. Insel and Jelinek (1987) state that a female manager must demonstrate superiority over a male colleague to be considered for a senior executive position. This belief is shared by other writers such as Bowman (1964), Goerss (1977), and Morrison &...According to Morrison's study, women in high-ranking positions face more challenges than men. The study focused on 76 female senior directors from Fortune Journal's list of 100 famous companies. It was found that women need to work harder and take more risks while remaining strong and stable, responsible yet submissive. Cultural stereotypes often make it difficult for individuals to follow orders from women expected to be submissive based on their gender. Bayes and Newton (1978) suggest that this contradicts the value of having a female director. Schein (1975) states that gender plays a significant role in the recruitment process for higher positions, leading to negative evaluations of female candidates compared to

males. Marini (1990) suggests that men are typically praised for quantitative and spatial abilities while women are associated with colloquial skills; however, research studies do not consistently support these gender ability differences. According to Gregory (1990), negative effects of such stereotypes include irrelevant job status, role contradictions, biases in hiring and selection, discrimination in power retention, differences in training and feedback as well as career segregation. Morrison's (1992) findings indicate structural discrimination inhibits women from attaining senior positions which can lead traditional managers undervaluing or ignoring their capabilities.As a result, women often encounter negative evaluations, lower wages, slow career progression and limited opportunities when they join organizations. The "Your occupation is your responsibility" theory is widely used by both male and female executives to achieve success in their careers; however, excessive workload makes it challenging for women to manage this effectively. Despite the availability of counseling references and books on executive behavior, there remains ambiguity about how women should behave at work. Some suggest that adopting masculine traits is necessary for success in male-dominated industries as seen in Henning and Jardim's "Managerial Woman" (1976) and Harragan's "The Games Mother Never Taught You" (1977). These works caution that complying with men's rules is essential for triumph. However, Melia and Lyhl's book "Why Jenny Can't Lead"(1986) suggests that women can flourish if they attain power while maintaining their ethical standards. Interestingly, Hughs(1981)and Fisher(1986) argue that most female executives are unmarried or childless. For successful career advancement, women require motivation from factors such as self-commitment and past achievements which play an integral role in realizing their aspirations.Anderson’s 1983 study reveals that all female managers exhibited competitive personalities with

achievement-oriented goals.Female directors often had positive relationships with their fathers who encouraged confidence and perseverance through participation in supportive sports teams. Within a certain reference group, Fortune Magazine's 1990 report found that half of female directors were either empty-nesters, widowed or single. Research by Jusenious in 1976 showed that women holding executive positions had a lower likelihood of getting married. Morin's study in 1988 revealed that one-third of his reference group believed marriage led to career slowdown, negatively impacting career progression. According to Gilson (1987), this issue can be explained by two reasons: women should either follow cultural norms and sacrifice their careers for family or leave their jobs due to lack of support from traditional marriage structures. Career planning for women differs greatly, summarised by Gutek and Larwood (1987) into four reasons including fitting into husbands' careers and spending more time parenting than fathers do. Schlesinger and Schlesinger (1983) discovered only 37% of men work from home while women spend an average of 13.4 more hours per week working from home than men; whereas Greenglass (1985) argued regardless of other responsibilities, it is expected a woman prioritises her role as a wife and mother above all else.In the past, women were typically expected to take care of their homes and parents even after getting married. As a result, it is not unexpected that women may assert that they put in almost double the effort as men in their everyday lives.

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