Opportunities For Career Progression Gendered Sociology Essay Example
Opportunities For Career Progression Gendered Sociology Essay Example

Opportunities For Career Progression Gendered Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1908 words)
  • Published: September 29, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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The essay will focus on the increasing concern surrounding women's careers as they enter managerial and skilled occupations. It will discuss theories and evidence of gender issues affecting career advancement, including the three dimensions influencing advancement and Hakim's Preference Theory (2000). The lack of female CEOs in large corporations and efforts to increase women's involvement at a managerial level will be reviewed. Strategies for women to achieve parity with male colleagues will also be discussed. The barriers faced by women in nursing, despite its predominantly female workforce, as well as their involvement in elite positions, will be explored. The essay will analyze why women choose part-time jobs and the challenges they face. Statistical evidence of improvement in the number of women in leadership positions in large organizations will be examined, along with campaigns to increase their contribution at a managerial leve


l. The program 'Opportunity 2000', which began in 1991, aimed to promote adult women's involvement in higher positions within organizations. Since the 1960s, there has been a significant increase in women's participation across various professions; however, they still face multiple career issues across sectors.According to Evetts (2000), three dimensions can categorize these issues: cultural, structural, and action. The cultural dimension focuses on societal attitudes towards women, including their role within the family and concepts of femininity. These attitudes greatly impact women's professional lives as they navigate work decisions while balancing paid and unpaid responsibilities and fulfilling roles as mothers, daughters, wives, professionals etc. (Adkins, 1995 as cited in Evetts J., 2000). Women also face challenging choices between paid and unpaid work or avoiding promotions (Brannen and Moss, 1991 as cited in Evetts J., 2000) tha

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significantly influence their career aspirations and success. Cultural studies have examined gendered characteristics within organizations revealing the existence of a "discriminatory environment" (Bourne and Wilker, 1982 as cited in Evetts J., 2000). Researchers like Cockburn (1985) and Hacker (1989) have categorized certain professions such as engineering or military as highly masculine. The text emphasizes how professions like nursing are associated with women due to their caring nature. In the 1980s, efforts were made to prioritize a female work culture leading to changes in relationships that benefited clients, coworkers, and employees themselves (Gray, 1987 as cited in Evetts J., 2000).The text discusses how women have been able to improve their weaknesses and turn them into strengths, but still face challenges in obtaining promotions within organizations. These difficulties hinder their ability to reach senior positions. Additionally, the text mentions the impact of structural dimensions on women's opportunities in both family and work contexts. These structures aim to distribute responsibilities among family members and organizational departments, which can limit adult females' commitment to paid work and promotional opportunities. Gender also plays a significant role in banking, local authorities, and nursing due to organizational restructuring. The passage explores how internal labor markets affect career opportunities for women compared to men and highlights the influence of structural factors on balancing work and family responsibilities. It acknowledges that cultural beliefs and publicity present obstacles for women in the household but suggests that accommodations, influence, or compromise can help address these issues. Finally, it emphasizes the importance of making informed career decisions and utilizing resources.Some women choose to pursue managerial positions, while others prioritize their family responsibilities over career advancement, and these

decisions are personal. Both structural and cultural factors impact career trajectories. Despite legislation aimed at promoting work-life balance, there is still a persistent issue of pay inequality due to structural dimensions. As society embraces new career models and becomes more accepting of working mothers, cultural beliefs will also shift accordingly. This transformation will help adult females determine the careers that best suit them considering both changing structures and cultures.

Preference Theory

Introduced by Hakim (2000), 'preference theory' examines women's priorities regarding work and family. This theory focuses on how societal bias influences women's participation in the labor market. Hakim (2000) identified five significant changes in the late 20th century that created a different environment for women, offering new opportunities for equality. These changes may not be simultaneous or uniformly prevalent across all societies, but they have collective effects. The first change was the contraceptive revolution starting from 1965, which empowered sexually active women to control their fertility. The next change was the equal opportunities revolution, ensuring women's access to various positions, careers, and industries within the labor market.The expansion of white-collar jobs has led to an increase in the number of women entering these professions, while blue-collar occupations continue to attract fewer women. There has also been a push to create more opportunities for secondary earners who prioritize non-work commitments over paid employment (Hakim, 2000).

In her article "The Glass Ceiling: Engagement on a senior level," Oakley (2000) discusses how the concept of the "glass ceiling" restricts women from attaining higher positions within large organizations. Oakley references Morrison et al. (1987) to highlight that this barrier impedes women's advancement beyond a certain level and notes the scarcity of

female CEOs in major companies.

Multinational corporations are striving to include more women in senior management roles in order to meet global competition demands and maintain an effective human resource workforce, as stated by Adler and Izraeli (1994). However, promotion policies within these companies often create obstacles that hinder women's progress towards higher positions.

A survey conducted by Catalyst (1990) revealed that only 4 percent of surveyed companies made efforts to promote women's involvement in managerial positions without addressing issues related to their promotions. Furthermore, women frequently encounter disparities in feedback compared to men, as well as unequal pay and fewer bonuses or benefits.Gallese (1991, as cited in Oakley J, 2000) observed that women at all levels of an organization do not receive equal compensation and advantages. This leads to a "behavioral dual bind" where their behavior is closely scrutinized. Historically, those in power, particularly men, have used this double bind to assert dominance over individuals without power, especially women (Jamieson, 1995, as cited in Oakley J., 2000).

According to studies conducted by Broveman et al.(1972) and Heilman et al.(1989), male managers perceive female managers as less consistent, confident, systematic, and lacking leadership qualities due to gender stereotypes. This perception based on gender stereotypes results in the existence of an established "old boy network" within organizations. This network excludes both less powerful men and all women and hinders the advancement of female CEOs who are seen as a threat.

Women often face obstacles in achieving equal standing with their male colleagues and emphasize the importance of parity for success (Davies Netzley S., 1998). As a result, they often adapt their address, attitude, and behavior to align with higher-ranking individuals

rather than relying solely on hard work.

The representation of women in higher-level positions within Fortune 500 companies remains low. Only 4% of managers and 2% of corporate officers are female (Glinow V. and Mercer K., 1988, as cited in Davies Netzley S., 1998).The ongoing debate surrounding women's involvement in elite positions pertains to individuals who hold the power to influence national policy-making through their roles. Unfortunately, men's dominance at the highest levels has resulted in a scarcity of women in such esteemed positions (Epstein and Coster et al., 1981, as cited in Moore G., 1988). Although nursing has historically been associated with women's work, men continue to experience greater career advancement compared to their female counterparts due to exclusion from significant levels within the field. In order for nurses to achieve full career progression, it is often expected that they work full-time; however, this may not be feasible for all nurses (Davies and Rosser et al., 1986). The adoption of a male career structure is believed to offer more opportunities for career advancement among nurses (Goss and Brown, 1991). Furthermore, assumptions made by many managers that part-time workers are less dedicated than those who work full-time further limit their chances for progress (Corby et al., 1991). Lane (2000) argues that women face numerous barriers when it comes to advancing in their careers, including limited training opportunities and inflexible working hours. These barriers not only restrict the types of jobs available to women but also hinder the development of skills necessary for career progression.The exclusion of women from career advancement due to employers prioritizing paid work over family responsibilities (Curran et al., 1988) can be addressed

by incorporating equal opportunities into human resource policies. It is essential to integrate equal opportunities into management programs, although changing attitudes may take time (Durbin and Tomlinson, 2010). The lack of career progression for women can be attributed to traditional beliefs held by male senior managers who doubt their competence (Smithson and Stokoe, 2005). Middle-level female managers may feel unable to advance to senior positions due to irregular working hours and workplace culture (Liff and Ward, 2001). The increase in part-time employment in the UK has impacted career prospects and gender segregation levels. According to a study based on the Labor Force Survey by Tomlinson et al. (2009), 60% of part-time working mothers are employed in categories such as 'elementary administration and service', 'caring personal service', 'administrative', and 'sales and customer service'. Determining whether women choose or are forced to work part-time is crucial in understanding their work preferences. Part-time work is often perceived as having lower status with fewer job opportunities compared to full-time employment.A study conducted on 16 part-time female managers revealed that 13 of them had previously worked full-time and were dedicated to their careers, with opportunities for promotions and advancement. However, after transitioning to part-time work, none of these women received a promotion, leading to disappointment in their careers. Statistical evidence from the Financial Times and Stock Exchange (FTSE) provides information on the number of women holding board positions in major organizations. According to a study by Sealy, R., Vinnicombe S., and Singh V. (2008), top-ranked companies like [Company 1], [Company 2], [Company 3], [Company 4], among others have varying numbers of adult female managers serving on their boards. For instance,

Burberry has three adult female managers out of seven total members on their board; Diageo has four out of eleven adult female managers; Alliance Trust has three out of nine adult female managers; British Airways and Pearson PLC each have exactly three out of eight adult female managers identified. Additionally, Astrazeneca, Marks and Spencer, Standard Life, and Sainsbury all have three out of eleven adult female managers. British American Tobacco has three out of twelve adult female managers while Inmarsat Group and Unilever both have two out of eight adult female managers.The text discusses the various factors that affect women's career progression, such as cultural systems that discourage promotions and prioritize family over careers. Efforts are being made to address these issues through the preference theory, which suggests five changes to help women balance personal and professional lives. The concept of the "glass ceiling" illustrates the challenges faced by women in reaching senior positions but also recognizes multinational companies' efforts to promote them despite barriers they may encounter. Adult females face judgment compared to men in all aspects, leading to gendered career advancement and a scarcity of female CEOs. This disparity is evident in nursing, where men experience greater career progression despite women dominating the field. These barriers hinder career advancement and highlight the necessity for equal opportunity policies. Limited opportunities for career growth often result in increased part-time employment, reducing chances for promotions. While some women have reached senior positions within large organizations, overall, women's career progression continues to be hindered despite minimal success in addressing this issue. Therefore, it is crucial to treat both genders equally and avoid underestimating women's personal responsibilities.

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