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Companies around the world are currently going through a period of transforming and changing. Some are expending their business globally and there are some who wonder how the changing will effect or give an impact on their organization. As we know, men and women are entering the labor force in equal numbers but the majority of top mangement positions is still belong to men. The failure of more women to break the upper levels of corporate management is due to the glass ceiling. In economics, the term glass ceiling refers to situations where the advancement of a qualified person within the hierarchy of an organization is stopped at a lower level because of some form of discrimination, most commonly sexism or racism. However, since the term was coined, “glass ceiling” has also come to describe the limited advancement of the deaf, gays and lesbians, blind, disabled, and aged based on the defination in Wikipedia.
There are many types of glass ceiling such as religious discrimination, different pay for comparable work, sexual, races, ethnics and even harrasment in the workplace. Other than that, exclusion from informal networks like preconceptions and stereotyping of women’s role and abilities is also one of them. Another types of glass ceiling are lack of family-friendly workplace policies and policies that discriminate against gay people, non-parents, or single parents.
There are many reasons that causes the glass ceiling. One of the reason is job segregation. Job segregation is the concentration of women and men in different types and levels of activity and employment. Normally, men tend to be highly concentrated in the upper levels of professions such as managers, supervisor, production supervisors and also executives. Women on the other hand, tend to be in the status of lower level and lower paid professions such as teachers, secretaries, receptionists and nurses. Women also measure success in the workplace differently than men because women place a higher value on their positive interpersonal relationships and feelings whereas men tend to measure success by high salaries, promotional opportunities and job titles.
There is also opinion that saying glass ceiling is voluntarily choose by some women. For example, men tend to work harder in order to get good pay and women tend to choose to work less hours or may not want to extend their work duration in order to organized their children and spend more quality time with their families. There are some organizations that provide their employees with family-friendly programs that offer options such as flex-time which employees can choose their own work hours, employee-assistance programs and child care nursery which allows their workers to have a better chance of balancing their work lives and home. Unfortunately, women may feel reluctant to take advantage of these programs as they feel it may lessen than chance for being success within the company.
Besides, part of the reason lies in leadership stereotypes. It is still a strong view that women are viewed by many others as weak and soft whereas good male leaders are mostly known as tough and powerful. More or less, this appears to affect career choices as the organization may have a perception that women is weak and not qualified for the positions especially the top management positions.
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Women and men also differ in their career gaps. Men are not influence to take a leave of absence. For example, when one of their children is sick, women is most likely to have to take the leave because men seldom do that. Men also refuse to work on a part-time job in order to get additional or side income when compared to women. It is maybe because they are shy that people would know when they have two jobs as mentioned earlier that men tend to measure success by high salaries and job titles.
Other than that, most of the employers have the believe that women may quit the job when they want to begin a family and get married. Therefore, the organizations are less likely to invest in woman’s career by appointing them as the top management position. In order to let the organization hire a woman as one of upper levels of corporate management, they must show the dedication and willingness to take on new challenges and risks and be vocal about their personal ambitions.
SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
Today, women represent more than 40 per cent of the global workforce as they have achieved higher levels of education than ever before. Unfortunately, their share of upper management positions remains unacceptably low, with just a little tiny ratio succeed in breaking through the glass ceiling.
According to the journal, the main topic that been highlight is about the impact and how gender diversity influence the career development of women being a director or one of the top position in the organization. There are three key areas that focus on women directors which are theoretical perspectives, characteristics and impact. Theoretical perspectives comprise of individual, board and firm. Individual consist of human capital, status characteristics and gender self-schema while board consist of social identity, social network and social cohesion, gendered trust, ingratiation and leadership. Firm level includes in resource dependency, institutional and agency theories.
Characteristic review in four levels which are individual, board, firm and also industry and environment such as demographics, social capital, role, size, commitment, shareholder distribution, performance and economic environment. Impact also focus on the same level such as role models, governance performance, decision making, glass cliff effect, talent and also recruitment and retention.
Glass ceiling exist because of few factors such as occupational sex discrimination, childcare responsibilities, stereotypes and gender discrimination. The perception of women can also lead to a problem because there are some belief that women are unqualified and they might have their own agenda. Organizations are very much concerned about hiring, retaining and promoting women to higher level but few are making the necassary changes to make a difference. Women hold less powerful corporate titles, fewer multiple directorships and earn considerably less than men. Men are more likely to have the collective trust whereas women believe in collective trust as well as relationship trust.
The impact of women as a top management postition dwell in different level. In areas where they are very much represented in the pool from which leadership is drawn, women still do not move into leadership positions in equal ratios. The reason is women typically hold up on too much share of the burden in balancing their job and family.
Sadly there are so much barriers that prevent women to become one of the top position in an organization. One of the barrier is the environment in a workplace. Organizational cultures, employees’ attitude, racial stereotype commonly limit women from completely participating in the organizations. Working parents, especially mothers, usually have to deal with family obligation which they often have to choose between their job and family. They actually require flexibility at work. Women often lack the “right” type of job experience to move foward. The experiences they have normally do not suit the promotion criteria.
Equal but different? As mentioned earlier, men and women are entering this labour force in equal numbers but why is that women is being treated as minority group and a weak person? In this paper, i have attempted to contribute to glass ceiling by exploring how glass ceiling affect the women in achieving their dreams. Women often to have less power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others than men in the organization. They face different challenges and most likely they should have a required skills to be successful in the organization compared to their male counterparts. This is due to glass ceiling that appear to have in every organizations directly or indirectly. Men and women are seen differently because men want to see and analyse if women have the capabilities and the qualification that fit to be in the upper level management.
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The inflexibility of our culture builds an organizational resistance against the values that women and people with disabilities bring to the workplace. Women need to be guide and support through the challenge. The organization should revamped the assessment in order to exclude gender discrimination and conduct an exit interviews in order to determine the reason why women leave positions. Mostly, women will have less salary compared to men because the employers sometimes view women as they are not devoted to their work. In organizations, the progress of women and disable people appears to be affected by more than career choices and qualifications.
Today there are some organizations that appraise, measure and do changes to their organization’s policies and procedures in order to attract talented women to work in a diversifying work force. Doesn’t mean that when there are still difficulties in the working environment, women should stop trying to achieve their dreams. They should always think positive that one day women will no longer treated as a minority and a weak person instead they are being treated equally as men. It is important for them to strive and go for what they dream of because they might be able to break the glass ceiling.
SUGGESTION / RECOMMENDATION
Recently there have been many changes that organizations are trying to intergrate so that more women can be a part of the top management position and achieve their dream. Some of the examples are work from home, flexible timing and so on. There are few recommendations that i would like to suggest that may helps in changing the perception and mind-set of certain people towards glass ceiling. The recommendations are:
Women will have equal access to jobs if the government enforce the anti-discrimination legislation at the workplace.
Provide various training that emphasize on the workplace equality, values and their importance and the consequences of gender discrimination.
Part-time workers must have the same entitlements and benefits as full-time workers and make sure all employees’ conditions and benefits are equally distribute.
Providing education and enough informations about sexual harassment and directly implement no-sexual harrasment policies to create a note of respect in the workplace.
Creating a forums for women so that whenever they have issues affecting them in the workplace or jobs, they can always discuss it there.
Develope a programmes to help employers acknowledge the capabilities and the benefits that women can bring to their businesses.
Evaluation must not be rated based on employees gender, but it must be evaluated by their performance.
Implement a family-friendly policies that will help supporting women at work which include the flexible working hours, child care nursery and other facilities, parental leave for women and men and many more.
Organizational leaders should learn on how to enhance or upgrade the developmental and advancement opportunities for women and take responsibility for removing barriers.
In a nutshell, it seems that glass ceiling are still exsist in an organization and women have made a great tread in smashing on the glass ceiling but have not quite broken through it yet. In order to compete on a same level with men, having an access to line experience and management training it very important. Other than that, women must also have a good and effective communication skills that can give the opportunities for better interaction with others. Women also must have the ability to cope effectively and positively under pressure and willing to face of challenges, criticism and setbacks.
It is easy to jump to the conclusion that successful elimination of glass ceiling requires not just an effective enforcement strategy but also the involvement of employers, employees and others in identifying and reducing attitudinal and other forms of organizational barriers encountered by women in advancing to higher level management position in different workplace setting. Organization also need to embrace the concept of diversity and redefine leadership model in organizations so that this will let women bring value to and integrate into leadership structures.
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