Breaking The Glass Ceiling
Discussing gender inequality in the workplace
Ioana Marin, London 18/10/18
Women in Business and Finance Society, King's College London
In the past decades, the gender consistency of the worldwide workforce has changed seemingly. Since the enactment of the law for equal employment opportunities in 1994, feminists all over the world made impressive progress towards gender equality, thus changing the overall outlook over working women.
Despite these changes, which enabled female workers’ access to occupations that were previously unattainable for them, many jobs today are still gender segregated, and women at all levels of organizations, still lag behind men in regards to payment and authority (Williams et al., 2012).
Despite the major strides made from the traditional organizational environment, companies nowadays still tend to be gendered. Although gender diversity is now being strongly proclaimed by the majority of the corporations, women personnel still faces an invisible glass ceiling, in the attempt to reach executive or managing positions.
However, if women manage to overpass it, the increasing number of executive jobs for females might actually disestablish the gendered organizations.
The embeddedness of male favoritism makes it harder for women to gain organizational power. Lower pay and authority, when compared to men, are certain demotivators. Stainback et al. (2015) support that women in power can remove the existing gender discrepancy by becoming active “change agents” to support a change of the gender dynamics. Thus, it is crucial that women perceive the degree of gender segregation and understand that only a change in attitude, determination and ambition is the way to raze the glass ceiling.
Change is required to dissolve inequality regimes, and both organizations and women already in power should act on the situation. The diversity craze brought many positive aspects with it, as mentors started encouraging women to leave white collar jobs in the pursuit of extensive power. Women are “tokens” in the leadership positions and the greater their number, the higher their level of influence amongst organization levels . “Under hegemonic systems even the disadvantaged tend to adopt the perspective of those in power” (Stainback et al., 2015)
Thus, given the disproportional representation of females in upper management, women already situated above the glass ceiling, should not act like “queen bees” and subject fellow women to the same flawed system that they had to face, but rather take advantage of their influence and change the already male underpinned structure. It is crucial that women understand the dynamics of gendered organizations and identify and overcome the barriers that obstruct their paths towards executive jobs.
Female leadership is vital and emphasizing on women’s access to executive suites can balance gender inequality in organizations.
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