Monday, October 26, 2015

Women, the Glass Ceiling, Elected Government

In No Seat at the Table, How Corporate Governance and Law Keep Women Out of the Boardroom, Douglas Branson describes the Glass Ceiling.  By this, Branson refers to the invisible barrier that keeps women from advancing to high level management positions.  Upper management for major corporations are made up of a majority of men and this male subculture is often difficult for women to breakthrough.  Women who are the minority in a group may be treated as a token and bear the brunt of jokes at her expense.  (Branson p. 109) Stereotyping of the token or minority in the group happens often.  Higher scrutiny is given to women when they are the minority.  This visibility limits their freedom of action.  Women face limited career advancement.  The term “glass ceiling” has been used as an analogy for “a barrier so subtle that it is transparent, yet so strong that it prevents women and minorities from moving up the management hierarchy” (Morrison and Von Glinow, 1990: 200) (Crosby and Stockdale).  Women possess the ambition, motivation and skills for upper management positions but are rarely able to achieve such positions.  Women face a lack of support in obtaining upper management positions.  Women face discrimination such as sexual harassment.  Women on average earn less than their male counterparts with equal education and responsibilities.    Crosby and Stockdale identify three barriers for women to gain promotion which include, “male stereotyping and preconceptions of women, exclusion from informal networks of communication and lack of significant general management/line experience.”  There are critical behaviors that women can adopt to break through the glass ceiling in their careers. 
Women who exceed expectations do the best that they can at all tasks. 
* Women can adapt a style that fellow employees are comfortable with. 
* Women should seek out challenging, difficult and highly visible assignments. 
* Women who have an influential mentor have greater career success and more advancement opportunities.

Taking  a look at the women in elected Government, Audrey Wall wrote a good article which includes the table showing that women reached over 25% of statewide elective officials, but that number has declined in more recent years.

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