I had an internship this summer with a federal government agency where I was surprised that the head of the division was a woman. I have had summer internships at different federal government agencies since I have started attending college and I have never seen a female that is head of an entire division. Unfortunately, this is an issue within managerial positions in the federal government. Northouse (2013) discusses three explanations that can illustrate why this issue exists. First, women have not been in managerial positions long enough for them to naturally progress to the tops of organizations (Penn State University World Campus, 2017). Northouse (2013) calls this the “pipeline theory”. The pipeline theory illustrates that some women climb the corporate ladder over time and eventually gain a top managerial position. Second, Ragins, Townsend, and Mattis (1998) found that women lack general management experience. Unfortunately, due to the lack of resources given to women, they are deemed to have insufficient experience in line positions. This possibility holds the most credence of the three explanations as women, unlike their male counterparts, also lack strong mentor relationships that help provide deeper insight into their leadership experiences and to provide for growth opportunities (Ragins, Townsend, and Mattis, 1998). Third, women are less suited to executive demands, are not qualified for these positions, and lack self-confidence (Heilman, 1997; Morrison, 1992; Morris, 1998). Although there is little research on this topic, women are not supposed to be masculine but still have feminine traits (Penn State University World Campus, 2017). These three explanations give me some insight to why women have obstacles in reaching top managerial positions. I strongly hope that women have access to the necessary resources and mentorship to assist them in gaining more positions at the top and assist other women who may be working their way up the corporate ladder.
Heilman, M. (1997). Sex discrimination and the affirmative action remedy: The role of sex
stereotypes. Journal of Business ethics, 16, 877-889.
Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Penn State University World Campus.(n.d.).Leadership and Diversity. Retrieved August 13, 2017 from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1848444/modules/items/22449260.
Ragins, B., Townsend, B., & Mattis, M. (1998). Gender gap in the executive suite: CEOs and
female executives report on breaking the glass ceiling. Academy of Management Executive,