Anyone who is in the workforce knows that women are disadvantaged simply because of their gender. They have a harder time rising to top C-suite positions in companies, as only 33 women held these positions in May 2019 (Zillman, 2019). This number is considerably more than the mere 6 at the beginning of the millenium. Women also face a pay gap, where they earn about $0.80 per every $1.00 earned by a man. There are a numerous amount of reasons this occurs, one that stands out however is the role stereotypes the society still holds. Per a study done by Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy in 1990 showed that students still thought of successful managers as having masculine traits (PSU WC, L13, 2019). Some analysis of studies shows that women tend to use participative styles in management versus a man who typically will use directive styles. The use of participative style is seen as an inability to make decisions, but there is no evidence backing this claim up (PSU WC, L13, 2019). There are also barriers these women face from the organization, themselves, and working relationships. A huge one is still linked to the gender stereotypes in that women tend to take the leave from work when a child is born. This takes them out of the work position and the business views them as less career committed, stunting their opportunity for growth and more responsibility.
An interesting article I found in Forbes highlighted these challenges even today. A woman named Rebecca Enonchong, the founder of AppsTech, talked about how hiding her title as a female founder helped her grow. She was able to work without any barriers behind the screen since no one knew she was a woman, she met little resistance. However when it came time to meet venture capitalists, she was met with the harsh reality. She found right away that being a female CEO limited her ability to raise funds that she needed to be able to scale her business. In the article it highlights how women in roles such as Rebecca’s may be more suited for the job. A study done by the Harvard Business Review found that women do in fact have a more “caring” nature. This makes them better at building relationships, inspiring, and practicing self-development. These are all qualities that could be admired by a leader, it is effectively what the definition of leadership is. According to Northouse (2016), it is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. The study even found that men do not always fit the stereotype of taking charge, as women outscored men in both taking initiative and driving for results.
What can we take from this information? Why are so many men still in leadership positions if women are in fact better suited for it? One reason is as I stated the glass ceiling effect. According to the pipeline theory explained by Northouse (2016), women have not been in managerial positions long enough to progress to the top. This theory does not have data to support it however. Another misunderstanding in the glass ceiling effect is that women are less suited for the executive demands PSU WC, L3, 2019). This is also untrue as you can see from the data given above, women are actually better at taking iniative and driving change. I think that this information should tell us that we need to be more open to women in leadership roles. Throughout all the lessons and chapters, not once does it explicitly mention leadership is a mans role. This is a preconceived notion that society has placed upon us. Women should take from this a positive though, the number of women in high ranking executive positions is increasing.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2019). PSYCH 485 Lesson 13: Introduction to Psychodynamic Approach. Retrieved https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008237/modules/items/27074770
Zillman, C. (2019, May 16). The Fortune 500 Has More Female CEOs Than Ever Before. Retrieved from https://fortune.com/2019/05/16/fortune-500-female-ceos/.
Angelovska, N. (2019, April 30). Female Leadership–‘Be Competent Like A Woman And Confident And Ambitious Like A Man’. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ninaangelovska/2019/04/23/female-leadership-be-competent-like-a-woman-and-confident-and-ambitions-like-a-man/#4fce43e201c9.