Women in Organizations: Challenges for Management

Women in Organizations: Challenges for Management

Basak Ucanok Tan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6301-3.ch011
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There has been a retreat from the “conventional” work organization to new forms of contemporary organizations. Parallel to this shift in organizational forms, the composition of the workforce also changed. Greater numbers of women entered the labour market and began occupying managerial positions. Despite the increase of women in the workforce, progress towards equality lagged behind. The intention of this chapter is to provide an overall picture of the representation of women in organizations and to acquaint the readers with some of the major issues that play role in women's career advancement. The chapter begins by introducing macro and micro level barriers that hinder representation of women in the contemporary workplace. Some of these major barriers, such as stereotypes attached to women, occupational segregation, the gender pay gap, and discrimination are then detailed and theoretical and practical implications are provided. The chapter also covers studies on the leadership of women in organizations and outlines the need to unravel the potential of women.
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Representation Of Women In The Contemporary Work Arena

Women are well documented to be especially underrepresented in managerial jobs in higher levels. This implies a strong gender gap in terms of formal power and authority, high status and high incomes (Alvesson and Du Billing, 2009). Many factors influence the representation of women in organizations. Various disciplines including economics, sociology, psychology, industrial relations have investigated explanations for women’s lower representation in management and have found evidence in support of labor demand- and labor supply-related factors (Orser and Leck 2010; Blau, Ferber, and Winkler 2014). Demand-side factors encompass labor market conditions and organizational influences, such as gender-based employment discrimination whereas supply-side explanations include differences in men’s and women’s human capital and job preferences (Graham, Belliveau and Hotchkiss, 2017). The supply-side approach takes rather an individual-oriented stance, focusing on the psychological and personal characteristics that distinguish men and women.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Gender Pay Gap: The average difference in earnings between women and men.

Vertical Occupational Segregation: Vertical segregation is the tendency for women and men to be concentrated in different jobs within occupations, with advantage running from low to high.

Glass Ceiling: An abstract barrier that keeps women from rising to the upper levels in the corporate ladder, irrespective of their qualifications or achievements.

Horizontal Occupational Segregation: Horizontal segregation is the tendency for women and men to be concentrated in different occupations.

Gender Discrimination: Any differential treatment in the form of exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex, which impairs or nullifies any activity or the recognition of women.

Diversity Management: The practice of addressing, appreciating, and supporting individual differences and multiple lifestyles within a defined group.

Work-Family Conflict: Work-family conflict is a form of inter-role conflict in which the role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible.

Maternal Wall: The patterns of bias and stereotyping that discriminates women in the workplace because of past, present, or future pregrancies or maternal leaves.

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