For long the corporate ladder has been an issue of survival of the corporate fittest, highly dominated by the white male. So much so, that the white male is often thought of as the underlying decision maker, the one who makes the final corporate changes along with the one who delegates and sets the management positions for those who seek employment. In perspective the white male holds all the cards with an almost inherent power ultimately attributed to his legendary birthright. But with an ever-increasing need for globalization comes diversity, such that those who were once considered the “inadequate”, “unacceptable” and “incapable” are now being utilized slowly through a corporate minority approach. With this corporate revolution the issue that takes the stand over all has been termed feminism. Gender related issues of masculine oriented organizations are continually approached as concepts related to free enterprise, equality, sexisms and inherent power dominancy. Power is a central concept in various work related aspects such as business, international relations and many more; however, power is surprisingly difficult to measure. Power is often defined as the ability to get another actor to do what it would not otherwise have done (or not to do what it would have done). A variation on this idea is that actors are powerful to the extent that they affect others more than others affect them. These definitions treat power as influence. If actors get their way often, they must be powerful. One problem with this definition is that one seldom knows what a second actor would have done in the absence of the first actor’s power. There is a danger of circular logic: power explains influence, and influence measures power. This makes it hard to use power to explain why organizational corporate entrustment issues crop up (delegation, hierarchy etc…). A related problem is that common usage treats power as a thing rather than a process. To resolve these problems one must remember that power is not influence itself, but the ability or potential to influence others. Scholars believe that such potential is based on specific (tangible and intangible) characteristics or possessions such as, physical size, level of income, strength, intelligence, reputation and gender. The flaw in this basing of characteristics and possessions is that power is now entirely thought of as a capability. And thus, how does one now explain the basing of gender as a potential characteristic of power if gender is not a capability, cannot be attributed to a capability and does not stem from one? The answer is not clear and thus issues of feminism and corporate masculinity are on the rise. Partly to blame for these misconceptions of gender is the mistaken assumptions about women’s roles and involvement in production and reproduction. All over the world, women who want to work are often given larger workloads without increasing their incentives or salaries and that most of the time men controlled their paid jobs. Thus, unfortunately, giving women an excuse to stop working altogether.
The corporate world today has revolutionized a substructure consisting of front-line workers, executives, managers and leaders. Unfortunately most of the higher positions of employment are male dominated to the point where a female would be looked upon as an immigrant to that corporation. (Ronald Burke) Even with all there is about equal rights in the corporate structure along with multicultural issues, women are still seen as the weaker actor. It is very difficult to explain such a fact since most corporations try to refrain from violating any equalitarian issues. Thus, what is for certain, is that the male dominancy over women has become more than a notion but an intrinsic feature that has evolutionized as a male trait since the beginning of time, where once survival of the fittest was based mainly on physical features as appose to mental capabilities. These capabilities are the characteristics that develop the potential for power, which women have but are hindered from showing it. Just as evolution has perfected the human form to what it is today through the need for certain features and the elimination of useless others, evolution will have to eliminate the trait that brings about this male dominancy through its uselessness in the modern world. Even though it is apparent to women of their capabilities, it is obviously not that apparent to men. (Ronald Burke) And thus, unfortunately, in order for this trait of male dominancy to become useless, women will still have to become stronger and prove their worthiness as powerful entities so that they can replace men in the corporate world.
Thus today, generalizations can be dangerous; no one sex has a monopoly on character traits, and some studies show little difference between how men and women manage. Yet in many others, women consistently rank higher on qualities that are of increasing importance in today’s transient workplace. It is a telling comparison, and it comes at a time when more and more evidence suggests that women make better managers than men. For years, companies wanted leaders who took control – people who rumbled through boardrooms like tanks, achieving their goal no matter what the odds or obstacles. Business was a war game, and men were seen as the best field commanders. However, today, decades after great waves of layoffs, turned many workers into free agents with little corporate loyalty, businesses want team builders and communicators; people who create a relationship with employees and instill in them a commitment to the organization. Studies have repeatedly shown that this means women.
While this has yet to tilt the gender balance in Fortune 500 boardrooms, it has taken hold in mid-level management, and colleagues are increasingly showing their appreciation for a more-female approach. More than 2,400 managers in 19 states rated women more highly than men in 17 of 20 leadership skills, according to a five-year study released in 1999 by Lawrence A. Pfaff and Associates in Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Mark Sappenfield) The skills included not only traits such as coaching, teamwork, and empowering employees, traditionally seen as women’s strengths, but also decisiveness and planning. Women came out on top in 42 of 52 skills in a survey of 425 executives by Hagberg Consulting Group in Foster City, California. A study of 58,000 managers by Personnel Decisions in Minneapolis gave women the advantage in 20 of 23 measures. (Mark Sappenfield) A survey of more than 6,400 questionnaires by Janet Irwin and Michael Perrault showed that women finished ahead in 28 of 31 management categories. Women are becoming stronger in the corporate world with an ever-increasing recognition of their capabilities, that bare no relevance to their gender but still lacks the power seen in their equal capable counterparts, men. Thus, it is a transition of equal gender power that must be recognized by both sexes and the corporations that employ them. Unfortunately, this transition can only correct itself with “time”, a factor that will cost corporations millions as they realize time after time that they have made the wrong decisions for their middle and higher management positions, those that are more inherently occupied by sometimes less capable men.
During this time lapse women will have to continually prove their stronger corporate capabilities through their worthiness as opponents in the male dominated race. Women have proven they can handle the job. With more women earning PhDs in recent decades, more women are at the rung one step below the presidency. (Mark Sappenfield) Valuable statistics and information on the history and current status of women and work in the U.S. can be obtained from the Women’s Bureau One of these studies, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling in the 1990’s” by Terry Scandura of the University of Miami, investigated the career experiences of top level female executives while identifying their qualifications that allowed them to overcome those obstacles of women’s career advancement to top-level positions. Important findings included that women were able to keep up with the path to the top through the line of authority. Further, women’s positive perceptions of career mobility potential, increases with their will to compete and follow in the line of upper management. Having a mentor appeared to be an important characteristic of the careers’ of women to make it to the top of their organizations, a common actuality of all those seeking upper management positions. Also, having a mentor was positively and significantly associated with higher salary levels and better self-concepts, just like those seen in their counterparts, men. In most corporations, although there is always a significant lack of family-supportive policies or if they did, they were rarely implemented, women managed to maintain both their career and family personas separately. Finally, women with dependent children under age 18 living at home showed a prevalent decreasing tendency to show lowered career promotion expectations, increased job stress, more intent to leave the organization, and less mentoring than women without dependents. (U.S. Dept. of Labor, Scandura, 1992) Thus, with all these commonalities seen in current upper management qualifications, skills and talents, women are still under appreciated when compared to men of equal or lesser “corporate value”. Again, women can be seen to be just as or more educated, experienced, talented, skilled and ferocious than men, but they continually have to grow stronger and display their worthiness with a more empowering approach, simply because they lack the power to erase those common perceptions of inequality inherent in most men, in other words, those managers who make the final call on deciding their successors.
“Women tend to be much more comfortable with ambiguity, sharing information, and sharing responsibility – when you have to be flexible, and this flexibility is going to make women much more effective.”(Judy Rosener, University of California, Irvine’s Graduate School of Management)
The term sex refers to biological characteristics of females and males. The term genderrefers to the socio-cultural constructed differences between women and men. As such, gender is also an organising principle in society. Gender specifically focuses on differences and inequality between women and men due to power imbalances. Sexist ideology constrains the activities of women and men. Roles are allocated consistent with societal beliefs about the nature of women and men and their inherent capabilities (and in-capabilities) and worthiness (and unworthiness). Women and men, however, do not comprise homogeneous categories. They are differentially located according to class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, physical and other disabilities, age and geographical location. Why the focus on ‘women’ while using the term ‘gender’? The underlying rationale is that women and men not only play different roles in society, with distinct levels of control and resources, but also have different needs. As women’s needs are often devalued or obscured, it is necessary to bring women’s needs to the fore. Gender equity is concerned with the promotion of equal opportunity and fair treatment for women and men in the personal, social, cultural, political and economic arenas. Gender equity entails meeting the needs of women and men to enable them to compete equitably in the labour market; participate fully in civil society and fulfil their familial roles adequately without being discriminated against because of their gender. Gender equity involves more than the provision of equal access to facilities; neither is it sufficient to have women participate in equal numbers to men. However, time is the mending factor and women will still have to portray themselves as strong, if not stronger, counterparts continuously through their worthiness as opponents. Unfortunately, this race has lost its honour since it has now become a battle, where men are unfamiliar and perhaps scared of recognizing women as equal counterparts with a similar power balance. Women are not passive recipients and victims of patriarchal structures, but are strategic social actors who also reproduce and transform everyday life.