The CEO Magazine
A monthly magazine for business leaders and decision makers

Artificial barriers that hinders progress


                                                  Artificial barriers that hinders progress

In this world of hierarchy women face many issues ranging from patriarchy to gender violence and others. Even as a part of skilled workforce often they are limited to service industry, and are denied of power jobs. Studies suggest that there are artificial barriers which stops women reach certain top management positions in the corporate organization’s hierarchy. This is commonly known as the ‘glass ceiling’.

According to Morrison and the colleagues the glass ceiling is not a barrier for an individual, based on the person’s inability to handle high level jobs. Rather, it applies to women as a group, who are kept from advancing higher because they are woman.

There is another major problem albeit lesser known is ‘glass cliff’. It was recognized by Academics Michael Ryan and Alex Haslam back in 2005.This is the phenomenon where women are able make to the boardroom but they find themselves disproportionately represented in untenable positions.

The reasons for such obstacles

It has been suggested by women executives and scholars studying this issue that the overall labor market is highly segregated by sex, women executives are concentrated into certain type of service and staff jobs only. In 1986 the Wall street journal survey found that in the highest ranking industries women are to be found in non-operating areas such as personnel, public relation etc.

Old boy’s gymkhana club

Another reason often cited is the bunch of men deciding who are to enter and who are to not. While deciding for senior management positions, the male corporate leaders tend to select people who exhibit same line of thought as them.so it doesn’t comes as a surprise as men at the top look at their former colleagues and old school/college ties.

Women are generally excluded from the social activities, many women executives claim that they don’t get invited to certain kind of meetings because they are not seen as policy makers.

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Pervasive gender discrimination

In a Wall Street survey when women managers were enquired about the obstacles faced by them, very few cited family responsibilities as the reason. Instead they mentioned male chauvinism, attitude of male workers towards a female boss. In a recent poll done by The Los Angeles times, atleast two third of the participants suggested sex discrimination and wage gap difference as a major reason for underrepresentation of women in senior management positions.

Perils of sexual harassment

Work place sexual harassment remains a major issue with women in managerial positions; Offenders often escape penalties because of unwillingness of senior management to address this issue with utmost competence.

Sexual harassment puts a woman in her place; many women hesitate to speak out, because of the fear that it might jeopardize their careers. The recent social media campaign which came in the light after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein scandal, the issues of women in workforce are on agenda again, taking down these powerful men on towering positions who misuse their positions has brought fresh energy in the fight against injustice faced by women.

Though, the Indian government has set up Vishakha guidelines in order to address the issue of workplace sexual harassment.

Erosion of commitment to Affirmative action policies

Affirmative action policies for women in Industry and corporate sector have yet not been at full capacity and the government’s unwillingness to implement it on bigger scale has brought down the equality, for the growing conservative majority the issue of women affirmative action as taken a toll.

Finally, men in corporate management tend not to perceive discrimination as a real problem, thereby making it virtually impossible to implement effective remedies. According to a study by John P. Fernandez, men consistently ranked problems encountered by women executives as insignificant compared to how women ranked them. So without constant pressure from the outside and strong legal remedies, the very real problems of sex discrimination in the executive suite may never be adequately addressed.

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