The Perceived Challenges of Women in Leadership Positions That Prevents Them from Climbing the Corporate Ladder
For years, women have encountered gender bias in the corporate environment. Men have dominated the workplace making it difficult for women to advance in power and leadership. Gender bias has become problematic for the career oriented women creating barriers such as stereotyping, job advancement, power imbalance, and unequal wages. Hymowitz and Schellhardt (1986) described the challenges as invisible barriers, the glass ceiling that prevents women from advancing to a certain level in various institutions. Arfken, Bellar, and Helms (2004) defined it as an invisible barrier that prevents minorities and women from gaining access to leadership positions. For example, in the Fortune 500 companies, more than 83 percent do not have women among their five highest earning officers, and 18 percent do not have women in these positions (Catalyst, 2000). The statistics verifies the fact that the glass ceiling does exist in the workplace. It is unfortunate that women have to face such challenges. In spite of the barriers, there is hope for women (minority) globally to succeed in climbing the corporate ladder. It is only through developing strategies such as: a) performance, dealing with the discrimination, b) understanding and indentifying the sexist culture and working around it and c) educating women to break through the glass ceiling (De Morsella, 2006). To finally have the opportunity to break through the glass ceil and rise to the top of the corporate ladder is a triumphant occurrence for women.
The Lenses of Gender
Women are not given the same opportunities to climb the corporate ladder as men but instead treated as second class citizens. The old boy network society believed that women lacked leadership ability; therefore they should not advance in their jobs. The term old boy network society refers to a selective informal network connecting members of a social class or profession or organization with the intention of offering relationships, information, and favors for example business and politics (Dictionary.com (n. d.). Deaux (1994) put on the gender lenses that highlighted gender bias within the organization. She focuses on three gender lenses 1) androcentrism, 2) gender polarization, and 3) biological essentialism. With the terms androcentrism referring to “the acceptance of men and the male experience as the standard by which all other events are gauged”; gender polarization referring to the “belief that men and women stand in opposition to each other”; and biological essentialism basing the logic that “if men and women have fundamental, biological differences, then some will argue that the treatment are not only justified and inevitable” (p. 1). Debates dated back in the 19th century argued the appropriateness of women’s education in the 20th century. Bem (1993) also argued the differences between men and women...