Gender issues have always been a matter of concern since ancient times. As a matter of fact, war between the two sexes has been on since human evolution. With the growth of mankind the picture of society took a makeover and influx of women invaded the male world. Equality had been an issue even then and is till now a matter of debate. Human workplace also falls under this paradigm and is one of the most frequently talked about topic with respect to equality between males and females. Discrimination between the two sexes includes both men and women as victims of discrimination.
But research shows greater evidence for women to have been seen as suffers largely in different fields. During the past 2 decades there has been an increase in the no. of women working in orgs. (Davidson and Cooper; 1992, 1993). It has been seen that women enter orgs with the same expectations and credentials as males but after that point their path seem to diverge (Morrison, 1987). Though equally qualified they don’t achieve high managerial posts as their male counterparts (Morrison and von Glinow, 1990).
Moreover, a relative failure in women to move to the ranks of senior managers in both public and private sectors in developed countries has been documented (Adler and Izraeli, 1988). Gender inequality and discrimination is a matter of great concern. to understand and this entire subject let us first view discrimination in the context of gender differences… Discrimination involves action toward individuals on the basis of their group membership; Baron and Byrne (1994) defined discrimination as prejudice in action.
Discrimination can take a very overt form (e. g. refusal to hire women into certain jobs), but in many instances, gender discrimination involves the degree to which the workplace is open to versus resistant to the participation of women. Although many discussions of gender discrimination have focused on the ways managers and supervisors treat men and women, gender discrimination could involve managers, co-workers, subordinates, clients, or customers. In general, gender discrimination include behaviours occurring in the workplace that limit the target person’s ability to enter, remain in, succeed in, or progress in a job and that are primarily the result of the target person’s gender.
Perspectives on gender discrimination in organizations:- In order to study gender discrimination many psychologists worked on the basic perspectives of discrimination and gender identity. A group of psychologists gave s set approach which involves two different way of viewing a situation. The two approaches are person-centred and situation-centred approach. In person centred approach attributes like physical appearance, masculinity or femininity are basic reasons for outcomes when person-centred employees are employed. Whereas, in situation centred approach explanations deal with characteristics of the situation.
For example, in certain cultures there could be stereotypes relating to gender resulting in a particular form of behaviour being projected toward genders, usage of language and communication style affecting people to behave differently with males and females. Other group of psychologists gave a different set of theories to explain differences between males and females. These are the biological, the socialization models, and structural approaches. Let us see what these approaches have to say… Biological perspective: biological perspective assumes that there are implicit differences between men and women.
These differences are said to underlie hormonal and physical factors. These differences are thought to be immutable. “Such differences are large , socially significant and consistently favour men( Hess and Ferree, 1987, p. 14) There is literature on the fact that men try to dominate women using the biological perspective. For example, in a book named “women and men in organizations” (Cleveland, Murphy, and Stockdale, 2000) it was described men argued on women having lower intelligence than their male counterparts on the basis of small brain size. (Hyde, 1990).
The argument was stretched from the brain size to parts of brain but no empirical data was ever found to be in the favour of men. Socialization models: this theory focuses on the observed differences between men and women. It assumes that men and women behave differently as a result of learning. It’s considered that differences are not immutable and are subject to change. The differences emerge as a part of social and cognitive development process. Research focus on describing the ways children and adult learn gender identity and social rules that contribute to observed differences.
Gender differences acquires through how we pass through the developmental stages. Sex differences are explained on the basis of learning principles by this theory (Delboca n Ashmore, 1980). According to Bussey and bandura (1984), knowledge of gender stereotypes increases during preschool and college and same sex modelling also increases during this period with boys watching other boys and men and girls watching other girls and women and learning more socially acceptable behaviour through imitation.
The theory suggests that gender role expectation is learnt only when child reaches a particular stage in intellectual development. Gradually the child learns to categorize into a gender and later starts playing an active role in it rather than being a passive recipient (lips, 1988). Out of the many arguments to explain the phenomenon of discrimination at the workplace, one explanation is that women are primarily responsible for running their homes and managing children (Wilson, 1999) and their domestic duties affect their ability to perform their job at their workplace (Hochschild, 1997).
In a country like India, this is further compounded by the fact that society looks down upon women who work outside their home (Budhwar et al. , 2005). Structural/cultural perspective: This perspective assumes that a few inherent differences between men and women. They basically point out that the differences are a result of social structure and systems that reinforce such differences. This in turn reinforces the current power hierarchy. The differences exist to keep the powerful in control of and the powerless without power.
In a research conducted by the Ohio State University on gender inequality has posited the importance of gender discrimination for women’s experiences at work. Previous studies have suggested that gender stereotyping and organizational factors may contribute to discrimination. Yet it is not well understood how these elements connect to foster gender discrimination in everyday workplaces. This work contributes to our understanding of these relationships by analysing 219 discrimination narratives constructed from sex discrimination cases brought before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
By looking across a variety of actual work settings, the analysis sheds light on the cultural underpinnings and structural contexts in which discriminatory actions occur. The analyses reveal how gender stereotyping combines in predictable ways with sex composition of workplaces and organizational policies, often through interactional dynamics of discretionary policy usage, to result in discrimination. The findings suggest the importance of cultural, structural, and interactional influences on gender discrimination A recent study suggests the role of stereotyping.
Over the last 30 years, gender issues in the workplace have received much attention. A review of this literature, however, reveals limited investigation of the impact of gender stereotypes on personnel decisions and the demographic differences present in upper management. In fact, this issue has rarely received serious attention. A misinterpretation of the small effect size typically reported when describing the relationship between stereotypes and evaluations of performance is a likely reason, and a hypothetical demonstration elucidates the more severe impact of stereotypes on women’s advancement.
Considered cumulatively, stereotypes are a certain and meaningful contributor to the limited presence of women in high-level positions. Renewed consideration of the role of stereotypes in organizational decision making is required. (Mark D. Agars, 2004) In recent years research showed a very evident form of discrimination against women in most organizations. It was seen that very few, almost negligible number of women were promoted to very high levels amongst the various posts in the organizations.
Such posts are still dominated by men despite the huge mass of women population aspiring at the same time for the same posts and are equally or rather more deserving than the male counterparts. This concept of fixation in the progress of women only up to certain position in the hierarchy of high managerial posts gas been termed as the “glass ceiling effect”. This glass ceiling is that hypothetical barrier which is invisible and therefore unnoticeable. Women cannot go beyond this barrier within the hierarchy in an organization.
Many women journalists are deprived of top positions in organizations due to gender discrimination, said Nandini Sahai, director, Media Information and Communication Center of India (MICCI), on Saturday. Inaugurating a seminar on ‘gender discrimination in media: myth or reality? ‘ organized by MICCI and Mahajana College, at its premises, she claimed many women journalists are quitting because of various reasons, including gender inequality and less pay. A case study reveals women who go on maternity leave are likely to loss their jobs in 29% of media houses and are unlikely to get jobs again,” Nandini claimed. Explaining how gender discrimination is deeply embedded in the Indian society, she said female infant mortality rate is quite high in India and China. (TNN, feb 6 2012) The previous study indicates the ignorance of gender stereotyping in research. The given study supports this view. It says that gender concerns have been almost totally ignored in organizational analysis. This study attempts to redress that ignorance.
The study conducted four related tasks which illustrated examples of gender-blind approaches to the study of organizations; by way of a selective review of the organizations and culture debate, to argue for the utility of an organizational culture focus for an understanding of gender; to root an organizational culture focus, along with gender concerns, within a feminist materialist method of analysis; to explore, by way of a strategic application of Clegg’s (1981) ‘rule’ focus, the potential of a feminist materialist analysis for understanding the relationship between gender and organizational culture.
Results show a direct relationship between the two. (Albert J. Mills, 1998) APA PsycINFO Database Record (2010) conducted a research comparing the leadership styles of women and men are reviewed and evidence is found for both the presence and absence of differences between the sexes. In contrast to the gender-stereotypic expectation that women lead in an interpersonally oriented style and men in a task-oriented style, female and male leaders did not differ in these two styles in organizational studies.
However, these aspects of leadership style were somewhat gender stereotypic in the two other classes of leadership studies investigated, namely (a) laboratory experiments and (b) assessment studies, which were defined as research that assessed the leadership styles of people not selected for occupancy of leadership roles. Consistent with stereotypic expectations about a different aspect of leadership style, the tendency to lead democratically or autocratically, women tended to adopt a more democratic or participative style and a less autocratic or directive style than did men.
This sex difference appeared in all three classes of leadership studies, including those conducted in organizations. These and other findings are interpreted in terms of a social role theory of sex differences in social behaviour in this article, research is reviewed on the emergence of male and female leaders in initially leaderless groups. In these laboratory and field studies, men emerged as leaders to a greater extent than did women. Male leadership was particularly likely in short-term groups and in groups carrying out tasks that did not require complex social interaction.
In contrast, women emerged as social leaders slightly more than did men. These and other findings were interpreted in terms of gender role theory, which maintains that societal gender roles influence group behaviour. According to this theory, sex differences in emergent leadership are due primarily to role-induced tendencies for men to specialize more than women in behaviours strictly oriented to their group’s task and for women to specialize more than men in socially facilitative behaviours. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA) The above findings support an earlier mentioned issue i. e. he capabilities of women are underestimated by the male dominated society. In the study above mentioned it has been found that participative leadership style, seen to be displayed by females, is more fruitful in terms of job satisfaction of self and the employees and also organizational output in comparison to autocrative leadership style, displayed usually by men. Therefore, theoretically women could be better leaders than men. But as the above studies suggest women are found to be kept deprived of promotions to high managerial posts which are usually reserved for the males despite their equal abilities and qualifications.
This review article posits that the “glass ceiling effect” is a consequence of gender bias in evaluations. It is proposed that gender stereotypes and the expectations they produce about both what women are like (descriptive) and how they should behave (prescriptive) can result in devaluation of their performance, denial of credit to them for their successes, or their penalization for being competent. The processes giving rise to these outcomes are explored, and the procedures that are likely to encourage them are identified.
Because of gender bias and the way in which it influences evaluations in work settings, it is argued that being competent does not ensure that a woman will advance to the same organizational level as an equivalently performing man. (Madeline E. Heilman,2002) In the early 1970s Schein identified managerial sex typing as a major psychological barrier to the advancement of women in the United States. The globalization of management brings to the forefront the need to examine the relationship between sex role stereotypes and requisite management characteristics in the international arena. Virginia E. Schein,2002) In an experiment, job description and applicants’ attributes were examined as moderators of the backlash effect, the negative evaluation of agentic women for violating prescriptions of feminine niceness (Rudman, 1998). Rutgers University students made hiring decisions for a masculine or “feminized” managerial job. Applicants were presented as either agentic or androgynous. Replicating Rudman and Glick (1999), a feminized job description promoted hiring discrimination against an agentic female because she was perceived as insufficiently nice.
Unique to the present research, this perception was related to participants’ possession of an implicit (but not explicit) agency-communality stereotype. By contrast, androgynous female applicants were not discriminated against. The findings suggest that the prescription for female niceness is an implicit belief that penalizes women unless they temper their agency with niceness (Laurie A. Rudman1, Peter Glick,2002). the present study shows that stereotyping in a way supresses women’s ability to perform.
Agentic women could be as efficient as androgynous women but still they may face biased behaviour from people which may lead to job dissatisfaction. Patriarchal society has been found have direct effects on behaviour towards women. This has been a topic of feminist movements in all times (Marshall, 1989). Breaking the glass ceiling (1987) influenced a lot of researchers interested in gender issues in orgs. Women make 455 of US workforce (Johnson n packer, 1987, U. S. department of commerce). Changes in workforce pose both opportunities and challenges for the organization.
Research on similarities and differences in work material is directly related tp workplace experiences of men and women. (Women in management: Current research issues M Davidson, RJ Burke – 1994) According to Science Daily (Oct. 8, 2009) — The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report states: “No country in the world has yet managed to eliminate the gender gap. ” In the U. S. , the Bureau of Labour Statistics cites women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84. 6% of what men working similar hours earn; women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78. 3% of what men in the same time category earn.
The disparity between men and women in the workplace is the subject of a recent study by Elisabeth Kelan, Ph. D. , from King’s College London. Dr. Kelan found that workers acknowledge gender discrimination is possible in modern organizations, but at the same time maintain their workplaces to be gender neutral. The author notes, “gender fatigue” as the cause for workers not acknowledging that bias against women can occur. The findings are available in the September issue of the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, published on behalf of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The study conducted in 2003-2004, included 26 men and women from two information communication technology (ICT) companies based in Switzerland. The companies were given assumed names for this study—”Redtech,” a local 50-person Swiss company and “Bluetech,” a subsidiary of a multinational enterprise, employing 3000 staff in Switzerland. At Redtech 11 men and 4 women participated in interviews and at Bluetech 6 women and 5 men were interviewed; 16 individuals were also followed on the job for several hours.
The interviewees, ranging in age from 24-54, were asked about their views on gender discrimination as well as other issues. Employees from both companies claimed their organizations were gender neutral and that employees were evaluated based on merit. With further questioning, men and women interviewed could describe past situations where gender bias occurred against women, but limited it to happening 10 to 20 years ago, from contacts outside their own organizations (i. e. customer contacts), or to an isolated male colleague from an “older” generation. Instead of denying gender discrimination, workers acknowledge it can happen but construct it as singular events that happened in the past, placing the onus on women to overcome such obstacles,” stated Dr. Kelan. Participants in the study displayed, what the author calls, “gender fatigue” where individuals tire of acting upon gender discrimination in spite of the fact that incidents of gender bias either occurred at one time within their organization or could occur again. “The problem with gender fatigue is that it prohibits productive discussion regarding inequalities between men and women, making gender bias difficult to address,” noted Dr.
Kelan. “Future studies should explore what happens to gender fatigue over time and whether practical strategies can be developed to shape the way in which people in organizations speak about gender. ” The above described concept of gender fatigue could be a reason for ignoring gender discrimination in organizational analysis by researchers. In a well known research done by shelly correll the goal of research was to identify and explain how various social psychological processes reproduce structures of gender inequality.
In particular, she studied how gendered expectations differentially shape the everyday experiences of men and women (or boys and girls) in achievement-oriented settings, such as school and work, and how these seemingly “small” inequalities are magnified through institutional environments in ways that contribute to reproducing or lessening more macro forms of gender inequality, such as the gender segregation of paid work or the wage penalty that mothers incur in the labour market.
While focusing on different types of micro level experiences that produce a range of macro-level gender inequalities, all of my work addresses the fundamental question of how gender inequality persists even while other structural features of society change—a perspective that highlights the social psychological underpinnings of gender stratification. Her earlier work focused on the “supply side” of gender inequality, examining how gender beliefs impact emerging career aspirations and decisions of men and women.
One paper in this area explored how gender stereotypes about mathematics differentially impact the extent to which men and women see themselves as mathematically competent, which impacts their persistence on paths leading to careers in science, math and engineering. Her more recent work has expanded to include “demand side” discrimination processes, where she studied how gender beliefs lead to subtle forms of discrimination against women by influencing how competent they are judged to be by evaluators such as supervisors, teachers, and those who make hiring decisions.
Nearly half of the agricultural work is handled by women in developing countries and India is no exception. Yet, strategies for the development of agriculture are directed primarily at men. Barely five per cent of the extension efforts and resources are targeted at farm women. This failing, predictably, costs a good amount owing to loss of a part of potential farm production. In another study when asked to think about a hostile environment for women in the workplace, many of us would first envision overt instances of sexual harassment or blatant employment discrimination.
These associations are certainly not astonishing: even in an age in which these behaviors are denounced and in large part illegal, such organizational misconduct seems almost commonplace. There have been many high-profile allegations of discrimination levelled against organizations within the last several years (Morris, Bonamici ; Neering, 2005). For example, Morgan Stanley’s investment banking business recently paid out $54 million to over 300 female employees who claim to have been denied pay and promotions equal to those received by their male colleagues. Additionally, 1. million women who are currently, or were formerly, employed at Wal-Mart are eligible to participate in what is poised to become the largest-ever civil rights lawsuit: like the women of Morgan Stanley, they claim to have been victims of sex discrimination (Greenhouse, 2004).
In fact, according to statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there has been no systematic decline over the last 12 years in the number of discrimination lawsuits filed, or the amount of monetary damages awarded to the plaintiffs of these suits (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2004); ( Heilman, Madeline E. Welle, Brian,2005) If women are provided with the same access to resources – assets, inputs and services – as men, agricultural production could swell by 2. 5 per cent to 4. 0 per cent in the entire developing world, estimates a 2011 study by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO. This, in turn, could lead to a drop of 12 to 17 per cent in the number of hungry people. Besides, it could enhance household income, leading to better living standards and livelihood security. India’s position in empowerment of women is unique in some ways.
It has reserved one-third of the seats in village panchayats (rural civic bodies) for women. And a similar provision is being considered for some state legislatures and Parliament. Yet, this seemingly formidable political empowerment has not led to adequate improvement in the socio-economic stature of rural women in general. Neither economic reforms nor other policy reforms have taken gender issues into reckoning. Males still hold the sway in rural socio-economic set-up. Health and nourishment are among the biggest concerns.
Though women cook for the family, they themselves remain largely underfed. The incidence of malnutrition among women in India is nearly as high as in food-deficit Sub-Saharan countries. With increasing number of women finding their way into the corporate arena, the Issue of gender equality has become important. This is more so because work discrimination and sexual harassment are found to exist even though there are a greater percentage of women in the workforce (Fitzgerald et al. , 1997; Gruber ; Bjorn, 1982).
Hakim (1996) in her study highlights the perpetuation of sexual stereotypes in terms of primary and secondary responsibilities of men and women, where she provides evidence of men having the primary role of income earners while women have the role of managing their homes. This role difference ultimately defines work related responsibilities of women. Despite all the arguments favouring the need for women to be offered equal opportunity at work, the proportion of women in the top management positions in organizations is abysmally low at less than ten percent (Antal and Izraeli, 1993) at the global level.
In India these figures vary between 3 percent and 5. 8 percent (Chadha, 2002; Kulkarni, 2002; Singh, 2003). Gender discrimination is a much broader concept than it possibly seems. It includes culture, demography, different forms and types, status and deciding the amount of discrimination and many other things that we are still not aware of and is still being researched upon. As a matter of fact, our evolution and history also play a major role in what we become, as explained by the socialization theory emphasizing the importance of learning.
This has a great relevance in relation to workplace discrimination. We have adapted ourselves this way and it’s a hard task to unlearn something being practiced over the period of hundreds years. The difference between the two genders is so deeply imbibed in us that this huge amount of research and awareness that its happening is inefficient in bringing about a substantial change in the society.
Where western countries, known as developed with modern ideologies, on the ai=re not able to provide women the position and status that most women in corporate are fighting for than developing countries like India lose a lot of chance in taking the lead. However, the government in India and abroad are trying to formulate new policies in order fill the huge gap. Since it is a big, varied and complex subject it will take time to get even but at the same time it needs support from the people as well to bring about a significant change which will in turn bring about change in the future of the country and thus the people.
* Women and men in organization
Sex and gender issues at work
Jeanette N. Cleveland
Kevin R. Murphy