The main purpose of the following report is to analyse the role of women in the business field, specifically in leadership.
Can you name at least five women who are CEOs of a renowned multinational? It is almost impossible to count on the fingers of one hand, whereas we have plenty of examples to name of men who are successfully leading the world's leading, most powerful, and most traded companies.
According to information provided by Fortune (a business magazine published by Time Inc. and founded by Henry Luce in 1930), the number of female CEOs has been increasing since 2000 with intervals of decreases in different years such as 2008, 2016, or 2018. Although an upward trend can be observed, the difference between the amount of male and female CEOs is enormous and not equal.
But why are there so few women at the head of a business? Researchers have identified the following causes:
- The difficulty in reconciling professional and personal life. Today, family care is still mainly the responsibility of women. Women take on the role of taking care of children, housework, or both. In addition, motherhood often coincides with the critical years for career development and promotion in the workplace.
Distinguishing between "male" and "female" sectors. The industrial, construction, business, and engineering sectors are culturally rooted in men, while the education, health, and cleaning sectors are for women. The patriarchal vision and the lack of female references in these sectors mean that a few women want to opt for these jobs.
- Sexist view of the definition of the word leader. Women who adopt attitudes and behaviors that relate to the role of male leaders are criticized in the workplace and perceived negatively. An example would be with transparency, if a woman leader stresses an attitude that she considers inappropriate, she would be judged as a cold woman. According to Bryce Covert, a freelance business journalist: "About 88 percent of women's reviews had a criticism, versus about 60 percent of men's".
- The expectations of women in the workplace are higher than those of their male colleagues. Women workers have to cope with sexist stereotypes, work harder to reach management positions, face the sexual harassment that many women have experienced in the workplace just because of their gender, and pay is not always equal, all under the permanent patriarchal view.
Women play an equally valid strategic role as their male counterparts. According to Monique Leorux, president of the Desjardins financial cooperative and chair of the Board of Directors of Credit Industrial and Commercial Credit (CCIC) in Canada: "Increasing female representation on boards helps to improve relations with staff when more seats are created for women on boards and in senior management positions, companies are better able to meet the needs of consumers, where women have a very important place”.
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