Are you a woman?

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…Jump these hurdles to attain top management!
The corporate world serves as a challenge to women who want to have family as well as career. Both in the developed and developing world, women are being pressured to up their game. It’s not an easy task to raise children, manage a home and yet play a major role in a corporate establishment. Some women put career on hold for a season and have their chidlren first, then try to jump back into the game. It’s never an easy task especially in environments that culturally see women as belonging in the kitchen or playing the second fiddle to men.
In order to get to top management in this century, most women must have jumped through various hoops. These include:
i Entering management at an early age (It often serves as a great advantage for women to have begun being responsible for human, technological and in many cases, financial resources at their positions in the organization at early stages of their career)
ii having appropriate management qualifications( an MBA or certifications in such disciplines as accounting, Project Management, Customer Service/Marketing or Advertising have all served as a booster for performance on the job front);
iii Gathering experience or rapidly gained experience to be involved in functions that seem to be core to their organization(Women appear to be more confident at management if they had spent some time performing major tasks for the organization at certain positions. The time being considered here ranges from 5 years to a decade);
iv Being continuously employed over an expanse of time(taking breaks in career pursuits due to child birth and other domestic issues have been a major interrupter for women who wish to pursue full fledged careers in the management of major organizations.
V.Working long hours and conforming to the organization’s age related concept of career( staying back at the office in odd hours to complete tasks and falling within the age ranges that Human Resource Professionals prefer that their future leaders should attain in order to rise through the ranks where possible);
vi Be georgraphically mobile( Unlike men, its often difficult to move women around major locations to fill positions where vacuums have been created often because of the demises of key staff members or their abrupt resignition.)
vii Conforming to promotional criteria which will invaribly be determined in a male oriented way.
Beyond all this Woodall and Winstanley, HR researchers also identify three barriers that women face that inhibit their managerial career progression:
The attitude and behavior of women managers which involves a lack of confidence to operate effectively in an environment that is overly masculine.
Structural factors such as HR policies and practices that discriminate against women managers which could involve memberships of male dominated recreation clubs, gender based variations in salaries and welfare packages as well as challenges of authority and recognition of superiority by male subordinates. This last bit has been a major factor in law enforcement and military based professions. Any organization that fails to utilize the potentials of its women managers is deemed to be commiting “economic suicide”. International organizations like to pool the talent of the women in preparation for eventualities and strategic openings that might occur as the organization progresses in meeting its obligations. Generally, women face two barriers to attaining positions in top management. These are barriers to entry and barriers to progression. Structural and cultural factors often serve as hindrances that lead to these barrers. Is the society where the woman works partriachial? Are women relegated or looked down upon? Are key positions in major organizations consciously reserved for men? In order to mitigate all of these challenges, HR experts often advocate what is known as “a woman’s experience profile” for the organization being analyzed: Are women being employed as managers? What is the proportion of this employment at different levels and what jobs do they do? Do women apply for managerial jobs in the organization in sufficient numbers? How does the career progression of men and women compare? Certain measures are advised to be taken if women are to develop as managers within the organization: Women development programmes have to be integrated into the mainstream activity, or a conscious effort must be made to ensure that women are involved in major development programmes in the organization. Mentorship programmes need to be encouraged as well as role models within or outside of the organization. Childcare provisions have to be reviewed. Some organizations are providing creches right by the offices of their women so as to ensure proper psychological relief for the mothers and care for the children. Equal opportunity policies are being reviewed in international organizations and conscious efforts are being introduced to audit behavior of the male executives towards the women. These measures would make accession of women to top management more palatable in major organizations.

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