Women empowerment cracking glass ceiling at workplace


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Women empowerment cracking glass ceiling at workplace

  1. 1. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, March- April (2013)267WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: CRACKING GLASS CEILING ATWORKPLACEDr.Bhawana Bhardwaj,Assistant Professor, School of Business and Management ScienceCentral University of Himachal Pradesh, DhramshalaABSTRACTWhenever we talk about women empowerment there are certain names thatimmediately strike our minds. Ms.Indira Nooyi, Ms.Chanda Kochar, Ms.Pratibha Patil,Ms.Saina Nehwal, Ms.Anjum Chopra, Ms.Kiran Bedi are few names which can be countedon finger tips. Do they really present the Status of Indian Women or the Scenarios aredifferent? Today we talk about empowerment, involvement and employment of women inalmost every sector. Even though the services of women have widened leading to anacceleration of women’s career development in length and breadth both but it is pathetic thatwomen still face hindrances in reaching top positions. The phrase “glass ceiling” wasintroduced to illustrate a world where businesswomen in their attempt to reach top positionswere blocked by corporate tradition and prejudice. This paper highlights the glass ceilingeffect and its impact on women empowerment.INTRODUCTIONIt was the brilliant Vedic era when Indian women were respected as goddessLakshmi, Durga and Saraswati .The saying Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramante Tatra Devtawhich means where woman are worshiped, God resides .This statement clearly mention therespect and status of the women in the society. The services have gone to great lengths todecrease barriers to women’s development. There is increasing concern of women’smovement into top leadership positions. Presently, the career oriented women who reallywant to grow and assume highest position of the corporate world, reported that they have toencounter obstacles that restrict their potential to achieve fulfilling careers. Are theseunidirectional or stretched in all directions, from a 70-hour workweek to marriage tochildcare and more? The presence of these barriers in current scenario also indicates that theefforts aimed towards women empowerment are not sufficient. Our concern is that until theINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT (IJM)ISSN 0976-6502 (Print)ISSN 0976-6510 (Online)Volume 4, Issue 2, March- April (2013), pp. 267-272© IAEME: www.iaeme.com/ijm.aspJournal Impact Factor (2013): 6.9071 (Calculated by GISI)www.jifactor.comIJM© I A E M E
  2. 2. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, March- April (2013)268rewards of female labor surpass long-standing male dominance, the ladder of success willremain a struggle for women inhibited by contained limitations.GLASS CEILING: AN OVERVIEWA special report printed in the Wall Street Journal in 1986 coined a phrase that has yetto be understood and realized among the world of corporate women. The phrase “glassceiling” was introduced to exemplify a world where businesswomen in their attempt to reachtop positions were obstructed by corporate tradition and prejudice (Jackson, 2001).GlassCeiling can come in the form of common institutional restrictions or societal and culturalperceptions due to which career oriented professional women encounter barriers that limittheir career progression. Sonnert and Holton (1996) stated that there are two most importantfactors that creates glass ceiling. These factors are- structural obstacles and behavioraldifferences. Structural obstacles include barriers defined by organizational practices andpolicies. Behavioral differences are reflected in corporate culture and societal traditions.They further proposed Deficit and Difference Models to explain the barrier forms.The Deficit Model refers to the structural barriers that prevent women from advancingbeyond a certain level. The Difference Model emphasizes the behavioral and cultural beliefsthat reduce the female desires to achieve success. While women are increasing their numbersin the labor force, it does not indicate that they successfully reach higher positions also. Theirambition to advance is suppressed by inadequate exposure to career building blocks such asprofessional leadership, training, and experience .These factors come under structuralcomponents. Beneath these structural factors of the glass ceiling there are behavioralimpediments of the Difference Model which includes gender stereotypes and expectations.Corporate culture nurtures the advancement of male careers by favoring the male workersover women.In 1991, in an effort to empower women and as part of the Civil Rights Act, a GlassCeiling Commission was appointed by the executive branch and chaired by the Secretary ofLabor. The commission included 21 members. The aim of the commission was to identifyblockages and broaden career possibilities and progression options for women and minorities.The commission redefined the concept as “invisible, artificial barriers that prevent qualifiedindividuals from advancing within their organization and reaching full potential” (The GlassCeiling Commission, 2003).EMPLOYMENT STATUS OF WOMEN AT HIGHER LEVELS: GLOBALOVERVIEWAccording to a study conducted by executive search firm EMA Partners, the famousglobal executive search firm, there are 11 out of 240 large companies in India has appointedWomen CEO. These companies included Indian owned as well as multinational, private aswell as state-owned firms. On the other side there are only 3 per cent of the Fortune 500companies have women CEOs. The figures clearly state that women are under-represented onthe higher positions across the world. According to a rough estimate by James Douglas ,Chairman , EMA International about 50 per cent of our population is female, about 50 percent of staff is female in the job market, but the gender is hugely unrepresented in boards andat the CEO level. Out of 1,000 public companies in the USA, with at least $1 billion in
  3. 3. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, March- April (2013)269annual revenue, there are only 30 female CEOs. In the UKs FTSE 100 list there were justthree female CEO. The number is really surprising and de motivating.A study conducted by International Labour Organization(ILO) in December 1997 onWomens progress in workforce stated that though women had made substantial progress inclosing the gender gap in managerial and professional jobs, still women are barred from thetop positions, in both the private and public sectors. In Fortune 500 survey it was found thatwhile women hold 40 per cent of all management positions in America, in Europe the figureare between 20 and 30 per cent. American women held only 11 per cent of board seats in thetop 500 companies. In Britain, women held only 5 per cent of board seats in the top 200companies. Further, it was observed that despite Chinas two decades of formal commitmentto sexual equality, there were no female business leaders of note. Similarly, in Japan therigidity of the corporate culture kept women out of the executive suite.In a research survey conducted in Japan in July 1999 it was found that, the number offemale company presidents had crossed the 60,000 mark. But that was just 5 per cent of thecountrys 1.14 million companies. It is disheartening to note that in countries like Japanwomen face major hurdles while trying to move up the corporate ladder. Many companiespush women to quit when they marry or when they reach their mid-30s.Sari Baldauf , tookher first senior management position at Nokia and visited the companys German operations.She experienced that workers could not accept her as the top management employee andtreated her as secretary of the company. These figures and incidents clearly show that womenall over the world are battling against such attitudes and emerging challenges. A data fromthe ILO’s Yearbook of Labour Statistics (2003), from 63 countries in 1996-99 and 2000-02 inwhich 48 were selected using ISCO-88 classification and 15 using ISCO-19682 showed thatwomen held 30 to 60 per cent of professional jobs in 45 out of 63 countries in 2000-02.In 2000-02, women’s overall share of managerial jobs was between 20 and 40 percent in 48 out of the 63 countries it was clearly evident that the women were noticeablyunder-represented in managerial jobs as compared to their overall share of employment. In 15countries using the ICSO-1968 classification women’s share of managerial jobs alsoincreased by 1.0 to 5.0 per cent in 7 countries between 1996-99 and 2000-02. The UnitedStates had the highest share of women administrative and managerial workers (45.9 per cent.Similarly, Japan had (8.9 per cent), Pakistan (8.7), Bangladesh (8.5 per cent), and SaudiArabia (0.9 per cent) had the lowest. In Sri Lanka, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh, theshare of women in managerial jobs was less than half of their share of total employment.GLASS CEILING: INDIAN SCENARIOIndian women have played an important role in cracking glass ceiling through theirtalent, skills and dedication. Indira Nooyi joined Pepsi Co. in 1994 and turned the companyinto a bold risk taker. Wall Street Journal included her name in their top 50 women in 2005.Fortune magazine declared her 11th most powerful women in business. Alpana Morparia andLalita Gupte, Joint Managing Directors of ICICI Bank, the second largest bank of Indiabrought a turnaround in the company. Ms. Kalpana Morparia became Executive Director,ICICI in 2001. In 1999, for her contribution in Finance and Banking sector in India, IndianMerchants Chamber awarded her for her performance. Vidya Manohar Chhabria, Chairman,Jumbo Group.Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw—Biocon became the first female master brewer and therichest woman in India. Simone Tata—Managing Director (former) Lakme , Also known as
  4. 4. International Journal of Management (IJM), ISSN 0976 – 6502(Print), ISSN 0976 –6510(Online), Volume 4, Issue 2, March- April (2013)270Cosmetic Czarina of India with her visions, changed a small unknown cosmetics company,one of the subsidiaries of Tata Oil Mills, into one of the leading cosmetic companies of India.Lakme changed the face of Indian fashion and cosmetics forever. Indu Jain- Chairperson(former), was the Chairman of the The Times Group, the biggest and the most powerfulmedia house in India. Priya Paul—Apeejay Surrendra Group,Sulajja Firodia Motwani—Kinetic Motor, Joint Managing Director of Kinetic, and the Managing Director of KineticFinance. Neelam Dhawan—Managing Director, Microsoft also brought pride and name toIndian women.However we have another side of the picture also. The sex‐ratio i.e number of womenper 1000 men was 933 in 2001 and is 944 in 2011. As per census 2001, the number ofworkers in the urban areas was 92.28 million of which only 16.10 million were females. Inrural areas, out of 310 million workers, 111 million were females. 42.95 of the rural femaleworking population was engaged as agricultural Labour. Women constituted 90 per cent ofthe total marginal workers of the country. As per NSS (National Sample Survey) 64th Round,2007‐08, the workforce participation rate of females in rural sector was 28.9 on the otherhand for males it was 54.8. In Urban sector, this rate was 13.8 for females and 55.4 for males.As per the findings of Quarterly Employment Review, Ministry of Labour, the totalemployment of women in organized sector was 19.5percent in 2007.In June 2009, out of 40 Cabinet Ministers it was surprising to see that there were onlythree female Cabinet Minister and 4 female Ministers of State (MOS) out of 38 in 2009. Ason June 2009, there was no Female Judge out of 24 Judges in the Supreme Court. In the HighCourts, there were only 51 Female Judges among the total of 649 judges. However in 2011the Supreme Court had two women judges. Once correctly identified and observed,organizations can adopt strategies to eliminate the hurdle of success and can capitalize on thestrength and support. Further ,it is not only the CEO’s job to bring change instead women canalso help themselves to gain experience and career advancement. Building self-confidence,self-motivation and setting role models for the success are some of the steps that womenemployees can take. Some of the initiatives taken by Indian Government has put some effortfor removing hurdles to women growth . Some of them are- Women Labour Cell, EqualRemuneration Act, 1976; Grants-in-aid Scheme ,Supreme Court Guidelines on SexualHarassment of Women Workers ,.Maternity Benefit Act,1961: ,National Commission forWomen: Reservation for Women in Local Self –Government ;National Policy for theEmpowerment of Women, 2001CONCLUSIONConventionally, women have been under-represented in organizations and the disputefor equal opportunity employment has not given sufficient results in India. As organizationsstruggle with a scarcity for talent, smarter companies are beginning to recognize theopportunity in grooming and retaining women. The fact that legislation, labor policies, andcultural perceptions are incrementally changing to reduce the gap between male and femaleemployment can’t be denied, but there is a lot of work to be done. The survival of women ina kind of work cultures that are dominated by male ideology also depends on theirwillingness to confront barriers. Hence, strong determination, motivation and continuouslearning on the part of women supplemented by initiatives by government and organizationalsupport can bring a significant change.
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