Research Paper: Women in Leadership the Characteristics and Advantage

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Women in Leadership: The Characteristics and Advantage of Women

Women in Leadership

Women in Leadership: Obstacles to the Characteristics and Advantages of Women

The issue of women in leadership has been a focus of debate and discussion across many disciplines in recent years. This debate is also linked to topics such women's rights and gender inequalities in modern society. These issues have been engendered by the fact that there is a gross disparity in terms of gender when it comes to leadership roles in modern corporations and organization. The contention that underlies this debate is the marginalization of women and the prejudiced perception of gender. Many critics note that these disparities are a direct result of perceptions and stereotyped that emanate from a male-centered and patriarchal word view.

This is turn has resulted in a deconstruction and questioning of gender disparities, especially in the light of modern theories of leadership that tend to emphasize a more transformational as opposed to a transactional model of effective leadership in an interconnected and interdependent modern world. Many critics have consequently questioned the authoritarians and male -- oriented view of leadership and suggested that women have qualities and advantages that make then at least as effective in leadership roles as men

This view suggests women have certain qualities that deserve greater recognition and acceptance in terms of leadership potential. This is not to suggest that there are distinct and set male and female stereotyped, but rather that women posses advantageous qualities that need to recognized to as greater degree in various leadership roles and situations

Furthermore, one also has to bear in mind that modern management culture no longer advocates the rigid patriarchal model of leadership. There is much more emphasis on the promotion of the flexible leadership styles. That promotes aspect such as individualism and an introspective leadership model, which concurs with many studies of female leadership attributes. This leads to the assertion that a more comprehensive understanding of leadership, especially the women's role in the leadership, will have a positive impact on the effective running of business and organizational structures and the fair and optimum distribution of human resources.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 2

Chapter One

Introduction 5

Statement of Problem 6

Purpose of Study 7

Research Objective 7

Significance of the Study 7

Chapter Two

Literature review 9

The Situation of Women in Leadership Roles 9

Obstacles and Barriers 12

Female Qualities and Advantages 13

Chapter Three

Research Methodology 15

Limitations of the Study 15

Chapter Four

Results and Analysis 16

Discrimination and Advancement 16

The Social Construction of Reality 18

Female Leadership: Qualities and Advantages 20

Changing Views of Leadership and the Need for Diversity 23

Biological and Other Female Leadership Attributes 26

Chapter Five

References 33

Appendix ..41

Women in Leadership: Obstacles to the Characteristics and Advantages of Women

Chapter One

Introduction

There is little doubt that if questioned most people would associate leadership roles in commerce and politics with a male image or name. This is a socialized response which indicates the prevalence of certain prejudicial stereotypes in society. However, in recent years this stereotype and the stereotype of the women as only a support for the male leader has been deconstructed and questioned. There has also emerged a strong view, evidenced by modern examples and studies, that women are as good, if not better, leaders as men. Despite this, the hegemony of patriarchal attitude towards women in business and other areas of society still tend to persist.

The marginalization of women in business is well-known as and characterized by the term and phenomenon known as the "glass ceiling." The term glass ceiling refers to the various obstacles that prevent upward mobility for women in the workplace and the corporate world (Madden, 2000). This term owes its origins to a reference to artificial barriers to female advancement and was first mentioned in a 1985 Wall Street Journal article (Glass Ceiling, 2004). The glass ceiling is aptly defined as "…an invisible barrier that determines the level to which a woman or other member of a demographic minority can rise in an organization." (Glass Ceiling: definition) This concept will also form a central fulcrum of the discussion in this dissertation.

One of the central questions that this study will attempt to address is the reason or reasons why women have been limited with regard to leadership roles on society. This question is linked to a number of complex issues, such as the qualities expected of a leader and how this relates to female abilities and aptitude. In essence, many critics note that women in fact have qualities that make them extremely competent leaders -- although these qualities may differ from the stereotypical norm of the way that a leader is presented and idealized in male -- centered and dominated societies; for example, stereotypes such as a domineering and aggressive personae. It is a central thesis of this dissertation that while male stereotypical qualities are lauded, female qualities such as cooperative organization and intuitive understanding are often ignored when it comes to definitions of good leadership.

Statement of Problem

The question of female leadership is related not only to the issue of certain inherent female qualities but should also be considered against the d background of gender inequalities in society that act as an obstruction to acceptance and recognition. This is a complex and problematic area that is of cardinal concern in any discussion of female leadership advancement. This issue is important as it emphasize the fact that female leadership qualities will not be recognized if there is no gender equality in the society.

As many studies point out, the issue of gender equality in the workforce and in organizations has become a dominating issue in developing countries like the United States. A report entitled National Organization for Women Foundation: Sex-Based Employment Discrimination in the U.S. ( 2006) states that,

The United States has maintained for many decades one of the strongest and most stable economies in the world, generating significant employment and income growth for much of the population. But despite the country's economic might and unparalleled wealth, gains have not been equitably shared. The gulf between the top-most income earners and low- and moderate-income earners is well-documented and has expanded considerably in recent years.

(National Organization for Women Foundation: Sex-Based Employment Discrimination in the U.S.)

This disparity is also related to gender inequalities. Furthermore, the study points out that there have not been great advances towards the goal of gender equality since the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1992. "…in recent years repeated efforts have been mounted by conservative legislators and policy-makers to undermine and repeal laws and policies intended to promote sex equality." (National Organization for Women Foundation: Sex-Based Employment Discrimination in the U.S.) This report therefore stresses the view reiterated in other studies that in many sectors of society there has been inadequate representation and opportunity for women. In the light of these findings, this study intends to analyze the leadership role of women and how the leadership qualities evident in women have tend be suppressed and obstructed to varying degrees in society.

Purpose of Study

In the light of the above points, the purpose of this study is essentially to add to the debate and state of knowledge on female leadership. In terms of research, the present study aims to provide as strong argument for the need for the advancement of in female leadership roles in modern society; as well as referring to some of the central obstacles to this advancement.

Research Objective

There are two main research objectives in this study. The first is, through a comparative analysis, to show that women have qualities and attributes that make that them excellent leaders in all fields. The second related objective is to explore the obstructions that prevent these qualities from manifesting or being recognized by the society.

Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is based on two central aspects that are addressed in the discussion and analysis. In the first place the study provides an overview of the present situation regarding female leadership and the causative factors that have led to this situation. In other words, this refers to the reasons why women have been marginalized and often relegated to less important roles in organizations and corporations.

This leads to the concomitant issue of female leadership ability and the qualities that are considered to make for good leadership. The significance of the study therefore lies in the view that female qualities have not been sufficiently recognized and that this is an important factor that affects the effective and fair distribution of human resources in society. This study also seeks to address the untenable reality of inequality in the workplace and the fact that prejudice and marginalization have no place in a modern economy that depends on cooperation and interaction on an equitable basis.

Chapter Two

Literature Review

There is a wide range of literature that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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