Socio-Economic Implications of Female Inclusion in Organizational Structures and in Leadership Positions

Open access

Abstract

The perception of women’s statutory place within organizations has been influenced by gender bias, which has led to discrimination. Lowering barriers related to gender inequality and introducing constructive changes takes a surprisingly long time. This procrastination can, to some extent, be attributed to the fear of potential economic costs, which is a misconception. A deeper understanding of the interplay between socio-economic factors and gender inequality within organizations can result in designing better, less biased, more merit-based structures and provide women with better career opportunities. Countries and organizations promoting gender equality practices prove that women’s inclusion in the labor market can be ‘cost-effective’ and beneficial in socio-economic terms.

This article analyzes selected determinants of female under representation in organizations, and in leadership positions in particular. The author points out to the rich body of research and to the multiple implications of gender inequality. Among the change resistant, deeply rooted factors, those originating in culture have a significant impact on women’s inclusion in organizations. This paper focuses on macro problems, and explains why some determinants are more persistent than others, and still influence gender equality at all levels of organizational structures. The determinants are systematized, analyzed using statistical data, and rooted in a wide body of research. The article also presents potential future developments and available tools that can be employed to speed up changes leading to gender equality in organizational structures, particularly in leadership positions.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Acker J. (1990) Hierarchies jobs bodies: A theory of gendered organizations Gender & Society Vol. 4 No. 2 pp. 139–158.

  • Adams L. Winterbotham M. Oldfield K. Large A. Stuart A. Murphy L. Rossiter H. Selner S. (2015) Pregnancy and Maternity Related Discrimination and Disadvantage First findings: Surveys of Employers and Mothers Department for Business Innovation and Skills BIS Research Paper No. 235 IFF Research.

  • Auer J. J. (1979) The image of the right honorable Margaret Thatcher Communication Studies Vol. 30 No. 4 pp. 289–310.

  • Bandura A. Wood R. (1989) Effect of perceived controllability and performance standards on self-regulation of complex decision making Journal of personality and social psychology Vol. 56 No. 5 pp. 805–814.

  • Baker M. Milligan K. (2008) How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers’ Employment? Journal of Labor Economics Vol. 26 No. 4 pp. 655–691.

  • Berger L. M. Hill J. Waldfogel J. (2005) Maternity leave early maternal employment and child health and development in the US The Economic Journal Vol. 115 No. 501 pp. F29‑F47.

  • Biddle B. J. (1986) Recent Developments in Role Theory Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 12 pp. 67–92.

  • Blum T. C. Fields D. L. Goodman J. S. (1994) Organization-level determinants of women in management. Academy of Management Journal Vol. 37 No. 2.

  • Bolzendahl C. I. Myers D. J. (2004) Feminist attitudes and support for gender equality: Opinion change in women and men 1974–1998 Social Forces Vol. 83 No. 2 pp. 759–789.

  • Bowcott O. (2014) Twitter intimidation not taken seriously enough by police says Stella Creasy The Guardian Sept. 29 2014.

  • Branch K. (1994) Are Women Worth as Much as Men: Employment Inequities Gender Roles and Public Policy Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy Vol. 1 No. 119.

  • Britton D. M. (2000) The epistemology of the gendered organization Gender & Society 4.3 pp. 418–434.

  • Brzezinski M. (2011) Knowing Your Value: Women Money and Getting What You’re Worth Weinstein Books.

  • Businessdictionary (2015) http://businessdictionary.com

  • Byerly C. M. Ross K. (2008) Women and media: A critical introduction John Wiley & Sons. Cambridge International Dictionary of English (1995) Cambridge University Press Cambridge UK.

  • Carter N. M. Wagner H. M. (2011) The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards (2004–2008) Catalyst Report March 2011 available at:http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/bottom-line-corporate-performance-and-womens-representation-boards-20042008 accessed: retrieved in August 2015.

  • Catalyst (2014)Catalyst Census: Women Board Directors New York: Catalyst.

  • Catalyst (2015)Pyramid: Women in S&P 500 Companies New York: Catalyst April 3 2015.

  • Chickering A. W. (1969) Education and identity Jossey-Bass San Francisco CA.

  • Corning P. A. (1995) Synergy and self-organization in the evolution of complex systems Systems Research Vol. 12 No. 2 pp. 89–122.

  • Datta Gupta N. Smith N. Verner M. (2008) The impact of Nordic countries’ family friendly policies on employment wages and children Rev Econ Household Vol. 6 pp. 65–89.

  • Donald D. A. (2015) 67% of Europeans don’t believe women have the skills to be scientists Women in Leadership The Guardian September 24 2015.

  • DiMaggio P. (1994) Culture and Economy in: Neil Smelser and Richard Swedberg (eds.) The Handbook of Economic Sociology Princeton University Press Princeton NJ pp. 27–57.

  • Dollar D. Gatti R. (1999) Gender inequality income and growth: are good times good for women?. Vol. 1. Washington DC: Development Research Group The World Bank.

  • Drucker P. F. (1995) People and performance: The best of Peter Drucker on management Routledge.

  • Drucker P. F. (2011) The age of discontinuity: Guidelines to our changing society Transaction Publishers.

  • Eagly A. H. Kite M. E. (1987) Are stereotypes of nationalities applied to both women and men? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 53 No. 3 pp. 451.

  • Eagly A. H. (1987) Reporting sex differences American Psychologist Vol. 42 No. 7 pp. 756–757.

  • Eagly A. H. Karau S. J. (1991) Gender and the emergence of leaders: A meta-analysis Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 60 No. 5 pp. 685–710.

  • Eagly A. H. (1997) Sex differences in social behavior: comparing social role theory and evolutionary psychology American Psychologist Vol. 52 No. 12 pp. 1380–1383.

  • Eagly A. H. Johannesen-Schmidt M. C. (2001) The leadership styles of women and men Journal of Social Issues Vol. 57 No. 4 pp. 781–797.

  • Eagly A. H. Johannesen-Schmidt M. C. Van Engen M. L. (2003) Transformational transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles: a meta-analysis comparing women and men Psychological Bulletin Vol. 129 No. 4 pp. 569–591.

  • Eagly A. H. Carli L. L. (2003) The female leadership advantage: An evaluation of the evidence The Leadership Quarterly Vol. 14 No. 6 pp. 807–834.

  • Eagly A. H. (2004) Few women at the top: How role incongruity produces prejudice and the glass ceiling in: D. van Knippenberg M. A. Hogg. (eds.) Leadership and power: Identity processes in groups and organizations Sage Publications London pp. 79–93.

  • Eagly A. H. Carli L. L. (2007) Women and the labyrinth of leadership Harvard Business Review Vol. 85 No. 9 pp. 62–82.

  • Eagly A. H. (2009) The his and hers of prosocial behavior: an examination of the social psychology of gender American Psychologist Vol. 64 No. 8 pp. 644–658.

  • Eccles J. S. (1994) Understanding women’s educational and occupational choices Psychology of Women Quarterly Vol. 18 No. 4 pp. 585–609.

  • Ely R. J. (1994) The effects of organizational demographics and social identity on relationships among professional women Administrative Science Quarterly Vol. 39 No. 2 pp. 203–238.

  • Ely R. J. (1995) The power in demography: Women’s social constructions of gender identity at work” Academy of Management Journal Vol. 38 No. 3 pp. 589–634.

  • Ely R. J. Meyerson D. E. (2000) Advancing gender equity in organizations: The challenge and importance of maintaining a gender narrative Organization Vol. 7 No. 4 pp. 589–608.

  • Ely R. J. Ibarra H. Kolb D. M. (2011) Taking gender into account: Theory and design for women’s leadership development programs Academy of Management Learning & Education Vol. 10 No. 3 pp. 474–493.

  • Ely R. J. Thomas D. A. (2001) Cultural diversity at work: The effects of diversity perspectives on work group processes and outcomes Administrative Science Quarterly Vol. 46 No. 2 pp. 229–273.

  • Ely R. Padavic I. (2007) A feminist analysis of organizational research on sex differences Academy of Management Review Vol. 32 No. 4 pp. 1121–1143.

  • Ely R. Ibarra H. Kolb D. (2011) Taking Gender Into Account. Theory and Design for Women’s Leadership Development Programs Academy of Management Learning and Education Vol. 10 No. 3 pp. 474–493.

  • Eurostat (2014) Statistics Explained available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php

  • Fausto-Sterling A. (2008) Myths of gender: Biological theories about women and men Basic Books.

  • Fortune (2014) The Most Powerful Women in Business available at: http://fortune.com/most-powerful-women/ accessed: August 2015.

  • Giddens A. (1971) Capitalism and modern social theory: An analysis of the writings of Marx Durkheim and Max Weber Cambridge University Press Cambridge UK.

  • Garcia-Retamero R. López-Zafra E. (2006) Prejudice against women in male-congenial environments: Perceptions of gender role congruity in leadership Sex roles Vol. 55 No. 1–2 pp. 51–61.

  • Giddens A. (1984) The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. University of California Press.

  • Giddens A. (1991)Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age Stanford University Press.

  • Giddens A. Duneier M. Appelbaum R. P. et al. (2000) Introduction to sociology New York WW Norton.

  • Giddens A. (2002). Runaway world: How globalization is reshaping our lives Profile Books.

  • Giddens A. (2004) Beneath the hijab: A woman New Perspectives Quarterly Vol. 21 No. 2 pp. 9–11.

  • Giddens A. (2013) The consequences of modernity John Wiley & Sons.

  • Goldschmidt-Clermont L. (1982) Unpaid work in the household: a review of economic evaluation methods International Labour Office Geneva Switzerland.

  • Grampp W. D. (2000) What did Smith mean by the invisible hand? Journal of Political Economy Vol. 108 No. 3 pp. 441–465.

  • Gratton L. Erickson T. J. (2007) Eight ways to build collaborative teams Harvard Business Review Vol. 85 No. 11 pp. 100–109.

  • Humbert A. L. Ivaškaitė-Tamošiūnė V. Oetke N. Paats M. (2015) Gender Equality Index 2015 – Measuring gender equality in the European Union 2005–2012 European Institute for Gender Equality.

  • Humphries J. (1995) Economics Gender and Equal Opportunities in: J. Humphries J. Rubery (eds.) Economics of Equality Equality Commission Manchester UK.

  • Hofstede G. Hofstede G. J. Minkov M. (1997) Cultures and organizations McGraw Hill New York NY.

  • Hymowitz C. Schellhardt T. D. (1986) The Glass Ceiling: Why Women Can’t Seem to Break The Invisible

  • Barrier That Blocks Them From the Top Jobs Wall Street Journal March 1986.

  • Ibarra H. (1993) Personal networks of women and minorities in management: A conceptual framework Academy of Management Review Vol. 18 No. 1 pp. 56–87.

  • Ibarra H. (1995) Race opportunity and diversity of social circles in managerial networks Academy of Management Journal Vol. 38 No. 3 pp. 673–703.

  • Ibarra H. (2005) Identity transitions: possible selves liminality and the dynamics of career change INSEAD Working Paper.

  • Ibarra H. Wittman S. Petriglieri G. Day D. V. (2014) Leadership and Identity: An Examination of Three

  • Theories and New Research Directions in: D. V. Day (ed.) The Oxford handbook of leadership and organizations Oxford Library of Psychology Oxford University Press USA pp. 285–300.

  • ILO International Labour Organization (2014) Global Employment Trends 2014: Risk of a jobless recovery? accessed: in January 2015.

  • Kelly E. Dobbin F. (1999) Civil rights law at work: Sex discrimination and the rise of maternity leave policies American Journal of Sociology Vol. 105 No. 2 pp. 455–92.

  • Kim D. H. Senge P. M. (1994) Putting systems thinking into practice System Dynamics Review Vol. 10 No. 2–3 pp. 277–290.

  • Komives S. R. et al. (2005) Developing a leadership identity: A grounded theory Journal of College Student Development Vol. 46 No. 6 pp. 593–611.

  • Lerner M. J. Miller D. T. (1978) Just world research and the attribution process: Looking back and ahead Psychological Bulletin Vol. 85 No. 5 pp. 1030.

  • Lewis J. E. (1993) Women and social policies in Europe: work family and the state Edward Elgar Pub.

  • L’Oreal Foundation (2015) Women in Science Report 2015 available at: http://www.loreal.com/media/press-releases/2015/sep/the-loreal-foundation-unveils-the-results-of-its-exclusive-international-study

  • Lyness K. S. et al. (1999) Work and pregnancy: Individual and organizational factors influencing organizational commitment timing of maternity leave and return to work Sex Roles Vol. 41 No. 7–8 pp. 485–508.

  • Marx K. McLellan D. (2000) Karl Marx: Selected Writings Oxford University Press.

  • Mead G. H. (1934) Mind Self and Society University of Chicago Press Chicago IL.

  • McKinsey and Company (2007) Women Matter: Gender Diversity a corporate performance driver McKinsey and Company – France available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/features/women_matter

  • Miller A. S. Hoffmann J. P. (1995) Risk and religion: An explanation of gender differences in religiosity Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Vol. 34 No. 1 pp. 63–75.

  • Morgan N. (2015) Speech at UN Women UK and Government Equalities Office Conference 27 February 2015 (speech transcript) available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/un-women-uk-and-government-equalities-office-conference

  • Myers L. W. (2002) A broken silence: Voices of African American women in the academy Greenwood Publishing Group.

  • Mitchell M. (2009) Complexity: A Guided Tour Oxford University Press: New York NY.

  • OECD (2012) Gender Equality in Education Employment and Entrepreneurship: Final Report to the MCM 2012 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) available at: http://www.oecd.org/employment/50423364.pdf

  • O’Neill J. Polachek S. (1993) Why the gender gap in wages narrowed in the 1980 s Journal of Labor Economics Vol. 11 No. 1 pp. 205–228.

  • Oxford (2015) Oxford University Press Online Dictionary.

  • Ozorak E. W. (1996) The power but not the glory: How women empower themselves through religion Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Vol. 35 pp. 17–29.

  • Pettigrew T. F. (1979) The ultimate attribution error: Extending Allport’s cognitive analysis of prejudice Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 4 pp. 461–476.

  • Pinker S. (2011) The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined Viking New York NY.

  • Plantenga J. Remery R. (2008) The provision of childcare services: a comparative review of thirty European countries Co-ordinators’ synthesis report prepared for the Equality Unit European Commission.

  • Rubery J. Figueiredo H. Smith M. Grimshaw D. Fagan C. (2004) The ups and downs of European gender equality policy Industrial Relations Journal Vol. 35 No. 6 pp. 603–628.

  • Samans R. Blanke J. Corrigan G. Drzeniek M. (2015) The Inclusive Growth and Development Report World Economic Forum available at: http://reports.weforum.org/inclusive-growth-report-2015

  • Sandberg S. (2013) Lean in: Women work and the will to lead Random House.

  • Sapienza P. Zingales L. Guiso L. (2006) Does culture affect economic outcomes? Journal of Economic Perspectives Vol. 20 No. 2 pp. 23–48.

  • Schwab S. (1986) Is Statistical Discrimination Efficient? The American Economic Review Vol. 76 No. 1 pp. 228–234.

  • Schwartz F. N. (1989) Management women and the new facts of life Harvard Business Review Vol. 89 pp. 65–76.

  • Senge P. M. (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization Doubleday/Currency.

  • Senge P. M. (1994) Learning to Alter Mental Models: Learning accelerates as managers change their mental models. Executive Excellence Vol. 11 pp. 16–17.

  • Senge P. M. (1999) Leadership in living organizations in: F. Hesselbein et al. (eds.) Leading Beyond the Walls. Jossey-Bass New York.

  • Senge P. M. (2002) The Leader’s New Work: Building Learning Organizations Sloan Management Review Vol. 32 No. 1 pp. 7–23.

  • Senge P. M. (2014) The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization Currency/Doubleday New York.

  • Sherif M. Hovland C. I. (1961) Social judgment: Assimilation and contrast effects in communication and attitude change Greenwood Westport.

  • Sherif C. W. (1982) Needed concepts in the study of gender identity Psychology of Women Quarterly Vol. 6 No. 4 pp. 375–398.

  • Smith A. (2010) The theory of moral sentiments Penguin New York.

  • Smith E. (2007) Social Psychology Third Edition Psychology Press New York.

  • Smith M. Bettio F. (2008) Analysis note: the economic case for gender equality European Commission’s Network of Experts on Employment and Gender Equality issues (EGGE) report European Union available at: http://eurogender.eige.europa.eu/sites/default/files/ECO-CASE-final-1.pdf

  • Spencer S. J. Steele C. M. Quinn D. M. (1999) Stereotype threat and women’s math performance Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Vol. 35 No. 1 pp. 4–28.

  • Tajfel H. (1974) Social identity and intergroup behaviour Social Science Information Vol. 13 No. 2 pp. 65–93.

  • Tajfel H. Turner J. C. (1979) An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict in: W. G. Austin S. Worchel (eds.) The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations Brooks-Cole Monterey CA.

  • Tajfel H. (1982) Social psychology of intergroup relations Annual Review of Psychology Vol. 33 No. 1 pp. 1–39.

  • Tajfel H. (2010) Social identity and intergroup relations Cambridge University Press Cambridge UK.

  • The World Bank (2012) World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development 2012 available at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWDR2012/Resources/7778105–1299699968583/7786210–1315936222006/Complete-Report.pdf

  • The World Bank (2015) World Development Indicators available at: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.FE.ZS accessed: September 2015.

  • UN (1995) Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action The Fourth World Conference on Women Beijing China September 1995 available at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/pdf/BDPfA%20E.pdf

  • UNW (2015) Progress of the World’s Women 2015–2016: Transforming economies realizing rights United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women available at: http://progress.unwomen.org/en/2015/pdf/UNW_progressreport.pdf

  • World Bank Gender Data Portal (2015) available at: http://datatopics.worldbank.org/gender/key%20gender%20employment%20indicators accessed: September 2015.

  • United States Census Bureau (2015) World Population accessed: September 2015 available at: http://www.census.gov/population/international/data/worldpop/table_population.php

  • Waldfogel J. (1997) The effect of children on women’s wages American Sociological Review Vol. 62 No. 2 pp. 209–217.

  • Worldometers (2015) available at: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

  • Weber M. Gerth H. H. Mills C. W. (1946) From Max Weber: Essays in sociology Oxford University Press New York.

  • Wiesner Merry E. (2000) Women and gender in early modern Europe Cambridge University Press Cambridge UK.

Search
Journal information
Cited By
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 549 266 12
PDF Downloads 268 164 9