Langauge Sexism Essay

This essay has a total of 2220 words and 11 pages.


Langauge Sexism





Women as Leaders
More and more women are rising to the leadership challenge, even in some of the most
male-dominated industries. The increase in the number of women attending university, in
the workplace or starting their own business has demonstrated to men who own businesses
that women can be both managers and mothers, thus showing their male counterpart that
women can in fact "do it all". In this paper the history of women in the workforce will be
outlined, as well as the challenges they face. The changing attitudes towards women taking
over family businesses will be looked at briefly, how women lead along with a comparison
to how men lead, and a critique and conclusion of their leadership style will also be
discussed.


History and The Challenges Women Face
A number of events have occurred over the last twenty-five years or so that have resulted
in the rise of the female in the work-for-pay world. Beginning in the mid-1970's, women
began going to business school and earning their Master's of Business Administration and,
as a result, building on that education and gaining work experience (Nelton, 1999). The
days of the one income family are over. Females need to be armed with a university or
college degree to be a contributor to this century's model of the family unit and in this
time of "education inflation", the demand for higher education is growing at a staggering
rate. In the corporate sector, the generation of women who entered the corporate world two
to three decades ago have blazed the trail now followed by ever-growing numbers of women
(Shaiko, 1997).

The great strides women are making in the work force can be attributed to numerous factors including the:

"passage of equal employment opportunity
legislation's, modifications in job requirements,
more females on the buying side, elevated
educational achievements by females, more
women in business schools, the huge percentage
of female business school graduates with
'androgynous' orientations, and the willingness
of many young women to postpone marriage and
child-bearing." (Comer, et.al, 1997)


While women continue to make progressive strides toward equality, few have risen to the
highest positions-leading companies to the new millenium (Andorka, 1998). Fortunately,
women can now demand equal treatment in their respective organizations as a result of the
aforementioned changes in history. Many companies have policies in places that require
equality at work and punishment for those who do not adhere to such policies.

There is a vast amount of evidence that women tend to occupy less powerful, lower paid,
and lower status organizational positions than men. These divisions not only occur
vertically, but on a horizontal scale as well. Women who seek to enter management level
positions fight against stereotypes, discrimination, and myths, not to mention the fight
to balance work and family. They have also been overwhelmed by unfamiliar products,
skeptical clients or customers, guy talk, a scarcity of female associates and little or no
empathy (Comer, et.al., 1997). Sheila Wellington, President of Catalyst, a non-profit
organization for the advancement of women to corporate and professional leadership, said
in a speech on October 23, 1996 to the Economic Club of Detroit in Detroit Michigan:


"Let me be clear, I believe that most obstacles
to women's advancement to the top are not
intentional, they are a result of unexamined
assumptions about women's career interests
and of policies and practices that have existed unquestioned over time in the corporate culture.
With real commitment to change, the situation
is remediable." (Wellington, 1996)


Perhaps, the "glass ceiling" that women are under is not the intent of their male
counterparts. I believe that it is the socialization of men and women in our society that
has lead to this imbalance in the work force. But, somewhere along the line, men have to
realize and acknowledge the socialization they have endured is creating much disharmony
and discontent among their female colleagues.


The Torch is Passed- to the Daughter
Twenty years ago, there was no place for women in most family businesses (Nelton, 1999).
If they did have a position, it was presumably as secretary, assistant, or some other
"behind-the-scenes" role. The traditional successor to the family business was the
first-born son and if there was no son, then the widow was discouraged from running the
company and urged to sell the business. Those days have since past. As women are achieving
higher levels of education and are being employed in more prominent positions, their
leadership roles in family organizations have increased (Brody, 1994]. Many young women
are refusing to accept the rule of "primogeniture" (Nelton, 1999). Primogeniture is
defined as a birthright or an inheritance. Although women are making great strides in this
arena, there is still the feeling out there that the son should be considered first and
the daughter as a second option, only if there is no son or if the son declines the offer.
But, Nelson says that, "young women by and large feel that if they want to go into the
family business, the opportunity is there."

In each of the cases described by Nelson, the fathers encouraged their daughters to become
involved in the family business. As well, each father let his daughter run the show once
she was named CEO-the surest sign of support (Nelton, 1999). In more and more families and
in business in general, gender is becoming a "non-issue". As roles increasingly change on
the home front, the business world will soon mirror the changes taking place in the family
structure. Nelton also urges women in leadership roles to not lose sight of the bottom
line. She says it is "easy for women to get caught up in the management of people"
(Nelton, 1999). She goes on to say that if you cannot prove that you are also
profit-driven, you will never make it to the successor level.


The Battle of the Sexes
There are many characteristics that women inherently possess that make them great leaders.
Women tend to handle juggling many tasks at the same time better than men do. Because
women have traditionally been the primary caregiver in the home as well as taking care of
the household chores, "juggling" or time management has become second nature to them.
Although women are skilled in handling many tasks, studies have shown that women are for
the most part, people-oriented, rather than task-oriented (Comer, et.al., 1997).

Continues for 6 more pages >>




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