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Low Ratio Of Women İn Top Management I: What İs The Situation İn Global And İn Turkey?
MAKALE #4931 © Yazan Uzm.Psk.Mehtap HİSAR | Yayın Mayıs 2010 | 4,268 Okuyucu
There is a curiosity for the potential explanations of the low ratio of women in top management, seen almost in all countries of the world. There is no doubt that negative attitudes towards women’s managerial skills and the gender-role stereotypes are influential on such a low ratio. Despite the significant participation of female employees in work life today in all over the world, they are still underrepresented in top management. Extensive research has been done about the attitudes towards women in top managerial positions which are formed by the beliefs regarding females’ competencies, managerial skills and characteristics. The subjective, stereotypical and gender-role based thoughts regarding females’ managerial skills and competencies feed the negative attitudes towards women in top management. In this article, the situation for the female managers in top management both in Turkey and in global will be discussed.
One of the main factors for the low ratio of female managers in top management is rooted from the negative attitudes towards women in top managerial positions (Wiggins 1991). In an organization, the negative attitudes towards female managers become visible in different practices such as unfair selection, promotion and unequal opportunities (Aycan 2004; Kabasakal et. al 2004). That is why; female managers face various difficulties in the senior levels of management.
Since this article is aimed to clarify the situation of women in top management and what the role of the negative attitudes in such a low ratio, it is meaningful to be clear about the definition of ‘attitude’. Allport’s definition of attitude is “a mental state of readiness organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations which are related” (Fishbein 1967: 8). As a more recent explanation offered by Eagly and Chaiken (1993) discussed in Fazio and Olson’s article, attitude is “an unobservable psychological construct which can manifest itself in relevant beliefs, feelings and behavioral components” (Fazio and Olson, 2003: 139). They claim that it implies a tendency expressed by a degree of favor or disfavor. As it is understood from the Eagly and Chaiken’s definition, an attitude consists of both sensational and behavioral dimensions. One of the sources of our attitudes is stereotypes. A stereotype can be defined as “shared beliefs about personal attributes, usually personality traits but often also behaviors, of a group of people” (Leyens, Yzerbyt and Schadron 1994). They are practical since they reduce complexity, provide stability and simplify information outside of us. It is also important to indicate that stereotypes are overgeneralizations, simplifications and often inaccurate.
Before all else, it is important to indicate that management is one of the occupations dominated by males in all over the world (Garland and Price 1977). Despite women’s noticeably progress in the access to many areas in work life today such as entering to workforce and getting managerial positions, they have only a limited progress in other areas such as getting senior and top management jobs (Davidson and Burke 2004). As Wirth indicates, women’s share in top managerial positions is lower than the other jobs in most of the counties. For instance, female managers’ overall share was between 20 to 40 per cent in 48 countries out of 63 such as Ukraine, Norway, United Kingdom, Portugal, Australia, Italia, Egypt and Mexico according to the source called “ILO 2003 Yearbook of Labor Statistics, Countries with ISCO-88 classifications” (Wirth 2004). One of the inequalities between male and female managers in top management is seen in their earnings. When the wages are compared, not surprisingly, there is a significant wage difference between the male and female managers in top management (Powell, 1999). Wirth specifies in her research that the gender pay gap seen in different countries. According to the source called “Commission of the European Communities 2002” there is a widest gap in United Kingdom (24.3 per cent), followed by Austria (21.1 per cent) and the Netherlands (21.1 percent). In Japan, women earned 65.3 per cent of men’s earnings which is indicated in 2001 by the “Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan” (Wirth, 2004). As she indicates in her study supported by empirical findings that the pay gap is seen in many other countries like European Countries and Japan such as United States, Argentina, Thailand, Singapore and South Korea (Wirth, 2004). Additionally, this gap increases while the seniority of the position increases. For instance, according to the Report “A New Look Through the Glass Ceiling: Where are the Women?” presented by the United States General Accounting Office in 2002, women in the United States were paid on average 76 per cent of males’ payment in 2001 while they only earned 70.5 per cent of males’ payments in managerial and professional jobs (Wirth, 2004). Nevertheless, there are improvements today in the worldwide in management in terms of the conditions for female employees. More supportive work environment, improved economic conditions and more opportunities offered to women contribute to their progresses in work life. On the other hand, the change is relatively slow (Wirth, 2004). Still, men control the senior positions and women face discrimination, gender stereotyping and prejudices mostly supported by the organizational culture, policies and practices which hinder women’s progress (Davidson et. al, 2004, Wirth, 2004).
The situation of women in top management is unfortunately similar with most of the other countries in the world. Although women are represented in various jobs in Turkish work life, they are represented only by 4 per cent of top management positions (Aycan 2004). In addition to this, Kabasakal et. al. (2004) indicate that the representation of women decreases while it is gone up to the upper levels in the managerial hierarchy in Turkey (Kabasakal et. al 2004). First of all, it is important to present the sectors that Turkish women mainly take a part in order to understand their working conditions and difficulties. Today, women in Turkey occupy in many different professional and managerial positions in significant numbers. Nevertheless, there is a sharp decline in women’s representation as the managerial hierarchy increases (Aycan, 2004). It is also important to mention that there is no increase in the percentage of women in senior management occurred during the last three decades (Kabasakal et. al 2004). Moreover, the actual part of the female employment in Turkey consists of non-market labor which is not officially considered such as employment in informal sector and market labor such as employment in unpaid agricultural family jobs (Kabasakal et. al., 2004). Statistically, agriculture is still the main sector of employment for women in Turkey today. The majority of working women in Turkey are concentrated in rural areas mostly having an unpaid family job, agriculture or home based production (Davidson et. al. 2004). In rural areas, women participate to work life in agricultural jobs which is the major sector and non-agricultural jobs such as weaving, cotton and nut production (Kabasakal et. al. 2004). The capability of migrated women from rural to urban areas for the agricultural jobs is not compatible with the demand in urban life. That is why, many Turkish women, mostly little or none educated coming from rural areas, work in the informal sector in urban areas without any social security (Tan, Ecevit and Üşür 2000).
In conclusion, women in work life have difficulties not only in senior positions, but also in junior ones. As it is indicated, they cannot obtain equal opportunities with their male counterparts. They should spend much more effort than men in order to get the same level position in work place. In the second article of this subject, possible explanations for this situation will be discussed.
Aycan, Z. 2004 “Key success factors for women in management in Turkey” Applied psychology: An International Review vol 53 (3) pp 453-477
Davidson, M. J. and Burke, R. J. 2004 “Women in management worldwide: Facts, figures and analysis - An overview” Women in Management Worldwide pp 1-15
Fazio, R.H. and Olson, M.A 2003 “Attitudes: Foundations, Functions and Consequences” in The Sage Handbook of Social Psychology Edited by Hogg
Fishbein, M. 1967 “Attitude Theory and Measurement” New York: John Wley & Sons
Garland, H. and Price, K. H. 1977 “Attitudes towards women in management and attributions for their success and failure in a managerial position” Journal of Applied Psychology vol 62 (1) pp 29-33
Kabasakal, H., Aycan, Z. and Karatas F. 2004. “Women in Management in Turkey” In Women in Management Worldwide Edited by Davidson, M. and Burke, R. pp 269-293
Leyens, J. P., Yzerbyt, V. Schadron, G. 1994 “The Concept and Measure of Stereotypes” in Stereotypes and Social Cognition London: Sage Publications
M.A. and Cooper, J. M. A. p.p.139-155 London: Sage Publications
Powell, G. N., Posner, B. Z. and Schmidt, W. H. 1985. “Women: The more committed managers?” Management Review vol. 74 pp 43-45
Tan, E., Ecevit, Y. and Üşür S. 2000 “Kadın Erkek Eşitligine dogru Yürüyüş: Eğitim, Çalışma Yaşamı ve Siyaset” (Approaching Gender Equality: Education, Work Life and Politics) TÜSIAD Yayınları
Wiggins, C. “1991 Female healthcare managers and the glass ceiling” Hospital Topics vol 69 (1) p 8-19
Wirth, L. 2001 “Breaking through the Glass Ceiling” Women in Management, Genevo: International labor office

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