The first barrier blocking women from succeeding is the invisible glass ceiling. The glass ceiling allows women to view higher level jobs that stay just beyond their reach. It is an obstacle in the way of female career advancement especially to the top of large companies. Still today in most large corporations the existing top management are men. Men are more likely to promote other men into top management positions, because they more commonly share their perspective. In Canada, only 20.8% of membership on corporate boards are women. This is slightly better than in the USA where only 19.2% are women. Norway is the best country with 35.5% of members of corporate boards being women.
The second barrier is familial as well as personal health. Women, who are still thought of as the primary caregiver, are more prone to worry about the effects of their jobs on their families. Women who have children are less likely to travel long distances over an extended period of time. They worry about the potential of having to uproot their family if they are offered a job in a different location. A growing cause for women to put their career on the back burners is that once they go back to work a lot of companies do not have proper supports to assist new parents. The first six months after the return from maternity leave are essential in determining a woman's future work path and whether she can juggle both a career and children. Some companies have started programs such as mentor moms, which pairs new moms with other working moms to learn how to juggle. Another way companies help women come back to work is the phase back to work program. The first week back, women only do 50% of their regular workload, then the second week they do 75% and finally the third week they are up to 100%. Because of generally being seen as the primary caregivers, many women opt for non-standard employment types. They work part time, tele-commute and have shift work. The problem with this type of employment is that nonstandard employees do not often get the promotions and benefits that full time employees do. Women also tend to look at how their career choices affect their mental and physical health more than men. If a career choice is damaging to their physical or mental health women are more likely to re-evaluate and change career paths.
The third barrier for women is stereotypes and behaviours. There is a recurring idea among many that women do not have what it takes to be a leader. The social role theory explains how people tend to picture the same characteristics when thinking of a leader. These characteristics just happen to be characteristics of typical male behaviour. Although there are different approaches to management, typical female behaviour tends to undermine confidence in them as leaders. Right now, cultural and societal norms see men as the protector and women as the nurturer. Part of the problem with these stereotypes are that they are unconscious. People don’t often realize that they have these stereotypes. In Sheryl Sandberg book Lean In, she encourages women to ask for want they want in their careers and to be more aggressive, in order to be seen as leadership material. The problem with this advice is that instead of encouraging different types of leadership styles, or leaders with a more feminine take, we are encouraging many women to be more masculine in order to be seen as leadership material. The good news is that like the glass ceiling these stereotypes are slowly being fazed out. People are learning to understand female leadership. Election results recently have shown that people are more comfortable than they ever have been with a women in a position of power.
The CMC is having a bake sale on Friday December 4th. Our annual networking conference will be held on Saturday, February 6 at the Derrick. This is a great opportunity to network with business professionals within your emphasis. The conference is especially recommended for third and fourth year students, but ALL management students are welcome. Keep your eyes peeled for the new apparel designs that will be released the week before classes end for the semester. The CMC is excited to announce that we are providing all 4 options for apparel: cardigans, sweatshirts, pullover and zip up hoodies. Orders will be taken the week of January 18-22 in Tegler, there will also be sample sizes in Tegler so that you be sure to order the right size. If you are a management student who is graduating after this semester but still want apparel please contact the CMC. To get updates on what the CMC is doing keep checking our Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or our web page. If you want to get involved or have any questions, email us at email@example.com. If you have any pressing concerns, the management student representative, Kira Pelletier, has office hours from 8:15am-9:15am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.