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Louise Ripley

Gender Issues in Management
The Glass Ceiling

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men and women rising through a glass ceiling

Twenty-five years ago, women made up just 15% of middle management; now it is around 45%, which isn't bad. But the percentage of women in top management 20 years ago was 1% and now it is around 2%.

Catalyst Canada, an organization dedicated to women's advancement in business, is cited in a Globe and Mail "Careers" section in May of 2005 as reporting that "the glass ceiling is still tough to crack... At the pace of change we are reporting...women's overall representation in Corporate Canada will not reach 25% until 2025. It will not reach parity until close to the end of the century."

Any good CEO should be appalled at the idea of overlooking as huge a group of qualified business leaders as women make up. Reasons of equity demand it, but so does common sense. Says Catalyst Canada president Susan Black, "Women influence a huge number of consumer decisions and they generate their own income that is in the billions of dollars." George Cooke, CEO of Dominion of Canada General Insurance recognizes that the attitude still exists that women need more time for families, but he runs a business in which the family life of all employees is taken into consideration, where it doesn't matter when or where the work gets done as long as it gets done and where if someone's child is ill, a meeting gets rescheduled. Many of his younger male executives are "hands-on dads," a win-win situation for everyone, but the George Cookes of the world are sadly very few.

Women in the Executive Ranks (from The Globe and Mail May 2005)

14.4% 95 61.4% 19
Percentage of women who hold corporate officer positions in 500 of Canada's largest companies, up from 14% in 2002 Number of companies among the 500 that have 25% or more female corporate officers, up from 87 companies in 2002 Percentage of those companies that have at least one female corporate officer, down from 62.3% in 2002 Number of women who lead these companies, up from 13 women in 2002
waving hand Exercise
Glass Ceiling Stats
What do these statistics tell you about women in officer positions in corporations? (i.e.: put these statistics into plain English). How do you feel about what you see here?
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Companies serious about changing these statistics must show "explicit leadership commitment," according to Rose M. Patten, Senior Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Strategic Management, BMO Financial Group, quoted in the Globe and Mail. She says that companies need to:

Get the facts out - Bridge the gap between perception and reality about women's abilities, career interests, and commitment
Help employees get ahead - Provide better and clearer information about and access to job options and career enhancing opportunities
Reduce the stress - Implement policies to formally support women and men in balancing their multiple commitments to work, family, education, and community
Make it official - Make managers accountable for ongoing dramatic change toward workplace equity at all levels.

Thanks to Baijul Shukla for sending the article; Baijul is a former student from this class and he is one of the few students to earn an A+ in any course I have taught. He now works for the Canadian Automobile Association, employing the excellent writing skills that helped him earn his high marks.

The very way that men and women in management are perceived in everyday activities differs and contributes to the glass ceiling that women aspiring to upper management positions encounter. This meant-to-be-humourous but all too true piece was written in 1980, but it hasn't changed much since: 
From Paths to Power by Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D.
1980 Addison Wesley Publishing Company.
man at office desk woman at office desk

The family picture is on HIS desk:
Ah, a solid, responsible family man.

The family picture is on HER desk:
Hmm, her family comes before her career.
HIS desk is cluttered:
He’s obviously a hard worker and a busy man.
HER desk is cluttered:
She’s obviously a disorganized scatterbrain.
HE’s talking with co-workers:
He must be discussing the latest deal.
SHE’s talking with co-workers:
She must be gossiping.
HE’s not at his desk:
He must be at a meeting.
SHE’s not at her desk:
She must be out shopping.
HE’s having lunch with the boss:
He’s on his way up.
SHE’s having lunch with the boss:
They must be having an affair
The boss criticized HIM:
He’ll improve his performance.
The boss criticized HER:
She’ll be very upset.
HE got an unfair deal:
Did he get angry?
SHE got an unfair deal:
Did she cry?
HE’s getting married:
He’ll get more settled.
SHE’s getting married:
She’ll get pregnant and leave.
HE’s having a baby:
He’ll need a raise.
SHE’s having a baby:
She’ll cost the company money in maternity benefits.
HE’s going on a business trip:
It’s good for his career.
SHE’s going on a business trip:
What does her husband say?
HE’s leaving for a better job:
He recognizes a good opportunity.
SHE’s leaving for a better job:
Women are undependable.
waving hand Exercise
Put some life into these small sentences and give some specific examples from a workplace of where you may have seen these things happening.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Sheryl Sandberg's Book Lean In

waving hand Exercise
Sandberg Glass Ceiling
How does Sheryl Sandbert's book Lean In help you further understand the topic of this unit?
Post your answer in the Moodle  Discussion Group.


The Most-Often-Asked Money Question

The answer to the single most-often asked question by students about Money:

If asked in a job interview what salary you want, what do you say?

Thirty years ago when I was job hunting, the advice was to never allow yourself to be pushed into naming a figure. The advice is the same today. An article in the Globe and Mail, April 17, 2006, Business Section, p. B2, says the right answer, according to Jeff Abram of Search West, is: "I'm willing to consider your strongest offer." He says that this "keeps you from appearing greedy by suggesting too high a salary or cutting yourself out of some extra money by being too low."

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AP/ADMS/WMST3120 3.0 Gender Issues in Management
York University, Toronto
M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.