Change into Women in Leadership Status

by | Apr 1, 2019 | Empowerment of Women in `leadership | 0 comments

Women are underrepresented in most high-level positions in organizations. A review of the literature demonstrates that there are seven major influencers that can result in impeding the growth of women in leadership[1].

These impediment factors are individual, family factors, socio-cultural factors, attitudinal factors, organisational factors, global factors. Text refers also to the specific situation in Africa for women in leadership.

Let’s analyse the first two ones this week. We will analyse the following ones in next week articles

·        Individual:

Curiously, when women are assessed as a group the attitudes are assessed as being mostly positive. By contrast when the assessment is done of a lone female leader who is excelling in a predominantly male role is done, it results in a negative assessment and a resulting penalty for success achieved by the female leader (Pieta & Dijksma, 2013). This negative assessment has been attributed to the conflict between competency and likeability and is deemed to be a key drawback for many women leaders who then suffer the double bind of either being .

Other individual factors include the convergence of their biological and professional clocks which seem to be at odds with each other. This results in talented young women leaving the workplace due to the conflict between the fast growing trajectories of motherhood roles which occur when the trajectory of their professional career is growing. This has led to high attrition rates and a talent challenge as cited by Hewlett (2007). The conflict between advancing their families or careers is a significant influencer of leadership growth.

·        Family Factors

Family factors refer to the impact of the woman’s family of origin and the family of creation and the responsibilities and obligations that come with the role of being daughter, wife, mother, aunty, daughter in law and cousin. Africans by their nature tend to be communal and the above roles merge into each other for women. Family influencers have also had a significant impact, for example, African American women are likely to bear the challenge of being the primary caregiver of elderly and sickly extended family members as cited by Hewlett and Luce (2005).

Albeit men shouldering more financial obligations and to some extent (compared to the previous century), slightly more domestic responsibilities in the urban setting of main towns this is not the case in the rural setup. This view deviates from the African setting, as women continue to have the lion’s share of domestic and family responsibilities in both the urban and rural settings in Africa and specifically, Kenya. From child-bearing to child-rearing, women have been described to be working throughout: from the workstation and in the home-front and as such the colloquial term, night shift was coined competent and unlikeable or likeable and incompetent (Rudman & Glick, 2001).

[1] Impediments faced by Female Leaders in Kenya in 2006-2016: A Transformational Leadership Theory Perspective” –Patricia Murugami-Dissertation Submitted to International School of management in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of doctor of business administration- Paris, France October 2017

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