SHE has an excellent academic career; she is smart, competent and holds all the qualities to provide evidence just right to be at the top of her professional ladder. However, she is a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law and in addition, a daughter. She can not ignore her responsibility as a mother as her children need her most. Consequently she is compromising her responsibility with her career. This is a recognisable scenario seen among both educated and uneducated women. The burdens of double roles often make women of the 21st century frustrated.
The double burden of “work and home” is starting to pestilence women now more than ever. Women are believed to be letting down their company by getting pregnant because they cannot dedicate all of themselves to the corporation if they have child, which requires a lot of responsibility. Women are forced to trade their babies or their dreams of having a family for their briefcase, so women have to give more to a company than they give to themselves. These women are working their regular eight-hour job and then have to do extended work at home for their family, which is equivalent to working overtime. Society expects women to take care of their family and corporate expects women to be work-productive.
However, in Bangladeshi society where women struggle to find out a platform for themselves in a situation of male dominance, there are only few women who often try to break the conventional practice. It is acknowledged that giving proper and equal status to women is imperative for healthy development of society. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, in his book — “Development as Freedom” (1999) — argues development as a means of removing discrimination to women and separation of economic from political rights is not possible. Development means empowering women in society. Empowerment ensure creativity and innovation to women.
Barrister Harun ur Rashid, Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva, in one of his articles, says: “Women are discriminated in both developed and developing countries are not treated equally. For example, in industrialised countries, women still get less pay in most private sectors.” In the corporate world, women face “glass ceilings or barriers” to rise to the top. Most women do not get jobs when they are between 35 and 40 years of age. For example, in some airlines, they only recruit young airhostesses, while men stewards can be of any age.
During the past decade, the environment for multinational corporations has been quite volatile, with numerous challenges for the firms operating in this arena. However, throughout this period there have emerged a number of executive leaders and they are recognised for their contributions to organisational excellence and leadership, despite the environmental fluctuations. But invariably even few years back women power was not so welcomed to hold & glorify the top positions of different corporate houses. The women were thought to fit only for teaching or similar job types. Several myths were there and so women employees used to face barriers while climbing up the corporate ladder. But time and again, women power has proved them, succeeded over those imposed barriers and made major contribution towards organisational excellence.
The question arises now, what should be the ideal professions for women? Will that be only limited between teaching, free business or human jobs? It is easy to write women off in the corporate world because of the trend about male domination. Women are looked at as being delicate and inferior beings, rather than equal beings capable of accomplishing any and everything a man can. Men still represent the greater proportion of the corporate world; there are still more male Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) than female CEOs. Currently in America men are earning, on average, ninety thousand dollars and women are earning, on average, fifty five thousand dollars. In Bangladesh, the position of women can be understood.
Women are competing more now than ever in the corporate world, and are finally getting a voice their. Women are being promoted to managerial positions at higher numbers. A big part of the reason why women are not getting respected in corporate world is because they are leaving. Nobody really looked into the reasons why women are leaving; they just assumed that women could not handle the pressure of corporate world. Women are leaving the corporate world because they are starting their own businesses; they are finding the entrepreneurial world more reassuring and more uplifting. The real reason why women are leaving corporate businesses is because of the double burden in two aspects of life. The aspect of the double burden is that women have to joggle their job and also their responsibility to the home. Women feel that they have to participate in their household works and in the long run that is more important than moving up the corporate ladder.
In a new university, it has been found through a study that profits are likely to rise under a female management team because women are more intuitive and can better suppress negative emotions. The study, conducted by the Centre for Neuro Psychology at Melbourne’s Swinburne University, found women who had higher emotional intelligence and intuition were more likely to display good leadership traits. Emotional intelligence was defined as the ability to identify and manage emotions and includes suppressing negative emotions like frustration and fostering positive emotions. PhD student Luke Downey who authored the study said women generally had a higher emotional intelligence and intuition than men, making them more likely to be good managers. “It would give them some advantage over male managers,” Mr. Downey said.
The study looked at 176 women in management positions around Australia and divided up leadership into three types: transformational, laissez-faire and transactional. Transformational leaders were best able to articulate a clear vision for the future and could better control their feelings and understand the emotions of others. Leaders of this type were likely to have happier staff and give them individualised attention, Mr. Downey said. “Generally if you have happy staff and more productive staff, it leads to higher profits,” he said. Laissez-faire leaders had lower emotional intelligence and offered little support to subordinates, while transactional leaders were autocrats who relied on strategies like exchanging work conditions for outcomes.
Men’s rise to leadership is very direct. It is based on strength, aggression and the ability to adapt swiftly to the demands of the economy and technology. This pattern is quite clear in the corporate world. Men already have a natural fit on technology and technical ideas. After all we know that boys show a natural curiosity towards how things work. Indeed, we encourage them and consider this to be masculine. On the other hand, women’s path has been indirect; they have been a step or two behind in keeping up with such demands. They have had to overcome the social and familial demands, problems of access to jobs and education, and finally lack of equal opportunity driven by prejudice. The same decades saw women quickly ascending on the changes in laws which offered them increased education and employment. Keeping ahead of new technology is critical to ensuring further advancement.
As women of the 21st century, they don’t want to get extra favour from the organisations, they now talk about equal rights, and they want to judge their merits. They want the jobs if only they are competent. The perceived notion is women are ruled by heart and not head, their personal life gets priority over professional life. These restrict the species called “women” from being accepted wholeheartedly in any organisation and from getting due recognition for her contribution towards organisational success. Can the qualification of being male and not a female employee of an organisation ensure organisational excellence? If the answer is “no”, then why the corporate world is putting barriers only for its women employee? These days organisations in the way of achieving excellence are working towards removing any sort of discrimination from their work procedure; they believe the role of women worldwide is undergoing a dramatic change. Women today share the platform with men in almost all fields, be it in kitchen or in defense.
Working women are no longer a rarity and are now accepted as an integral part of the working force. The organisation has experienced a steady increase in the number of women employees and this pattern is bound to continue in the future as well. Women have recently begun to join the ranks of managers in large numbers. But women at the top management positions are still a rare species. Globally, they comprise only 10 per cent of senior managers in Fortune 500 companies, less than 4.0 per cent are in the uppermost ranks of the CEO, president, executive vice-president and COO and less than 3.0 per cent of them are top corporate earners. In Bangladesh too, it is no different. May be the situation is worse.
Though statistics elude, if we look around, we will not find even a handful of companies headed by women or women at the rudder of strategic departments. Major roadblocks for women who aspire to achieve and succeed in organisations are social and other constraints imposed upon them by society, the family and women themselves. These constraints are referred to as traditional notions fostered and sustained with preconceived ideas and unsupported evidence, tending to generate guilt in women. But we, the women of Bangladesh, have now started to see a new hope where the whole country is led by women power.
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