UPFRONT Gendered work cultures disadvantage women

It’s still man’s world out there in the corporate jungle and that gender bent is why women are under-represented at management level – according to discussion paper recently released by global recruitment company Hudson.
While Kiwi women fare better than their Aussie counterparts in relation to the pay gap between men and women’s weekly average wages, the study points out that men still dominate managerial jobs by three to one in both countries and women remain clustered in clerical and service areas.
It argues that women don’t make it into the upper echelons in proportion to their workplace participation because the gendered workplace culture favours dominant male values and characteristics. Women are forced into playing the male game and consequently give up their ability to change business culture to reflect more feminine traits.
This situation is reinforced by male networks and male mentoring relationships that exclude women.
It’s not that women aren’t good at networking – just that they tend not to be doing it at the most influential levels.
Australian research has shown that even where women gain more management promotions at faster rate and are given more work merit than male colleagues, they still end up lower in the organisational hierarchy. In other words upward promotion doesn’t necessarily gain them more power or status.
One outcome is that more women are abandoning the boys’ culture to start their own businesses. In Australia, for example, 31 percent of self-employed people are women, up from 20 percent in the mid-1990s.
The paper says any changes to the gendered culture problem have to be driven from the top down, need to embrace diversity and to take into account work-life balance issues.

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