Powell addresses a number of stereotypes and one of them is that women lack male characteristics, which are much appreciated in management. They are less aggressive and more compassionate, which make them not as valuable as men in managerial positions. Even though female leadership becomes more and more common in the world, women still have to prove that their really deserve to have those positions. Moreover, they have to cope with various attitudes concerning their behavior and decisions. Most of them are quite different from traditionally male, ambitious, self-confident, straightforward managers cultivated in the world.
They are perceived as to be milder more compassionate, less solid in their opinions, weaker as personalities. Even though I do approve the increase of women in business and management, reading this book it has become clear to me that in some way my opinions and attitudes are affected by this old and very widespread stereotype about female and male roles at work. This stereotype strongly influences my perception of diversity at work because it some way it shows that men are better at decision-making, planning, negotiations and management at all. Women receive the role of reformers, support and other roles, which are to follow someone at work.
This stereotype also sends me back to the way of perceiving women as being weaker than men. Influenced by this stereotype, they are perceived as having less power to influence other people, control them. Also, there are seen as less respected that their male colleagues. Of course, in some cases when I know the background of a person I can assess him or her without reference to this stereotype, but when it comes to generalization, especially when I hear about misfortunes of the company, for me it is much better to blame management and refer to gender than to estimate the failure as coincidence.
I am not poisoned by this stereotype and in most of the cases I catch myself thinking in this wrong way, but sometimes such thoughts still appear and I cannot remove them from my mind completely. This perception of females was formed under the classical thought that women are weaker than men. This thought is still common because most of world societies are patriarchal. I have formed my perception of gender based on my family. There is a clear gender stratification of mother’s work and father’s work. Mother was more likely to look after kids, cook and do all other things women usually did.
Father did different male things like repairing the car, maintaining something in the house etc. In fact, I perceived mother’s work to be easier that father’s work and it made an impression and constant thoughts that mother could not do the same things my father did. This way of thinking is extremely difficult to overcome because it appeared when I was a child. When I was born, people used to think and behave in a bit different way they do now. Today parents tend to share their work around the house, pay equal attention to their children and participate in their upbringing equally.
When I was a child, it was a common thing to look at everything through gendered prism. In this way, it is not surprising that I think in this way. Though, I think that this stereotype is dying in our society today. In order to reinforce my thoughts and perceptions, I can encounter several examples. First of all, it is the success of Apple. I cannot imagine any women who can organize the same company and become the same popular. I attribute most of the success of the company to Steve Jobs and his managerial skills. Other successful corporations like Google or Microsoft are founded and managed by men, which is not a surprise for me.
However, recently I have found out that HTC founder and CEO is female, and that was a really great surprise for me. It is not a secret that the number of women obtaining top managerial positions is increasing day by day; roles of the best of the best managers are associated with male managing styles. In the world of technology most companies belong to men and the achievement of CEO if HTC achievement challenges my perception of women in business. The second thing is that there have been no female presidents in the history of the United States.
People tend to rely on men more than on women. Mrs. Clinton wanted to change the situation but failed. It shows that most people still count on their stereotypical perception of females more than on objective reality, which clearly states that women already can do something to prove their ability to manage something starting from their own company to a huge business or the whole country. People do advocate that men and women have the same opportunities today, but, overall, there are many stereotypes, which work against women and cannot be removed at once.
There are some world countries, where presidents are female, but they create a minority out of all world countries. These facts show that women still need to prove that they can achieve the same success because of societal pre-attitude to their abilities, performance and ideas. Biased attitude to gender at work is experienced by every person in the United States. In my life, I had many examples of biased attitude to women as well as men. For instance, once we were asked to move to the conference hall for meeting and there were not enough chairs for all of us to sit.
It was clear that male employees were asked to bring more chairs because they were male. To add to the point, the stereotype “male equals strong” was not common at that case because most of female employees were into sports as outrageous followers of healthy lifestyle. The opposite things happened when all employees, as a part of team-building, decided to watch the movie after work. Everything was fine, but female employees were asked to prepare some snacks (order a delivery) because they knew better what was good for their company. These are minor things but they take place almost everywhere.
People still follow old gender stratification model typical for patriarchal societies, where men get everything and women hide in the shadow of their success. America is moving to the acceptance of a new neutral model of gender stratification where both genders deserve equal treatment. Yet, people cannot forget their long history and change their attitudes practices by millenniums in 10 years. Even I, as a representative of a younger generation, cannot get rid of all the old stereotypes about gender at work. References: Powell, G. (2010). Women and Men in Management, 4th Edition By N. W.