The seemingly never-ending battle between the descendants of Mars and Venus has permeated the corporate setting. The workplace has transformed into a fierce arena that directly witnesses the competition between men and women. Who performs better? Who is a better leader? These questions are often encountered within corporate environments. However, based from a critical examination, one cannot help but wonder whether gender readily define and determine the individual’s competence and efficiency. This is most especially true as for the case of relegating leadership and managerial roles.
Despite of strong efforts to eliminate, if not totally, eliminate gender bias, women continues to suffer from discrimination and unequal distribution of power. On a deeper context, this dilemma is triggered not by the apparent lack of talent and skills of women. Moreso, the unequal treatment is attributed to one’s gender or sexual orientation. Discussion Former President Bill Clinton’s statement which places heavy emphasis on having a “new gender of leadership” can be interpreted in several ways. First, the said statement may pertain to the act of reconstructing the gender-based leadership roles in the corporate environment.
As previously mentioned, the work place is highly patriarchal orientation. Having said this, such scenario therefore demands not only gender sensitivity, but more of recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of women employees. Oftentimes, women, despite of their hard work, are frequently neglected and taken for granted. Thus, having a new gender then, equates to providing new perspectives and approaches on how to address gender-related issues such as leadership, for example. Secondly, the statement may also refer to the actual replacement of male leaders.
Clinton’s argument could be also understood as a rallying cry to eventually topple patriarchal hegemony in the corporate setting. But then again, regardless of the various interpretations given to such statement, one thing is clear—gender equality and opportunity should be readily exemplified in the workplace (Davidson & Burke, 2000). Men and women should be given equal chance to pursue career growth and at the same time, showcase their skills and abilities. However, the bitter truth is that women employees continue to struggle and feasible solutions have not been made.
There are different factors that seem to exclude women from the core functions of the workplace. First of all, women are constantly subjected into positions in which they cannot fully participate in decision-making activities. Sound and healthy decision-making skills are strict prerogatives of a competent leader. However, it seems impossible for women to develop such skills since they are denied of the chance and opportunity to put their talents into the test. In addition to that, the patriarchal ethos that prevails in corporate arenas leaves no choice for women but to continuously exert more effort in order to prove their value and worth.
Relatively, the normative leadership traits attributed to women are also one of the reasons behind the lack of opportunity to acquire leadership roles. In many cases, women as leaders, are often questioned and to a certain extent—criticized when it comes to formulating concrete decisions (Hartmann-Tews & Pfister, 2003). Women are perceived to constantly change their minds, which is a proven weakness, most especially in highly critical situations. In addition to that, women as overtly emotional beings are also being challenged since leadership roles heavily demand an authoritative figure.
Also the idea that male leaders, are more likely to take risks, thus, manifesting a strong sense of competence, further subjects women into derogatory positions. But nonetheless, a careful analysis shows that the above-mentioned leadership characteristics of women are highly stereotyped. The truth of the matter is, gender can hardly affect the individual’s management and leadership traits. These two core functions are not innate—rather it is developed and improved via constant exposure to situations that require a pragmatic approach.
Yet, as explained, exposure and career opportunities are often denied from women. Conclusion The call for a new gender in leadership, more than anything else, serves as a challenge to the whole corporate set-up. Everyday, a new breed or generation of efficient leaders and managers shall come into life. However, it is important to note that these commendable leaders are not determined by their gender. Regardless of whether an individual is a man or a woman, the ability to rule and govern are not exclusive to a specific gender.
Being a leader is a right, not a mandated privilege. Therefore, in such a case in which discrimination and inequality may still persist, indeed, former President Clinton is correct; a new gender of leadership must be readily formed and established. However, this gender should be characterized by neutrality and not by socially-constructed terms such as being “male or female. ” References Davidson, M. and Burke, R. (2000). Women in Management. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Hartmann-Tews, I. and Pfister, G. (2003). Sport and Women. London: Routledge
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