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Gender inequality raises concerns about female leadership at work

Is the modern working woman as ambitious as her male counterpart? Recent studies indicate the answer may be no. Citing reasons such as in-house inequality, family-work schedules and general bias, many believe that women simply do not figure in key leadership roles as men do. Are women intrinsically motivated to provide more time to family, and less time to climbing the corporate ladder? Many experts say yes.

While experts agree that women have the desire to lead and to supervise others, the question may be if there is a lack of psychosocial rewards that focus on the impact they make on the job and how independent they are. In studies published in Sociological Perspectives, two patterns were determined. The first confirms that in general woman have less power than men at the workplace. The second pattern involves job authority bringing considerably less earning power to women.

Additional factors point to women's perceptions of whether they feel fulfilled with their power on the job and how this compares with their male counterparts. In a 2011 study of the workforce in Canada, men were more likely to believe they had influence and independence on the job. These factors came into play regardless of variables like income, work hours, and marital and stress issues. Men tended to feel more fulfilled at work, while women believed their success at work went hand-in-hand with other life accomplishments. While men seem to be more motivated by intrinsic values, women are reportedly led by both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards.

Studies also show that it matters to men what their coworkers say about them. This is more about the culture that expects them to assume provider roles and be successful. Women, in turn, may experience job success as a symbol and not as important as their roles in family relationships. Logically women who feel fewer intrinsic satisfactions on the job are less likely to stay there. Underlying all this is the possible perception that women achieve what they do based on other factors than their job qualifications.

Gender discrimination is a serious matter on the job. If you or someone you know have experienced workplace discrimination of any kind, it is wise to consult an expert in the field in order to protect yourself under the legal parameters of the law.

Source: newyorktimes.com, "Leadership roles in workplace: Are women not "ambitious enough"?" Sheryl Sandberg, Aug. 11, 2013

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