Over the years, women have always received a raw deal in the society that is male dominated. For quite a long time, the boy child was favored over the girl child. An increasing number of women activists are, however, out to see to it that this negative trend is dealt a death blow. To a great extent, their efforts are bearing fruit and now, many leaders are now able to see the strengths in women.
The Globe and Mail presents works by different authors to try and get people to look at women differently. There are concerns on whether the corporate and political arena in Canada is biased towards women and in some cases questions arise as to whether women have to work really hard to succeed in a male dominated world.
Despite the fact that a good number of successful women exist at different ranks in Canada’s business sector, their efforts are not really recognized and they not seen as being well equipped to lead organizations (McNish 1). According to Gillis (1), there is a big concern about the way women are underrepresented at senior management levels within corporate organizations.
According to McFarland (1), the heavy demands that family places on women are to blame for bringing an end to careers of most women. While working in Ontario as deputy minister of executive resources, Ms. Pat Jacobsen almost resigned when she gave birth to a baby girl in 1984 (McFarland 1).
Previously, it was not possible to come by women with children in management. As pointed out by McFarland, it was quite a big challenge for Ms. Jacobsen to balance between work and taking care of the baby and the reason behind her near departure from employment (McFarland 1). She notes that there were no proper support systems that could allow women to effectively juggle between work and family.
In the case of Ms. Jacobsen, she managed to survive thanks to the great support she received from her superior. With her superior’s permission, she was able to work part time for two years despite the fact that her job was quite demanding. She is strongly convinced that the women in the earlier generations had to pay a big price to make it with little or no support (McFarland 1). Even so, Ms. Jacobsen feels guilty that she never really got to spend enough time with her daughter during her early days (McFarland 1).
For many years, there have been concerns regarding the capability of women in high positions of power. According to McNish & McFarland (1), a big population of men strongly believes that women are not yet ready for top leadership in organizations. One will therefore only find a small percentage of women in top Canadian jobs.
The situation is not different in Canada’s political arena as women constitute only 22% of the total number of the country’s members of parliament (McNish & McFarland 1). A study by Galloway revealed that even though the government had made efforts to reserve several federal seats for women, the challenge was implementation. Many alleged that the government lacked the necessary commitment (Galloway 1).
According to Grant (1) Canada is ranked at position twenty globally when it comes to gender equality with huge salary differences between men and women. Canada is, however, said to have made remarkable improvement over the previous years (Grant 1). Although women have been reported to complain about this imbalance, nothing much has changed. McNish and McFarland also pointed out that there are many professional female employees stuck in middle level management with no promising future (1).
Despite the number of women employees being quite high in the Canadian banking sector, no female employee has ever been given the opportunity to serve at the highest level in any bank (McNish & McFarland 1). Ed Clark, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Toronto Dominion Bank, confessed that although he was sure that a woman will head a bank at some point, it was not meant to be any where in the near future (McNish & McFarland 1).
This was quite a statement, especially coming from a man who had women promotion as a priority. The situation about women in top leadership is so bad that Lorraine Mitchelmore, a female president of an oil company had to be identified as Mr. Mitchelmore on the media (McNish & McFarland 1).
According to certain people, women are not ambitious enough to fight their way to the top. Other hindrances are a lack of good mentorship and tight work schedules that make it tough for them to work and take care of family (McNish & McFarland 2). Another school of thought argues that the task of getting qualified women is a nightmare and there are always claims that it is not easy to find enough qualified women for the top jobs (Galloway 1).
Although men have for a very long time dominated top leadership in organizations globally, there is clear evidence that certain organizations entrusted to women leadership have excelled greatly and this has proved that women are very talented leaders (McNish & McFarland 1).
According to McNish (1), the poor attitude towards women and leadership has contributed to some women opting for employment with foreign companies so as to realize their dreams of becoming Chief Executive Officers. A retired chair of Xerox Corp argued that it is impossible for an organization that is male dominated to have a diverse and inclusive kind of a labor force that is necessary to forcefully advance the organization’s agenda (McNish 1).
Over the years the false impression among men that women are incapable of offering great leadership has slowly faded with many people now realizing that women have a great potential to provide effective leadership and even succeed where men have failed. With the number of women with university degrees increasing, and constituting nearly half of the entire Canadian work force senior leaders are waking up to the fact that they need to tap into the great qualities that women have (Gillis 1).
Gillis further explains that when an organization turns its focus to dealing with gender inequality, it is not just about promoting women who are less qualified (1). It has to do with addressing existing barriers and creating a level play ground where both men and women are presented with equal opportunities to excel in their respective careers. Every employee must have that equal chance to rise up to the top most position in the organization (Gillis 1).
Advocates of women rights are convinced that an organization will be doing a big injustice if it was to only depend on male employees while over looking the talented female work force. According to Gillis, having a good mix of men and women on a decision making table is quite healthy for the business and must be encouraged (Gillis 1).
Galloway, Gloria. Ruling Tories leave gender out of the hiring equation. Toronto: The Globe and Mail Inc. 2011. Web. 13th August, 2011. < http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/women-in-power/ruling-tories-leave-gender-out-of-the-hiring-equation/article1754337/>.
Gillis, Deborah. More women in the workplace is good for business. Toronto: The Globe and Mail Inc. 2011. Web. 13th August, 2011. < http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/women-in-power/more-women-in-the-workplace-is-good-for-business/article1754106/>.
Grant, Tavia. Canada lags in gender gap ranking. Toronto: The Globe and Mail Inc. 2011. Web. 13th August, 2011. < http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/women-in-power/canada-lags-in-gender-gap-ranking/article1752996/>.
McFarland, Janet. How a stellar career was almost cut short by a baby. Toronto: The Globe and Mail Inc. 2011. Web. 13th August, 2011.
McNish, Jacquie. Canadian corporate female stars strike career gold with foreign employers. Toronto: The Globe and Mail Inc. 2011. Web. 13th August, 2011. < http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/women-in-power/part-two-canadian-corporate-female-stars-strike-career-gold-with-foreign-employers/article1751858/>.
McNish, Jacquie & McFarland, Janet. Why the executive suite is the final frontier for women. Toronto: The Globe and Mail Inc. 2011. Web. 13th August, 2011. < http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/women-in-power/why-the-executive-suite-is-the-final-frontier-for-women/article1749955/>.