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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/2008

Title: The Underrepresentation of Women in Managerial and Professional Specialty Fields
Authors: Mihirete, Walle Fentie
Advisors: professor Tamire Andualem
Keywords: Institute of Gender Studies
Copyright: Oct-2007
Date Added: 30-Apr-2012
Publisher: AAU
Abstract: Because work defines an individual’s place in society─social standing, lifestyle, prestige, and respect─it is not surprising that many of the battles for gender-role liberation have been fought in the workplace. And the reasons for the battles are many. Historically, women have been kept out of many areas of employment. Sex discrimination, both blatant and subtle, still blocks women’s entry in to management and male-dominated professions. It is still unusual, not only for a woman to be so visibly successful in a maledominated line of work, but also for that woman to receive so much encouragement and support for combining career and family responsibilities. Women have always worked─even in male-dominated fields and management─but rarely has their work achieved the same status and recognition as men’s, and they have frequently been penalized for trying to “have it all.” Even in the face of unemployment, women fare worse than men. This study reveals the underlying structures and forces that account for the underrepresentation of women in managerial and professional specialty occupations using a mix of evidence (a multi-strategy research) including existing statistics, documents, questionnaires, interviews, qualitative content analysis, and observations. It also examines the impact of the male-oriented perspective (like positivism, functionalism, or psychoanalysis) on the research problem. Why are women strikingly underrepresented in managerial and professional specialty jobs? The results indicated that the basic societal institutions─that is, the organization and practices of the economy, the law, politics, religion, media, and the family─have operated in a web of interconnected, mutually reinforcing and interlocked system; and have confined the majority of women to jobs characterized by low wages, little mobility, and limited prestige. To this end, the researcher argues for and utilizes a structural approach─one that examines the ways in which the economy, education, the family, and the polity reflect and influence one another and help reinforce women’s subordination. Thus, while individual characteristics of women─their motivations, aspirations, credentials, qualifications, and abilities─are important, individual-level alterations will effect little basic change in women’s managerial or professional position unless the external structural barriers have restricted women’s opportunities are eradicated.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/2008
Appears in:Thesis - Information Science

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