Posted by: Prem Piyush | February 11, 2005

Women Executives and glass ceiling

1. “As a woman, you just aren’t listened to – or trusted – as much as a man would be” quoted Christine Comaford Lynch, a venture capitalist who was a CEO too.
2. Carlyn Fiorina, the chairman and Chief Executive of Hewlett Packard Co. was fired yesterday.

Some years ago, I had read a survey in a magazine, which showed the choice of employees for as their boss. And the outcome was that most of the employees want their boss as a man. Surprisingly the majority of woman respondent too want man as boss rather than woman. Something like glass ceiling is also quoted for the positions held by woman managers on the top.

Here Lynch seems to be dissatisfied with the social/corporate structure, which is male dominated and her efforts for the better business structure might have seen a lot of setbacks.

On the other instance Fiorina’s ability as a businesswoman has been exemplary. She is a school dropout, worked as receptionist, teacher and a saleswoman. Due to her marketing ability she rose to the position of the powerful businesswoman of US. She joined HP in 1999 and later on masterminded merger of HP and Compaq. But her decision was widely criticized including the founders of HP. It has been said that the merger have showed detrimental effect in the brand value of HP along with it’s printer business. The merger to the other top executive might have been seen as foresighted business strategy or her failure to uplift the HP brand value.

Although we can’t generalize the statement but women are found to be good managers at the root level, i.e. family level most of the time. Be it the human resource management or financial management. The logic is not to collect sympathy for them but to find out the natural/unnatural tendencies which prevent them to the top. I would like to quote one thing more here. Indira Gandhi, the former PM of India was said as she was the only man in her cabinet. Although, she was also visualized as a dictator during the period of emergency. This kind of remarks or attitude towards women top most executive does suggest that the day is far away towards gender equality when it comes to administration or executive matter.

Why Indira Gandhi was called that she was the only man in her cabinet? Does that mean that only man has the right to rule the world and the executive ability is attached to a masculine personality?

At the basic form of group or organization, the family when formed let’s see what are the outcomes. The woman’s thought maturity is improved if compared to the male counterpart of the same age. The woman when gets married she seeks a man with higher/equal level of thought/position/standard than her. And as a cause/effect the man seeks the lower/equal level of thought/status/standard than him. Leave the issue of exceptional love among them but this is the trend followed around the world.

Now look at the job profiles which are mostly gender specific. The secretaries are mostly women; the nurses/air hostess can’t not replaced by male counter part. In crude politics they take part in less number (Mrs. Clinton’s future seems an exception). In country like India the woman reservation bill never got passed, I don’t think it need be passed and reservation due to mercy will be again harmful and there is possibility that the less qualified woman politicians will jump into passive politics after anchoring some male counterpart. The advocacy of giving them a chance is again the same thing. Of course leg pulling must not be done.

To each individual there are different levels of administrative abilities. Simply judging them on the basis of sex will be unjust. The are example of Shobhana Bhartiya, Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Parmeshwar Godrej and many more in India and across globe as good managers. There are chances as well as opportunities that the women will raise to the great height with her capacities. But on reaching the top most height her each breath seems to be under scrutiny without any productivity but to make her tense as well as the business. The share prices jumped instantly after firing off Fiorina. But the stereotyped society (which comprises male and female both) will take long time to accept the glass ceiling and to solve the imbroglio over the top which is a result of all the stuff sucked at root level.


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