Women at top: Gender diversity in the C-suite

Fazaila Shad

Fazaila Shad

Women rule in Muslim countries is a unique and refreshing idea. If we look back in history, we find the Razia Sultana, Benazir Bhutto, Khalida Zia and others who have managed to walk the corridors of power with pride. In Pakistan, the second most populous Muslim-majority country, Benazir Bhutto was elected twice as the prime minister of the country. But this regal feeling of a women ruler is not translated into the modern corridors of power i.e. the C – Suite.   Empowerment of women in the corporate sector of Pakistan is very important for the economic development. Unfortunately, the participation of women in the economic development of Pakistan is under emphasized in national policy and debates.

In Pakistan, socially constructed norms and values prompt a ‘different lives’ theory for men and women, influencing women’s position in the public arena, and affecting women status in all parts of life. The Federal Bureau of Statistics report of 2016 shows that literacy amongst men is almost twice as high as women i.e. 66.25% for men and 34.75% for women in Pakistan and that employment is nearly four times higher for men i.e. 79% for men versus 21% for women. The main reason is that people usually believe that women are emotional, aggressive, risk averse, less confident and not well-educated and some invisible barriers, which are built by society to keep women in depressed position.

According to international labor organization report, Pakistan ranks last among all countries where the management force is women.A global report shows that Pakistani women still face the world’s worst inequality in access education, health and work. As indicated by the annual Gender Gap Index by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum Pakistan ranked 141 out of 142, second to last in global gender equality.

Gender diversity at the top remains a challenge in Pakistan because of gender inequality. Gender inequality arises from differences in socially constructed gender roles. Gender inequality is often attributed to the dominance of men in positions of power. A few people believe that men need to earn more than women, while other people propose that it is important to bring gender equality in the working environment since this issue is morally or ethically significant.

Thus, it is important to conclude that the issue of gender inequality is a significant problem because it refers to gender ethics. Gender inequality in the workplace has a strong impact on women’s motivation. If women are not motivated to perform their tasks, they act unethically. Second, gender inequality is an important issue because it affects interpersonal relations in the society.  Third, the issue of gender inequality in the workplace is an important issue because it affects the effectiveness of the company’s corporate culture. A corporate culture depends on moral and ethical standards, which disallow any types of segregation of women in the working environment, including lower compensation contrasted with men’s wages, lewd behavior, stereotyping and biases. So gender inequality or imbalance in the work environment is a critical issue which requires sufficient solutions since it prompts untrustworthy segregation of women. When in doubt, woman’s separation impacts their inspiration, prompts poor relations and negatively effecting corporate culture.

Whenever men and women are dealt differently at working environment, it is debatable and deceptive, particularly when they perform the same job, which requires the utilization of similar abilities, information and experience. Though, equality of citizen in 1973 constitution of Pakistan is remarkable in many statutes, the area of gender equality is still vague. If women are working in an organization and they are dealing with top of the firm it will give negative sign to the investors and leads the firm toward decline. It is proved that presence of women in top management shows either negative or neutral result on firm performance.But, it is observed that most of the upper class women with the higher education can reach to managerial positions.

The concept of gender effects societal behaviors and gender identity influences social and personal decisions.There are some conceivable clarifications for the lower number of women at the top level management. The common perception is that Women do not have what it takes to be at the top.It is quite possible that Women do not have the desire to be at the top level management. While research depicts that career interruptions related to motherhood may make it harder for women to advance their careers and compete for top executive jobs.It is also possible that there are structural impediments preventing women from reaching the top level.

Although,corporate commitment to gender diversity is at an all-time high, companies don’t consistently put their commitment to practice, and many employees are not taken on board. Companies can take advance of their efforts to make a compelling case for gender diversity and ensure the hiring, promotions, and reviews that are fair. Companies and government should invest in more employees training. There must be focus on accountability and results.

The presence of women contributes to functional or skill diversity

among the leadership group enabling top management to more effectively monitor the staff performance. If some firms discriminate against talented, hardworking, effective women, then they will be outperformed by rivals that don’t discriminate.

By Fazaila Shad

Fazaila is a freelance writer and holds an MBA degree. Currently, she is working as a research student in the Institute of Management Studies, University of Peshawar. She can be reached at  fazaila.shad@gmail.com

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