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Through the Labyrinth

Autor:   •  April 24, 2019  •  Coursework  •  920 Words (4 Pages)  •  20 Views

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According to Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (2019),  A Labyrinth, often called a maze, is defined as a complicated irregular network of paths in which it is difficult to find one's way, and a glass ceiling is defined as an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining upper-level positions. It was not an explicit practice of discriminating against women, but specific policies, practices, and attitudes produced this barrier without intention to discriminate (Lewis, 2019).

While the glass ceiling metaphor was appropriate for women and minorities post 1980’s, we have since seen an impressive shift in the roles that women and minorities play in world of business. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, feminism was on the rise and women’s rights advocates were beginning to enter the public eye. This movement opened the door just enough for women to be allowed into the corporate world, but not enough to allow them to be key players or to progress past the “glass ceiling”. Fast forward to 2019, and women are rising to the top as successful business leaders and top entrepreneurs running top corporations. These women have made it past the glass ceiling, but that does not mean they did not face a complicated irregular network of paths in which it was difficult to find their way. This explains the authors reference to a labyrinth rather than a glass ceiling when describing women’s battle to become top organizational leaders.

Although we have come a long way since the 1980’s, there are still barriers that exist that essentially make a women’s rise to the top more difficult to achieve.  In the podcast Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders (2007), Eagly notes that even in 2019, women face various forms of discrimination due to public perception of a woman’s role in society. It is no secret that women hold more family, household and childcare responsibilities, which often cause women to miss more workhours.  Even when a women’s productivity levels are equal to that of a man working more hours per week, the women may still be perceived as less dedicated to the job because she has worked less hours in the week. This is also the case with women who leave the workforce temporarily to have children.  There is also a perception that leadership is a masculine endeavor and men fit better in leadership roles than women (Eagly, 2007). In other words, not only do women have to overcome their time constraints due to outside obligations, they must also overcome the outside perception of women in leadership roles. Luckily for women, the organizational leadership culture is shifting to recognize good organizational leaders as those who have a good measure of leadership and coaching skills, and not those with masculine bossy tendencies. As the idea of organizational leadership changes, the masculine view of what a leader should be also changes (Eagly, 2007). This shift in the societal perception of what makes a good leader is making it possible for women to rise as extraordinary leaders, but not without persistence, dedication, keen awareness of one’s hurdles, and a carefully laid strategy to battle through the labyrinth and come out victorious.

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