Relation between the Personal and the Professional
In a large corporation, the manager's office and desk are readily distinguishable from those of the support staff. There is more privacy; the desk is bigger, perhaps surrounded by other comfortable, decorative furnishings. The manager's appearance is also distinct. There is a businesslike manner, a professional quality that connotes seriousness of purpose and the weight of responsibility. Even when support staff share that professional attitude, appearance can serve to set the manager apart. The manager of your mind's eye is in all likelihood dressed in a suit, white, and male.
Although the number of female managers has substantially increased over the past decade, their presence at corporate helms still startles us.1 In 1987 women accounted for 37 percent of corporate managers, but only 2 percent of senior executives.2 Worldwide, "the higher the rank within the organization, the fewer women one finds there."3 Women continue to be unexpected in positions of authority by individuals who deal with them as well as by the corporations that employ them. It is as though everyone pretends that there is nothing extraordinary about a woman manager, but signs to the contrary exist on both the individual and the structural level. That corporations have yet to change shape to accommodate the fact that both adults in a family are likely to be