Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change

By Sue Freeman Joan Mendelson | Go to book overview
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Females in Male Organizations

Women who hold managerial positions in corporations are, for the most part, working in male organizations. The majority of large corporations in this country have been and still are populated and run primarily by men. Female employees are usually clustered in clerical positions where they wield little formal power.1 It is only within the past fifteen years that significant numbers of women have entered the corporate world in other than clerical positions. Forms of social change that have combined to account for this increase include shifting beliefs about "a woman's place," concomitant legislative mandates for affirmative action in employment, and the economic realities of women in droves entering and staying in the work force. Despite their increase in middle-managerial positions, however, females are virtually invisible at the higher executive level and remain a minority in terms of accumulated power within corporations as a whole.2

Though they are not the only females at their workplaces, the women interviewed might have been the first or sole female occupant of a particular managerial position within their corporations.3 Their pioneer or minority experience could be expected to vary considerably with the nature of the organization and work required, the skills and personalities of the people involved, and the resources available for support. Here, as in earlier chapters of this volume, we find variation

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