Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Batswana Female Managers' Career Experiences and Perspectives on Corporate Mobility and Success

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Batswana Female Managers' Career Experiences and Perspectives on Corporate Mobility and Success

Article excerpt

Introduction

Gender equality, '... as measured by comparable decision-making power, equal opportunity for education and advancement, and equal participation and status in all walks of human endeavours' (Lopez-Claros & Zahidi, 2005, p. 2), is still a challenge for most countries, and Botswana is no exception. This disparity is even more apparent in organisations, as women remain under-represented in managerial and leadership positions (Haslam & Ryan, 2008; International Labour Organization, 2004; Meng & Miller, 1995; Shein, 2001; Sümer, 2006), especially the top- most positions such as senior management and chief executive officer (CEO) positions (Grant Thornton, 2012, 2013). The discrepancy is not surprising because whilst the actual numbers of female managers have almost doubled worldwide (Scott & Brown, 2006), most women tend to get stuck in middle management positions (Cheung & Halpern, 2010). The continuing gender disparity may also be a result of the notion that patriarchy reproduces organisational structures that give dominance to men and traditional male values (Morgan, 2006). Others, such as Sümer (2006), have described the current status as the most direct evidence of the differential treatment of men and women in the world of work.

The extent of the unbalanced representation of men and women in certain professions and in decision-making positions varies from country to country. Generally, most of the research on gender equality, gender development and gender advancement has concentrated on explaining why women are reluctant to enter certain types of career (e.g. Kelan, 2007), on the challenges experienced by women in leadership and managerial positions (e.g. Eagly & Karau, 2002; Kelan, 2008a, 2008b; Lyness & Thompson, 1997; Sampson & Moore, 2008), on the number of women leading nations (e.g. Davies-Netzley, 1998; UNECA, AU & AfDB, 2008) and on wage gaps (e.g. Agesa, Agesa & Dabalen, 2008; Casale & Posel, 2010; Kolev & Robles, 2010).

Two recent studies by Grant Thornton (2012, 2013) revealed that in 2012, 39% of senior management roles in Botswana were held by women, whilst in 2013, 32% of senior management roles in Botswana were held by women. Whilst the 2013 statistics reveal a drop from the numbers reported in 2012, they are still encouraging as the statistics position the country as one of the top 10 countries with the most women in senior management positions. The same study also revealed that in both years, (i.e. 2012 and 2013), only 3% of the CEO positions in Botswana were held by women, revealing a misalignment between the number of female senior managers and CEOs. Because most Batswana (i.e. the people of Botswana) are employed in the civil service, one shortcoming of the report is that it only presented statistics from listed and privately held business. The statistics presented by Grant Thornton are nonetheless encouraging especially in view of the fact that since the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, the government of Botswana has instituted a policy environment that promotes gender equality (Pheko & Selemogwe, 2008). However, despite the headway made by listed and privately held business, the Grant Thornton findings confirm that Botswana has not yet reached 50% gender parity in wage employment (UNECA et al., 2008). Furthermore, the drop in the number of women in senior management positions between 2012 and 2013 indicates that the country may still experience challenges in reaching the 50% gender parity in wage employment, thereby making research in this area an issue worthy of investigation.

In Botswana, research seems to focus mainly on the impact of socioeconomic challenges and the existing legislation on gender development and gender equality (e.g. Mookodi, n.d., 2005; Rathapo, 2000; UNECA et al., 2008; Women's Affair Department, 1995, 1998) and on wage gaps (e.g. Siphambe & Thokweng-Bakwena, 2001). However, some research findings suggest that societal norms and values might have more impact on an individual's career than the legal framework (Pheko, 2013a, 2013b). …

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