Perceptions of Barriers to the Advancement of Women in Management and Leadership Positions in South Africa

By Tsoka, Ge Chiloane | Gender & Behaviour, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Perceptions of Barriers to the Advancement of Women in Management and Leadership Positions in South Africa


Tsoka, Ge Chiloane, Gender & Behaviour


Despite having a South African Constitution that entrenches equal rights, discriminatory practices, structural inequalities, cultural factors, prejudices and traditional patriarchal society are still alive and well in the South African business environment. This article attempts to discuss the reasons why women are not readily promoted in the private and public sectors, as well as other spheres. The study pivots around a number of barriers placed against the advancement of women in leadership positions in the Gauteng, South Africa. The methodology includes a review of literature, interviews, observations, attitudes and perceptions of those sampled. The findings showed that there are many traditional stereotypes that still exist about women in leadership positions. The study concluded that women play a crucial role in leadership positions.

INTRODUCTION AND RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The new political dispensation in South Africa brought with employment equity, national policy framework for women emancipation and gender equality, and affirmative action policies in business. However, the advancement of blacks and women remains a challenge facing management in South Africa and, managers, whether or not they are committed to address this challenge, have to deal with the issue. The policy document on women advancement is a direct attempt by Government to influence and direct the course of events in the labour market today, by introducing measures designed to redress previous imbalances providing adequate protection and advancement of people or groups disadvantaged by unfair discrimination space (Backer 1998:9).

A study of perceptions of women in management is conducted to provide valuable information on what can be done to promote women. This is done because there is a shortage of women in managerial positions (Elizabeth 1996:274) as a result of the structure of South African society, which was traditionally male dominated. The argument of this article lies in the fact that women who aspire to become leaders should be given equal treatment. This means that their applications for any promotion should receive equal attention and consideration, without any prejudice. Alternatively, women who aspire to become leaders should be assessed in the same way as their counterparts. In other words, equal treatment forms the main objective that this article wishes to enhance, if not achieve.

The findings reported in this article are part of a broader research, which was undertaken to explore and clarify some contentious issues surrounding the perceptions of women in leadership positions. This paper focuses only on highlighting the barriers that inhibit the advancement of women in leadership positions. In South Africa women are still dominated and discriminated against and the perception is that they experience a circle of barriers in their quest to advancement into positions of leadership.

Women make up 52% of the total population in South Africa. They make up only 41% of the working population. They constitute 14.7% of all executive managers and only 7.1% of all directors in the country. Of the 3,125 directorship positions held, women hold only 221 positions. There are 11 female chairs of boards out of a total of 364, and only seven female CEOs/MDs compared to 357 males. In Australia, women constitute 44.6% of the total workforce, 8.4% of all directors and 8.8% of all executive. In the United States of America (USA), women constitute 46.1% of the workforce, 13.6% of all directors and 15.7% of all executive managers. In Canada, they constitute 46.5% of the workforce, 11.2% of all directors and 14% of all executive managers (Census, 2005). Nevertheless, the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa has made great strides within a short space of time to advance women towards the achievement of legislated equality between genders, in that just less than a third of the members of parliament are women. Women comprise 40% of national government ministers and deputy ministers, and also the then, Deputy President was a woman. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Perceptions of Barriers to the Advancement of Women in Management and Leadership Positions in South Africa
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.