Are your organizational practices creating a Glass Ceiling for women managers?

ABOUT THE RESEARCH|Glass Ceiling for Women and Work Engagement: The Moderating Effect of Marital Status by Sakshi Sharma, Rajbir Kaur published in FIIB Business Review, Vol 8, Issue 2

Despite taking great strides to bring gender equity at workplaces, Glass Ceilings are still the biggest challenge which is not just unfair but also has its ripple effects in organizations says a recent study. 

The factors that cause Glass Ceiling for women  in organizations can be broadly categorized into three factors – personal, social, and organizational according to a recent study on 553 women managers working in three industries of the service sector (viz. Banking, Hospitality and IT) by Sharma & Kaur published in FIIB Business Review

Personal barriers are internal – unwillingness to accept challenges, lack of ambition, less commitment to work, or lack of confidence etc., while societal barriers include the assumed responsibilities of women in Indian society, and organizational barriers are preferences for male leadership, unfair evaluation, lack of career growth, and prejudices that women won’t make good managers etc. 

Regardless of their cause, these barriers don’t just stop women from assuming higher managerial positions, but are also responsible for work disengagement in women. This is how – It is found out in the study that women who feel there is organizational prejudice and glass ceilings at work tend to dissociate themselves from  work. Women mangers reported negative work environemt, gender discrimination, biased company policies, family priorities and work family imbalance as some of the factors which lead them to disengage from work. 

Surprisingly, it was found that personal barriers don’t contribute much to the glass ceiling, rather, out of the three factors, societal and organizational barriers contribute to higher levels of Glass ceiling. As higher levels of glass ceiling in the organization meant lower levels of work engagement for women, the author also tested an interesting hypothesis whether marital status moderates the effect of Glass ceiling on work engagement for women.

 Research model of the study, Source: Sharma & Kaur, 2019

The study revealed that marital status indeed had a moderating effect on work engagement of women. This could be attributed to the fact that women assume far greater responsibilities resulting in family life-work imbalance. Thus, the findings indicate that organizational and societal factors have an impact on work engagement of women which is further exacerbated by their marital status. This further leads to less women taking up managerial positions. 

How can organizations bring more equity?

Recognizing that the problem exists is halfway there to the solution. To resolve this gender imbalance conflict, companies should reevaluate their promotion policies so that women are not left out of senior managerial ranks. There should be open dialogues and sensitizing workshops for both genders to build a greater work understanding and partnerships to create parity and diversity at work. By tackling this, the organizations can also curb practices which create disengagement at work, especially among women.

If you want to find out more about glass ceilings for women and how you can tackle this at your organization: https://tinyurl.com/y3valpla