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1.1  The
context: United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the GCC countries which has
become an important player in the region as it’s the only country in Arab
region that consist of seven underdeveloped states and it was converted to constitutional
federation in 1971 with visionary leadership. UAE area is 83,600 sq.km.
(similar to Scotland area) and shares borders with Saudi Arabia, Oman, and
Qatar (MOF 2017). In 2016 statistics,
Population of UAE reached to 9.2 million in which female population are 2.5
million and the increase in GDP annual growth was 3% (WorldBank Data 2017). UAE is considered as one of the most developed
countries in MENA area in term of reducing gender gap index; in which UAE globally
ranked as 8th of sub-index of similar job’s wage equality and 1st
of sub-index of literacy rate (Goverment.ae
2017). After 2015 elections of Federal National Council, 20 new members
has been selected in which 8 are women. In addition, UAE cabinets is comprising
8 ministers out of 29 ministers which is considered one of the highest rate in Arab
region. The UAE has established the gender balance council to ensure gender
equality and recently the gender inequality index was stablished in UAE
organizations to ensure that working environment has given women equal
opportunities as they are considered key partners with men for the nation’s future
(Goverment.ae 2017). Although all the UAE
government’s effort, organsiations has still informal practices of gender
inequality; which will be highlited in this paper for further imporvment.

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2.    Literature Review

The main purpose of this section is to explore the previous effort
conducting theoretical underpinnings and that aim to demonstrate the reason
behind why women less successful in reaching senior levels in compare to men
and whether gender barriers are main drivers behind that failure. Despite years
of affirmative action legislation to ensure equal opportunity among women and
men, many countries like USA, Australia and UK has a relatively low number of
women working in senior management role (Wood
2008). Even though many researchers studied this topic, there is no
clear explanation justifies why the phenomenon is ongoing.

A discussion will be started with a background on gender
differences and inequality followed by an insight to understand the gender
stereotyping affecting women in workplace and its relation to their career
development. Finally, a glance will be taken over glass ceiling theory and concluding
with other barriers discussed by researchers.

 

2.1  Gender difference and Gender inequality

Gender differences in workplace is perceived to be the main reason
why women are hindered back from reaching senior levels. Many researchers
studied this concept in details; In Maccoby,
E.E. and Jacklin, C.N. (1974), very few sex differences were reported in
social behavior area, temperament and congestion areas. Later researches, such
as the meta-analysis of Hedges, L.V. and Becker,
B.J. (1986), explored variety of characters in sex difference like
social influence. Also, Thoma, S.J. (1986)
showed differences exist in moral development and followed by Franke, G.R et
al. (1997) who also suggested that there is gender difference of perception of
ethical decision making. One of the early explanation was the gender
differences view; which propose that women are not fit to be in a senior role
as she is less likely to hold the required abilities, skills and attribute that
the managerial role needs in the candidate and in which male are more likely to
have (Parker & Fagenson 1994).   Recently, more researchers focused into sex
differences from different perspectives and they examined those into details
such as: leadership personality, management attributes, cognitions and
aggression (Wood 2009).

Eagly, A.H. and Karau, S.J. (1991) had studied same topic in their research: meta-analysis on gender
and leadership style, and they had concluded that leadership style of men and
women did have differences in which women has more democratic and participative
style over men who had showed more autocratic style. Another conclusion in
later study of Eagly, A.H. and Karau, S.J.
(1991); showed that women are emerged as social leaders whereas men are
more frequently emerged as task oriented leaders. In addition to that, they
found that “men’s specialization relative to women in strictly task-oriented
behaviors is one key to their emergence as group leaders” (Eagly & Karau
1991, p.705).

Even though many researchers have tried to proof that men suit
leadership roles more than women, others have claimed that is not necessary
true as many factors do contribute to be a successful leader. Other efforts in
literature shows a different view; it claims that significant sex differences
do not exist and women do own the right leadership skills if other
qualifications are considered such as level in the entity, educational
qualification, and age (Gregory 1990).
Such researches highlights that there is a high possibility that women are not
that different from men on term of skills, attitude, attributes and behavior
and that just contradict with other researchers view of women having poor
presentation in senior management. It drives the understanding that although
the gender difference is not significant, women are perceived not to be
successful in senior management as a sort of gender stereotyping (Wood 2009). From the above literature, the
below proposition can be derived: –

P1: Gender differences has a significant impact on women career
development in UAE.

P2: Gender inequality increases within male dominant originations
in UAE.

2.2  Gender stereotyping at
workplace

Gender related stereotypes is one of the first stereotypes that
gets developed by human; with considering cultural embeddedness gender
stereotyping can turn to be very pernicious as it can clearly limit the fair
choices (Lenton, Bruder & Sedikides 2009). Accordingly, literature has
examined the subject of gender stereotyping from different perspective. It has
insight the relationship between stereotyping nature and how does that affect
women in senior management role. Wilson, F.M. (1995) has explained that gender
stereotyping is when female managers are perceived to be less competent and
effective than male managers and the reason behind that is that male managers
has different managerial method and style than the female ones which make men
more proficient to manage. Many studies have demonstrated in details the
negative result of gender stereotyping in workplace and how it does create
barriers to the women career development, such studies as for Schein, V.E.
(1975,1994,2001,2006) and Schein, V.E & Mueller, R. (1992).  These barriers are not easy to change as its
indirectly affecting the women being successful in managerial level (Harlan
& Weiss 1981).

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