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Gender issues in leadership: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Because traditional gender roles emphasized the differences rather than the similarities between men and women, there has been a belief in girl power in school but not in the workplace (Powell, 2011). During the first half of the 20th Century, men were firmly established as dominant in the workplace both in numbers and in positions of authority. During this time, the woman’s role was established as a stay at home mom. The passage of the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote but did very little to change the economic status of women.

During the second half of the 20th Century, changes in the economic roles taken on by both men and women changed. The gap between men and women in the workplace began to get smaller. Postwar changes in the female labor force began to look at women in other roles than staying at home with the family (Powell, 2011). The Women’s Liberation Movement had a major impact on the attitudes of the roles of women and men. In addition, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, or national origin in any employment situation. Sexual harassment became a matter of considerable public discussion and workplace romance became a public issue (Powell, 2011).

Presently, the level of gender segregation remains high in the workplace. In historically male dominated occupations, less than one-third of the workforce is female. Overall, statistics suggest that occupations are still segregated by gender. A gap still remains between the salary of men and the salary of women (Powell, 2011).

Looking forward, traditional gender roles have less to do with economic realities than any other previous time in history. Unfortunately, even when organizations consist of mostly female employees, men still hold most of the top management positions in these organizations.

We have made significant advancements in breaking the glass ceiling that has prevented women to enter in leadership roles in the workplace, but we have much more work to do. In order to fully develop our leadership skills that will be effective in today’s organizations (whether the leader is male or female), we must keep the following in mind:

· Develop your skills

· Build positive relationships with others

· Continue to learn

· Be a mentor

Baggerly-Hinojosa (2010). Are You a 10? The Ten Characteristics of a Servant Leader. USA:Lulu Press.Powell, G. (2011). Women and Men in Management. USA: Sage Publications.

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