Women in management : a comparative study of the public (education) and private (banking) sectors in Durban.
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This study utilises a multi-conceptual framework to critically and comparatively examine central issues and concerns relating to women in management generally and more specifically in the public and private sectors. The case studies of the banking and education sectors in the Durban area form the focus of this effort. Specifically, the main aspects of the primary research undertaken pertain to: perceptions of employees (both at management and non-managerial staff levels) in the banking and education sectors towards women in management; an appraisal from a management perspective, of existing policies and programmes aimed at eliminating gender discriminatory practices within the private and the public sectors; an examination of the impact that gender equity practices has on human resource planning, especially at the management level, in the private and public sectors; and an assessment of training and support programmes in place to assist women managers. Questionnaire surveys were undertaken with 50 female managers from each sector, 25 male managers from each sector and 25 non-managerial staff from each sector. Therefore, in total 200 interviews were conducted. Additionally, participatory focus group discussions were conducted with groups of both female and male managers and non-managers. The study reveals that women form an integral part of human resources in the banking and education sectors. For several decades women have entered jobs in these sectors and many women have moved up to managerial levels. However, most of these positions remain at lower and middle-management levels. Additionally, there are several problems that women in management experience. The main conclusion is that there are no notable and significant differences between women in management in the public and private sectors. This reinforces ILO's (1998) position that the challenges faced by women in management are ongoing and widespread. Problems facing women in management are complex and multidimensional. There are numerous factors that contribute to existing trends and explain the poor participation and performance of women in leadership positions. No single strategy or initiative can address the challenges faced by women in management and increase women's presence in leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. It is therefore imperative that issues pertaining to women in management be addressed from a range of perspectives: policy aspects, raising awareness of key considerations, improving skills and competencies of women (especially creating conditions and opportunities for development and capacity building), changing institutional and corporate structures and procedures as well as changing attitudes of men and women towards women in management and leadership positions. In essence, it is necessary to create a more enabling, women-friendly environment.