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Woman in Pacific

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Shahil27
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WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP: THE STATE OF PLAY Deborah L. Rhode and Barbara Kellerman July, 2006 c

Some four decades ago, Betty Friedan helped launch the contemporary women’s movement with her publication of The Feminine Mystique. The book famously identified a “problem that has no name”: American women’s confinement to a separate and unequal domestic sphere. One factor contributing to women’s unequal status was their absence from leadership positions. Another aspect of the problem was the lack of cultural consensus that this absence was itself part of the problem, and a matter of social concern. Over the last several decades, we have named that leadership problem and created a cottage industry to address it. Women’s underrepresentation in positions of power generates an increasing array of committees, commissions, consultants, centers, conferences, and commentary such as the essays that follow. Yet while we have made considerable progress in understanding the problem, we remain a dispiriting distance from solving it.
I. The Underrepresentation of Women in Leadership Roles The facts are frustratingly familiar. Despite almost a half-century of equal opportunity legislation, women’s opportunities for leadership are anything but equal. To be sure, the situation has improved significantly over this period, particularly if leadership is broadly defined to include informal as well as formal exercises of authority.[i] By that definition, the percentage of women in leadership roles is substantial and is increasing dramatically. That is particularly true in management and the professions, where women now occupy roughly half of all jobs.[ii] Women also hold positions of power in a wide range of governmental, non-profit, and religious contexts,.[iii] But they are still grossly underrepresented at the top and overrepresented at the bottom of the most...

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