At The Top Of The Corporate Ladder

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At The Top Of The Corporate Ladder Essay, Research Paper At the top of the Canadian Corporate Ladder Riaz Jogiyat With the turn of the century approaching at lightening speed, the “Old Boys” corporate club remains intact since it first began more than a hundred years ago, during the great expansion of the industrial revolution. It is a club reflective of a society in which men control the center of political and economic power. What has prevented women, in a nation where they represent 51 % of the population and 45 % of the labour force from reaching management and especially, from reaching the executive suite? The answer lies within the “Old Boys” network itself. Its founding members, the male elite capitalists that controlled the means of production during the

period of industrialism. Its teachings, though subtle, absorbed into the main stream of modern Canadian corporate society. As the elitists would say, women are, after all, too fragile for a world that requires a “man’s aggressiveness”. The labour market can be related to the teachings of Plato, although they were written almost two thousand years ago. Plato distinguished between “episteme”, which is well-founded knowledge, and “doxa”, which is opinion. The upper atmosphere of the modern labour market in a philosophical sense remains influenced by “doxa”. In a generation where women were raised to play with dolls and be housewives, it is not surprising to find the stereotype of inferiority among women. It is exactly this “doxa” of inferiority that defines

present day gender inequality. As ideologies like these are historically passed from one generation to the next, climbing the corporate ladder becomes nearly impossible for women. To reach the pinnacle of corporate success, it takes drive, intelligence and a sense of humor. It also needs, unfortunately, an X and Y chromosome in your gender make-up. Women now constitute almost half of the labour force, and years after legislation promoting employment equality, there still remains areas within the labour market in which women are extremely ill represented. In the 1990’s, like 1900, women are still concentrated in occupations the “Boys Club” pre-determined best suited for them. Some 71% of women in 1991 were employed in just five traditional occupational groups: clerical

(29%), service (17%), sales (10%), nursing (9%), and teaching (6%). There is a rising trend of women progressing in fields outside their traditional roles, but the coveted “high executive” positions amazingly have remained dormant since the dawn of industrialism. Canada now has women running 10 of the top 500 publicly traded companies. This translates into a disappointing 2% of the total field. Ideologies of the past, as it seems, have lingered around the top of the corporate ladder providing that glass-ceiling women can look through but cannot break. To understand this upper echelon of the labour market one must first examine the ideals of the “Boys Club” more closely and its attitudes towards women and their place within the corporate sphere. The rise of Capitalism in

the early eighteenth century gave women a boost in terms of their standing as the inferior gender in society. Women moved away from their typical rural farmlands into major urban centers throughout Canada. Practically all these women were young and single and their future in the labour market was solely based on the employment opportunities capitalism offered them. Capitalism’s key features were the capitalists themselves. Private male individuals, who owned the means of production, and through self-interest, wished to promote an efficient economic market. Though the idea and thoughts of capitalism were around before the 19th century, its ascension into modern society and subsequent success in the global market did not happen until the rise of industrialism. In essence,