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This study focused on investigating issues related to Gender Gaps in Organizational Leadership in MTN and Orange Head Offices in Douala. The major objective was to examine the causes and effects of gender gaps in organizational leadership and the implications for the mainstreamed in leadership. The specific objectives include: to assess the general characteristics of gender gaps (inequality in MTN and Orange head offices Leadership; To find out factors responsible for gender gaps in leadership and the implications of these gaps for the mainstreaming of gender in organizational leadership). The stratified random sampling technique was used to select Five hundred respondents in to some four key departments in MTN and Orange (Central Administration, Human Resource, Mobile Financing and Marketing) who were administer the 500 questionnaires required for the study. Data were analysed using descriptive statistic and inferential statistics with the aids of SPSS software. The findings show that though 56.60% female employees of the workers in the organisations it was somehow difficult to find woman occupy key leadership position in the organisation. It was also revealed that amongst the factors leading to the gender gap are women’s reproductive functions like family responsibilities at home which greatly interfere with women jobs. Study shows gender gap at the top of leadership especially makes skillful and competence female employees feel discourage to aspire and occupy leadership position and this may lead to waste of human and other resources. Recommendations have been made to MTN and Orange Cameroon, the government and other stakeholders to promote gender equality in the country and mainstream gender in organizational management. Suggestions have also been made for further studies.





1.1 Background to the Study


Social psychologists have had a popular interest in matters related to leadership which have transformed the field of social psychology to an empirically based understanding of leadership. During its creation, leadership was a call for attention in many disciplines and as the field kept on widening, scientists sustained interest in both leadership and topics that were fundamental in leadership processes (Hoyt & Simon, 2011). Leadership position in organisations is often seen as a field of work that involves the setting of goals for both individual and groups of people in that organisation, while making sure that the challenges faced by the organisation are also met (Cook, 2018). Leaders in organisations often rise to be at the top of administrative and executive positions due to their abilities to manage the present situation while looking toward the future task ahead (SEU, 2018). This position also requires someone that can meet the needs of different kinds of people that are working together towards a goal but this position is mostly filled with one particular sex (men) all round the world and the other sex (female) are underrepresented in such positions.


In the past, leadership position has been dominated by the men, and it is, however, essential for the status of both men and women to be considered in a tridimensional Sustainable Development (SD) approach because of the situation of women in the poor economy and their social status. During the past’s decade, women in Bangladesh, for example, have been marginalised and treated unequally, and their responsibilities were often underestimated to be less important in most societies. SD cannot be achieved due to the lack of women involvement, which makes them to be vulnerable for their poor social and economic positions in the society especially in developing and undeveloped countries (Chowdhury & Dewan, 2014) which have to increase the proportion of women involvement in the development of the nation.


Genders of people are socially contracted differences that exist in communities leading to gender inequality and unequal rights (Georgina, 2014). WHO could see gender as attributes, activities, behavior and roles a society will consider appropriate for men and women. But these roles and behaviours cause differences in communities that turn to favour only one group of gender over the other in wealth, political appointment, access to quality education and incentives.


Research on gender in organisational leadership was greatly ignored in social psychology within the past years due to lack of interest until around the 1970s were issued on gender in leadership began attracting the attention and interest of writers in popular press who started talking about women inherent marginalises in leadership positions (Hoyt, 2010). Also, Arum (2011) carried out a study on whether or not there are sex differences, gender gap in leadership positions in organisations and realized that these differences can be seen from a relationship based or task-based perspective due to the fact that men have primarily held leadership positions and they turn to have those perceptions of them being the most effective leaders.


A recent assessment of public opinion was conducted in America that found that 35% of employees in the organisation will prefer to have a male supervisor than a female one, while 23% choose but a female supervisor and 41% were neutral with no preference during the 90s. But when this same research was conducted within the 20th centuries, 66% of the employee did prefer a male supervisor and only 5% for female as their leader (Newport & Wilke, 2013). This percentage has been relatively steady over the recent years, but after studying the male and female bosses in organisations Newport & Wilke realised that majority of the workers did not prefer one gender over the other because acceptance of women as leaders was still trending upward. Drilling down into the data, it was surprise to notice that 40% of female workers preferred a male leader whereas just 29% of men will prefer a male as their leader which means that most women will not want to be led by a female while most men would not also like to be driven by a male leader in the organisation.


These gender gaps in this nations are as a result of unequal access to opportunities between both gender and gender gaps can be seen in most communities in areas of education, politics, cultures, payment, recruitment and leadership, just to name a few. But most often in organisations, the gender gap is mostly persisting in employee’s payrolls and leadership positions. According to Hennig & Jardim (2009), they assumed that the ability for men and women to carry out responsible jobs in organisations are slightly different even thou, women do possess the appropriate job qualification for the task, but they still remain liable to discrimination.


In Africa, it is important to note that the nuclear family had some tremendous impact on the gender behaviours of children. In regard to the girl child, they are supposed to be submissive, inactive, avoidance of aggression and competition, which discourage them from taking risk and some other qualities our culture consider to be feminine. Based on ILO (2015), Statistics which indicated that, even when both boys and girls in high school have the same college and career aspiration in life, the male sex often receive more parental encouragement to pursue their goals than the girl child. Studies have proved that boys and girls in a high school setting usually have the same career aspiration in life, but the boys receive more parental encouragement to pursue their goals than the girl child.


The world statistics indicates that, women make up just 60.6% of the global population and 46.5% of the labour force but the number of women represented at senior corporate levels is significantly small by assessment making it readily identify the number of women at the top of leadership position in some organisations and political systems such as Chancellor Germany and PepsiCo’s CEO, but closer examinations reveal the real gender gap that still persists in most countries and organisations (Hoyt & Simon, 2011). Most organisation turn to lose talent from a large pool of motivated female which were prohibited from many jobs, due to their sex. That is why the human capital theorists turn out to argue that, such underutilization of resources was disadvantageous and wasteful to the firm’s profitability and competitiveness. Some studies have proven that most humans perceive successful managers to have the characteristics that are uniquely associated with men but which, the actual qualities of a successful manager are a combination of masculine (e.g., self-confidence, initiatives, forcefulness, task orientation) and feminine (e.g., feelings, concern for people and relationships) traits in an organisation.


According to Fensom (2016), he highlighted a wide gender gap that was still persistent in the Asian develop countries and the progress toward economic equality was still slow, with 59% being one of the widest gender gaps in 2008. The top countries who were making everything possible to close these gaps were Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Rwanda and Nicaragua coming 5th and 10th base on the world ranking, topping from developing countries who were globally recorded for their effort despite being from developing countries. They were fast progressing in the empowerment of women in their countries.


According to an EU report in 2012, women make up just 3.4% of president and chairs within the EU, and other parts of the world were also seeing the same trends even though the USA saw a slightly improve figure with 15.7%. Canada and Australia were both at the level of 10% of female board representation. In Asia Pacific region women made up just 6.5% of board members while in North-Africa and the Middle East could have just 3.2%, and in Australia, they could boast of 35.4% of female representation within government board seat making it seems, there is an improvement in women acquiring top leadership position.


It is true that Australia was doing remarkably well in representing women at the top leadership position in the country, but another Asian country that was far better off than any other country in Asia was the Philippines with regard to women status. Based on the Global gender gap report of 2014, Philippines were ranked ninth in the world in terms of gender equality out of the global top 50 countries. Notwithstanding their effort to mainstream gender in their country, they were also rank among the top countries in terms of educational attainment, as well as in the health and survival of women (Daniels, 2017). The proportion of women being in business in this country was remarkable encouraging as compared to the neighbouring countries. The global professional services firm (GPSF) reported in its report that, the Philippines were ranked first for the number of women holding senior management roles in Southeast Asia and women were still able to comprise of an average of 34% of corporate board seat in their nation.


Also in Africa, some countries which have a high percentage of women as principal owners of firms such as Cote d’Ivoire (61.9%), Mali (58%), Angola (56.6%) and Zimbabwe (56.2%). Countries like Madagascar, Botswana, Liberia and the Central African Republic could boast of 50%, but the countries with the lowest percentage of firms owned by a female in their regions are Eritrea at 4.2% and Sierra Leone with 7.9%. Guinea, Lesotho, Mauritius, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Cameroon ranged between 15% to 20% (ILO, 2015).


According to the ILO survey conducted in 2015 on 93969 enterprises in Cameroon did indicated that, while 27% of their employee were women in those enterprises only 10% could have female manager represented at the top of organisations and it was rare to find a female CEO of a large company that was established by a woman.


Gender gaps in labour markets have been persistent over time, significant markets indicators clearly pacify the gender gaps in the market within the past years with women being marginalized from their rights as human and workers in organisations just because of the sex they possess and female’s life’s ambition have been weakened by their early childhood socialization in nuclear family that have affected their behaviours and their way of thinking. Due to this, there have been an overall picture of the gross under-representation of women in employment and leadership profile of public and private organisation in Cameroon and the gender gaps are more pronounced at the top of management than anywhere else. Regarding some tertiary institutions in Africa. The statistics of the female academic head in their universities indicates that 6.1 per cent are employed in Ethiopia, 12.4 per cent in Nigeria, 17.6 per cent in Sierra Leone, 19.7% in Uganda and 20.1% in Cameroon (Georgina. 2014).


A Woman in Cameroon is less frequently found at line positions in organisation but mostly represented in staff position which makes it difficult for them to have the opportunity to demonstrate their own competence and even in female-dominated occupations, men still have more opportunities to be promoted at the top as compared to their female colleagues in the organisation. In regard to the health care sector, the promotion of women at senior management and director of hospitals has been shown to be slower in comparison to the men even though women hold most positions.


However, one doesn’t need to go that far to realised that gender discrimination does exist in the world when it comes to selecting a leader for a particular position. In 2007, during the USA presidential election Gallup polls indicated that 14% of the voters stand against the opinion that the next president of USA should be a woman and 10% of the US population swore not to vote for a qualified woman even doe is nominated by their party. And within the 89% who said they would vote for a woman 14% of them were not comfortable with that decision, which means that the level of trust given to women at top position is drastically small (Yndinda. 2010). With all this discrimination faced on women around the world, the practice of gender mainstreaming (GM) was officially introduced by the European Commission that seeks to rectify gender gaps experience by most organisations and their influence on education, working arrangement, family, career path and fertility (EU, 2010).  The charter of fundamental right in EU also looked at GM as a strategy and method to struggle for equality between men and women in all action while prohibiting gender discrimination within them in the society and in organisations.


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)


During 1979, CEDAW was adopted by the UN general assembly in other to fight for a women-specific treaty. The widespread and systematic discrimination of women in all spheres of life was still a global reality existing in most countries that was alarming and did call for attention. During the tenth anniversary of the Convention in 1989, almost one hundred nations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia had agreed to be bound by its provisions and were therefore obliged to work in accordance with the CEDAW laws put in place (Cuthbert, 2017).


This conversion explicitly acknowledges the general discrimination against women that continue to exist and then emphasised such discriminations that violate the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity. Discrimination against women in society are seen as those exclusions, distinction or restriction made on the basis of sex in political, social, economic and cultural fields which have the effect or purpose of impairing or abolishing the enjoyment, recognition or exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, on the foundation of equality of men and women human right and fundamental freedom (UN, 2009).


For example, looking at a scenario that happens in Peru of which article 168 of the Peruvian civil code provided that only men had the right to represent matrimonial property before the courts. “Mme. Avellanal was married to her husband and owned two apartment houses in Lima, she sews a tenant in court for not paying his rent but the supreme court held that she did not have the right to sew her tenant for overdue rent due to the fact that she was married, so only her husband had that right to represent matrimonial property (UN, 2018). The woman was not satisfied with the court judgment, so she complained to the Human Right Committee, and it was found that Mme. Avellana has been denied equality before the court which constituted discrimination on the ground of sex”.


The aspect of violence against women in Cameroon is a prevalent problem, despite the country legal framework (UN, 2014). Based on the 2004 survey that was carried out in Cameroon, 13% of women had been sexually assaulted meaning, 500,000 women are raped each year in Cameroon as a result of violence. So advocate of human right made recommendation regarding Cameroon civil legislation, penal code, justice and legal centers and provision of victim’s services for the United States review of Cameroon.




1.2 Statement of the problem.


During the past decades in many countries of the world especially the developing ones, organizational leadership is centered on the males (Grant, 2018). Although greater numbers of women are involved in public services and despite the fact that an increasing number of countries are adopting equal opportunity policies to encourage and enable women to join the labour market in the world, in Cameroon just like in many African countries, only a few number of women are growing their profession and occupy leadership or top management positions.


There are improvements in women’s, academic and professional life in the society, but it is still not very easy to find women progress within the labour market and occupy top leadership positions. It seems Gender issues related to the socio-economic differentiations of male and female highlighted, as an important issue in management and organizational studies in 1980s & 1990s are affecting how employees get into leadership in organisational management. Male dominance in organizational leadership seem to prevail with the few number of active women in the different sectors participating in top management in Cameroons organisations (Atanga, 2010).


This is the situation of MTN & Orange Cameroon where trends on all forms of leadership from Director General to different heads of units show, there is the high presence of male leadership in management. Onalaja (2015) reported gender diversity in some telecommunication companies in Africa and reveal that women participation ranges from 10% to 52% and less than one in ten of their senior leaders are women. It is not really clear whether women are being hindered or denied leadership just because they are women or whether men are mostly being preferred for recruitment and administrative or managerial positions in organizations than their female counterparts (Grant (2018).


Sometimes in MTN & Orange head offices Douala and Cameroon as a whole generally very few women possess the necessary qualification or charisma for leadership, but even when and where women have the potentials for leadership, they seem to be prevented by either their sex as women or somehow distracted by their reproductive functions that negatively affect their chances or position of leadership. Also there is the worry on why and how in some MTN and orange head office where there are skilled female workers with potentials of good leadership qualities but not easily appointed or promoted for organizational leadership.


A general observation of women in leadership in MTN & Orange of Douala municipality especially in the head office seem to be showing the trend with very few women as principal’s leaders, head of unit and other leadership position of organisations. What is responsible for this phenomenon and how this may be affecting the productivity of the organization and the career inspiration present and prospective female are the worries of this study (Agassy, 2013).


Gender equality in workplace implies that equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods and facilities for effective work, hiring opportunities, resources, rewards and promotion. This does not mean that men and women become the same, but that their opportunities and professional development should be without gender discrimination that may show up in various dimensions including hiring discrimination, differences in salary and wages, discrimination/differences in promotion to leadership and inequity related to different goods and facilities provided to different gender (Sperandio and Kagoda, 2005).


Around the 20th century till date, the condition of women has been improving in several aspects but never the less, gender gap is in favor of the males with a remarkable absence to access power and leadership position because female managers still represent the minority as compared to the men (Seghieri et al., 2015). The focus is more on women than men because women most of the time are not very present in top leadership positions like men. Although, women make up about 60% of the Cameroon population, there are still an uneven low number of them at senior leadership positions in all areas as presented on the statistic above. Most civil service organisations hiring men into senior management positions has been used as an instrument of control over female employees. Although, this may be treated by a society as legitimate, the practice still continues (Olufemi et al, 2011). In some private organisational cases in Cameroon, there are some distingue task that are mostly delegated to men in the organisation while some to female even when both gender possesses the qualities to perform the task.


Therefore, the purpose of this work is to investigate the indebt causes of gender difference in organisational leadership of MTN & Orange Cameroon Douala Head Offices, what causes the leadership positions in organisations and what can be done to mainstream gender in leadership positions in organisations.




1.3 Objective of the study


The main objective of the study is to investigate the causes and effects of gender gaps in the organizational leadership of MTN and Orange Cameroon head offices in Douala and the implications for the mainstreaming gender in organizational management.


The specific objectives of this study are:


To assess the general characteristics of gender gaps (inequality) in organizational Leadership in MTN and Orange head offices

To investigate the factors responsible for the gender gaps in the organisations leadership of MTN and Orange Cameroon head office.

To assess the implications of these gaps and propose strategies through which gender can be mainstream in these organisations.

1.4 Research questions


The main research question of this study is to investigate gender gaps in the organisational leadership of MTN and Orange head offices in Douala?


Specific research questions:as


What are the general characteristics of gender gap that exist in leadership in MTN and Orange head office?

What are the various factors responsible for the gender gaps in the organisations leadership in MTN and Orange head offices which affect women career development?

What are the implications of gender gaps and propose strategies to be used to mainstream gender in the organisational leadership of MTN and Orange head office?

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