Molyko, Southwest Region - Buea, Cameroon


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Gender Gaps in Council Personnel Management and The Effects on Womens Effective Participation in Local Governance

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1.1Background to the Study

Proponents of the empowerment and right of women have had a popular interest in matters related to leadership which have transformed organizational leadership from a male dominated setup to one that involves a significantly good number of women. 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 organizations is often seen as  a field of work that involves the setting of goals for both individual and groups of people in that organization, while making sure that the challenges faced by the organization are also met (Cook, 2018). Leaders in organizations 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 marginalized 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 perceive gender as attributes, activities, behavior and roles a society will consider appropriate for men and women. But these roles and

behaviors cause differences in communities that turn to favor only one group of gender over the other in wealth, political appointment, access to quality education and incentives.  Research on gender in organizational 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 marginalizes 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 organizations 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 organization 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 organizations Newport& Wilke realized 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 organization.

These gender gaps in these 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 organizations, 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 organizations 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 behaviors 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 labor 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 organizations 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 organizations (Hoyt & Simon, 2011). Most organization 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 organization.

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 more 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 neighboring 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 organizations and it was rare to find a female CEO of a big company that was established by a woman.

 Gender gaps in labor 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 organizations just because of the sex they possess and females life’s ambition have been weakened by their early childhood socialization in nuclear family that have affected their behaviors 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 organization 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).

 Women in Cameroon are  less frequently found at front line positions in organization 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 organization. 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 realize 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 organizations 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 organizations

1.2 Statement   of the Problem.

During the past decades, organizational   leadership has male oriented with a wide existing gender gap (Grant, 2018). The remarkable absence of women in power and leadership positions in Africa and Cameroon in particular calls for concern especially as the female sex can equally be as productive as the male sex in leadership positions

In Cameroon like in other parts of the world there are ongoing efforts from governments and other stakeholder to discourage gender discrimination in various aspects of life and work. Despite the increasing sensitization and awareness of this ills on development, women’s participation in organizational leadership still seems to be low (Atanga, 2010) as males seem to dominate most leadership positions of their organizations. Councils in Cameroon and the Buea council in particular from observation appears to replicate this gender-based bias in favor of men in its structure. Considering the fact that women have during the last few decades stood up for a fare and equitable share of society’s common wealth, it becomes a problematic in trying to understand why this has not yielded anything significant; despite State provisions to enable women take leading roles in organizational management.

Even though some scholars hold the opinion that women are most often excluded from leadership positions in organizations because of the lack of relevant qualification, I have the suspicion that women exclusion is deliberate to keep the gender suppressed. This is because educational gap between male and female in studies of organizational leadership is not as wide as the occupational gap. That is why this sets out to answer the question of women marginalization ion organizational leadership, especially in the Buea council.

1.3Research Questions

This study is guided by the following research questions

  • What are the general characteristics and trends of gender gap that exist in organizational leadership in Councils in Cameroon?

  • What factors instigates gender gaps in the organization leadership in Councils?

  • What are the implications of gender gaps on organizational and professional growth and women’s development in the Buea Council?

1.4 Objective of the Study

 The study has the following objectives:

  • To evaluate the characteristics and trends of gender gap that exist in organizational leadership in Councils in Cameroon.

  • To investigate the factors instigates gender gaps in the organization leadership in Councils

  • To assess the implications of gender gaps on organizational and professional growth and women’s development in the Buea Council

1.5 Hypotheses of the study

The following hypotheses have been developed to guide this study

  • There is a significant relationship between gender gap and organizational leadership in councils in Cameroon
  • There exist some factors that instigates gender gaps in organizational management in Councils in Cameroon
  • There are significant implications of gender gaps on organizational and professional growth and women’s development in the Buea Council


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