GENDER GAPS IN ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN CAMEROON'S MTN AND ORANGE TELECOM COMPANIES
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The purpose of this study was to look at Gender Gaps in Organizational Leadership at the MTN and Orange Head Offices in Douala. The primary goal was to investigate the origins and effects of gender gaps in organizational leadership, as well as the implications for gender mainstreaming in leadership.
The particular goals are as follows: examine the broad 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 sample technique was utilized to choose 500 respondents from MTN and Orange’s four core departments (Central Administration, Human Resources, Mobile Financing, and Marketing) to administer the 500 questionnaires required for the study.
Using SPSS software, data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. The data suggest that, despite the fact that there are 56.60 percent female employees in the organizations, it is difficult to find women in critical leadership positions.
According to the study, the gender gap at the top of leadership, in particular, discourages skilled and competent female employees from aspiring to and occupying leadership positions, which may result in a waste of human and other resources.
Recommendations have been made to MTN and Orange Cameroon, as well as the government and other stakeholders, to promote gender equality and mainstream gender in organizational management. Suggestions for additional research have also been given.
1.1 Background to the Study
Social psychologists have a great interest in leadership issues, which has changed the study of social psychology into an empirically grounded knowledge of leadership.
Leadership was a call for attention in many disciplines during its formation, and as the subject expanded, scientists maintained interest in both leadership and topics that were vital in leadership processes (Hoyt & Simon, 2011).
A leadership job in an organization is frequently viewed as a field of work that entails creating goals for both individuals and groups of people within that organization, while also ensuring that the organization’s difficulties are met (Cook, 2018).
Leaders in organizations frequently advance to the top of administrative and executive roles as a result of their ability to manage the current issue while looking ahead to the next assignment (SEU, 2018).
This role likewise demands someone who can fulfill the needs of many types of people who are working together towards a common objective, however this position is mostly occupied by one gender (men) all over the world, while the other gender (female) is underrepresented in such positions.
In the past, men dominated leadership positions; however, because of the predicament of women in the low economy and their social standing, it is critical that the status of both men and women be considered in a tridimensional Sustainable Development (SD) approach.
Women in Bangladesh, for example, have been marginalized and treated unequally during the last decade, and their roles have frequently been overestimated to be less vital in most societies.
SD cannot be achieved due to a lack of women’s involvement, which makes them vulnerable to their poor social and economic positions in society, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries (Chowdhury & Dewan, 2014), which must increase the proportion of women involved in the nation’s development.
People’s genders are socially conditioned disparities in societies that result in gender inequity and unequal rights (Georgina, 2014). Gender could be defined by WHO as the characteristics, activities, behavior, and roles that a society considers appropriate for men and women.
However, these roles and behaviors create disparities in societies that favor one gender over the other in terms of income, political appointment, access to quality education, and incentives.
Gender research in organizational leadership has been largely ignored in social psychology in recent years due to a lack of interest, until around the 1970s when reports on gender in leadership began attracting the attention and interest of writers in popular press who began discussing women’s inherent marginalization in leadership positions (Hoyt, 2010).
Also, Arum (2011) conducted a study to determine whether or not there are sex differences, gender gaps in leadership positions in organizations, and discovered 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 have those perceptions of being the most effective leaders.
A recent survey of public opinion in the United States discovered that 35 percent of employees prefer a male supervisor over a female one, while 23 percent prefer a female supervisor and 41 percent were neutral with no preference during the 1990s.
However, when the same study was conducted in the twentieth century, 66 percent of employees preferred a male supervisor and only 5% preferred a female leader (Newport & Wilke, 2013).
This percentage has been relatively stable in recent years, but after researching male and female bosses in organizations, Newport and Wilke discovered that the majority of workers did not favor one gender over the other because acceptance of women as leaders was still on the rise.
Drilling down into the data, it was surprising to discover that 40% of female workers preferred a male leader, whereas only 29% of men preferred a male as their leader, implying that most women do not want to be led by a female and most men do not want to be driven by a male leader in the organization.
Gender disparities in this country are the result of unequal access to opportunities for both genders, and gender disparities can be evident in most communities in sectors like as education, politics, cultures, wages, recruiting, and leadership, to name a few.
However, in most organizations, the gender gap persists in employee payrolls and leadership roles. According to Hennig and Jardim (2009), they considered that the ability of men and women to perform responsible duties in organizations is slightly different, even when women possess the proper employment qualification for the task, they are still subject to discrimination.
It is vital to remember that in Africa, the nuclear family had a significant impact on children’s gender behaviors. In terms of the girl kid, she is expected to be meek, inert, avoidance of hostility and competition, which discourages her from taking risks, and other attributes that our culture considers feminine.
According to ILO (2015), even though both boys and girls in high school have the same college and job ambitions in life, the male sex often receives more parental encouragement to follow 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.
According to world statistics, women account for only 60.6 percent of the global population and 46.5 percent of the labor force, but the number of women represented at senior corporate levels is significantly low, making it easy to identify the number of women at the top of leadership positions in some organizations and political systems, such as Chancellor Germany and PepsiCo’s CEO, but closer examinations reveal the true gender gap that still exists (Hoyt & Simon, 2011).
Most organizations lose potential from a big pool of enthusiastic females who were barred from various occupations due to their gender. As a result, human capital theorists claim that such underutilization of resources is detrimental to the firm’s profitability and competitiveness.
According to some studies, most people perceive successful managers to have characteristics that are uniquely associated with men, but the actual qualities of a successful manager are a combination of masculine (e.g., self-confidence, initiative, forcefulness, task orientation) and feminine (e.g., compassion).
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:
- 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?
GENDER GAPS IN ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP, GENDER GAPS IN ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP, GENDER GAPS IN ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP