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Gender in Organizations

Gender in Organizations

Are Men Allies or Adversaries to Women’s Career Advancement?

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Debra A. Major

Diversifying the workforce is becoming increasingly important, with gender equality being a central feature of overall equality. Men seem to be part of the problem and a necessary part of the solution. This collection ties these themes together in the context of talent management and organizational effectiveness.

Chapter 8: Gendered organizational cultures, structures and processes: the cultural exclusion of women in organizations

Sarah Rutherford

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, organisational behaviour


I was greeted with utmost courtesy and respect when I entered the boardroom for the first time. Most of the men were genuinely very nice people and made an effort to make me feel at home. In reality, the only women who had ever entered that room were the waitresses who served lunch during board meetings. We were all a bit nervous. I felt conscious that I had been allowed into this elite powerful group and felt I had to do everything I could to fit in. Drinks were served and I tried to join in the small talk. I could do it quite wellñI was brought up by a father who was in the City (financial district of London) and had worked there in my school and college holidays and as a graduate and then as a City journalist. I was familiar with the tastes, interests and lifestyles of these men. I wouldnít have been there if I was not. But there was no mistaking, I had crashed an all male party and would have to work hard to gain acceptance. In this chapter I am going to explore the ways in which most organizational cultures develop around the interests of menñthe dominant groupñand in the process may exclude and/or marginalize outsiders. Why women are considered outsiders is outside the scope of this chapter but a fact that we too often take as a given rather than examine whyñand that includes organizations.

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