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Unformatted text preview: Barriers to womens participation in international management Margaret Linehan Hugh Scullion and James S. Walsh Introduction As more women enter the workforce, their failure to reach the highest management positions has become the cause for considerable research and debate both in their home countries and in international management. Previous studies have established that, throughout Europe, womens advance into senior domestic management positions has been very slow, despite the increasing change in legislation, including the European Unions social protocol, to enforce issues related to equal opportunity such as equal pay and sex discrimination (Davidson and Cooper, 1993; Hammond and Holton, 1991). The number of female managers pursuing international management careers, however, remains considerably lower than those in domestic management. Adler (1993) estimated that only 3 per cent of expatriate managers are women. From the limited research available on female international managers, primarily from North America, a number of explanations have been put forward in attempting to explain the very low proportion of female managers who partake in overseas assignments. European empirical research, however, has not been conducted with senior female international managers, presumably because of their relative scarcity. This paper reports the results of empirical research conducted with 50 senior female international managers in Europe. The aims of the paper are: to contribute to the international human resource management literature by extending the research in two areas, first to senior female managers, and second, to female expatriates based in Europe; to explore the overt and covert barriers which prevent female managers from progressing to senior international management positions; to show how various barriers (such as lack of mentors and lack of networking) reinforce each other; and to highlight the implications of these barriers for international human resource management policies and practices. Method A total of 50 senior female managers were selected for inclusion in this study. The criteria for inclusion were that, first, the The authors Margaret Linehan is based at the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland. Hugh Scullion is a Reader in Human Resource Management, School of Management and Finance, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. James S. Walsh is based at the Department of Management and Marketing, University College, Cork, Ireland. Keywords Women, Management, Mentoring, Networking, Careers, Sex discrimination Abstract From the extant research in international human resource management it is evident that women are not progressing to senior international management positions at comparable rates to their male counterparts. Previous research has estimated that only 3 percent of expatriate managers are women. This paper argues that female international managers have to overcome many...
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2010 for the course ECON econ1010 taught by Professor Margretfinch during the Three '08 term at Griffith.
- Three '08