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Title: An examination of Gender Diversity and leadership within senior management positions: New insights from the Bahraini Financial Sectors
Authors: Al-Halwachi, Layla Faisal
Advisors: Mordi, C
Costandi, S
Eldabi, T
Keywords: Diversity management;Challenges facing women in the finance sector;Female leadership at work;Multicultural organisations;Cultural diversity management
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Brunel University London.
Abstract: This study explores the conceptualisation of glass ceiling by Bahraini female managers in their bid to attain senior management position as a career advancement. It assesses their perception of the concept of the glass ceiling, and what coping mechanisms adopted in eliminating barriers and empowering women to attain senior executive positions in the finance sector. The study identifies gender discrimination as a cause that impedes female career progression to senior management levels in the banking industry which originate in multiple environmental levels: organisation barriers (i.e. meso level), societal barriers (i.e. macro level) and individual barriers (i.e. micro level). The study adopts a qualitative approach to uncover the research questions and conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with 37 Bahraini female managers in the banks to extract their lived experiences on barriers that hamper their advancement to senior levels. The study captures barriers common to women within an Arabic-Islamic cultural context and seeks to explore its differences from the barriers experienced by western women in their career. The study found out that women’s career progression is affected by social, religious and cultural dogmas, gender stereotype, individual limitations, and organizational structures. This study finds that patriarchal societal pressures, cultural norms, and religious studies influence glass ceiling experienced by Bahraini women. The findings also revealed the limited ability of women to take decisions that affect their advancement. Furthermore, this study highlights the differences in experiences between the majority of women in Western countries where they have autonomy and freedom as their male counterparts in the society. The societal norms and culture appear to undermine women’s empowerment and result in stress, tension and losing valuable talent within the work milieu. The research also revealed the strive by women under the pressure of organisational, societal and individual barriers and the influence of the religious aspects impeding their career progression. The study has added a new insight by emphasising on the value of empowerment for women as a key to breaking the glass ceiling. The analysis shows barriers are varied by the level of empowerment of women, where empowered women can overcome the barriers they encounter while disenfranchised women believed that the barriers operate to their disadvantage and justification for not attaining senior executive positions by making it stiffer. The study concludes there is a need for the re-evaluation of the foundational rubric of the education system on gender equality at an early stage and empowering women in several aspects. These include building up women's capacity by training, mentorship, and networking, presenting inspiring female role models, temporary measures such as mandatory quota, and raising awareness regarding gender equality and emphasis on revising the educational curriculum at schools.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London.
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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