Glass ceiling : illusion or reality : an investigation into the banking sector of South Africa

Albertyn, Liezel (2003-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study was carried out in an effort to determine whether the phenomenon of the socalled 'glass-ceiling effect' is prevalent in the South African banking industry. The major questions asked were whether there are still barriers preventing women from reaching executive management levels in the banking industry and what the main barriers facing these women are. The research method used was that of content analysis. The purpose of the research was to discover the first-hand experiences of the women in the banking industry in South Africa. The aim of the study was not to test hypothesis testing, but an analysis of the experiences of a sample of women in senior management positions within the banking industry. A questionnaire was distributed to six women in senior management positions at four of South Africa's largest banking groups. With the assistance of each banking group's human resources manager, an 83% response rate was achieved. In total, 20 completed questionnaires were received, which served as the sample for this study. Implications of the findings are discussed and the study concludes that although transformation in the country has raised awareness, there is nevertheless gender inequality in companies and progress towards change in the banking sector has been very slow. Career-oriented support structures are being offered to women, but for women with family responsibilities there are very limited, if any, family-support structures. The sample of women identified self-confidence; assertiveness, ambition and a careeroriented mindset as important characteristics for achieving success at managerial level in the banking industry. These women are equipping themselves with the right skills, degrees, and courses and are gaining experience every day, thus making themselves viable candidates for breaking the glass ceiling. Being a woman is not a barrier in itself as it was in years gone by and legislation now provides for the equal treatment of all races and gender. The current culture in the South African banking sector, which is a historic legacy of domination by men and discrimination in the past, seems to be a rnalor barrier. Currently, the focus on achieving racial equity overshadows the importance of attaining gender equity, mainly because of the government's strict requirements of companies in this regard. Taking into consideration the history of South Africa, the majority of the women included in the sample feel it is appropriate for the attainment of racial equity to be addressed first. Most of the women in this sample have considered starting up their own business as an alternative to corporate life, but feel that either their self-confidence or financial requirements present them with major barriers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie is onderneem om vas te stel of die sogenaamde glasplafon-verskynsel in die Suid-Afrikaanse banksektor voorkom. Die oorhoofse vrae wat gestel was, was of daar steeds hindernisse bestaan en wat hierdie oorhoofse hindernisse is wat vroue verhoed om uitvoerende bestuursvlakke in die banksektor te bereik. Die inhoudsontledingsmetode is as navorsingsmetode gebruik. Die doel van die navorsing was om eerstehands die ervarings van vroue in die banksektor te ontdek. Die studie het nie 'n hipotese probeer toets nie, maar eerder die ervarings van 'n uitgesoekte groep vroue ontleed. 'n Vraelys is aan ses vroue in senior bestuursposte by vier van Suid-Afrika se grootste bankgroepe versprei. Met behulp van die Menslike Hulpbron-bestuurder by elk van die banke, is 83% van die vraelyste terugontvang. Altesame 20 vraelyste is volledig ingevul en in die studie gebruik. Die implikasies van die bevindinge word bespreek. Die gevolgtrekking is dat transformasie in Suid-Afrika beslis die bewustheid aangewakker het dat geslagsdiskriminasie in maatskappye bestaan, en dat verandering in die banksektor stadig verloop. Maatskappye verskaf loopbaangeoriënteerde ondersteuningstrukture aan vroue, maar vir vroue met gesinsverantwoordelikhede is daar min of geen ondersteuning nie. Die groep vroue identifiseer selfvertroue, stelligheid, ambisie en 'n loopbaangeoriënteerde uitkyk as belangrike eienskappe vir sukses in senior bestuursposte in die bankwese. Hierdie vroue rus hulself toe met die regte vaardighede, grade en kursusse en verwerf elke dag ondervinding om sodoende hulself lewensvatbare kandidate te maak om deur die sogenaamde glasplafon te breek. Om vroulik te wees is nie vandag meer 'n hindernis soos voorheen nie. Wetgewing bepaal die gelyke behandeling van alle rasse- en geslagsgroepe. Die kultuur wat in die banksektor in Suid-Afrika geskep is weens die histories mansgedomineerde en diskriminerende geskiedenis word wel as 'n hindernis beskou. Huidiglik oorskadu rassegelykheid geslagsgelykheid, hoofsaaklik omdat die regering sulke streng vereistes aan maatskappye stel met betrekking tot rassegelykheid. Die meerderheid van die groep vroue voel dat as die geskiedenis van Suid-Afrika in ag geneem word, dit gepas is dat rassegelykheid voorkeur geniet. Die meerderheid van die vroue in die groep het dit al oorweeg om hul eie besigheid te begin as "n alterntief vir die korporatiewe lewe. Hulle voel egter dat die gebrek aan selfvertroue en geld hulle verhoed om dit te doen.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53442
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