AbstractsWomens Studies

The impact of the intersection of race, gender and class on women CEO's lived experiences and career progresson : strategies for gender transformation at leadership level in corporate South Africa

by Nobuhle Judith Dlamini




Institution: University of South Africa
Department:
Year: 2014
Keywords: Transformation; Social class; Intersection; Postcolonial
Record ID: 1475692
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10500/13828


Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of the intersection of race, gender and social class on women leaders’ work experience and career progression in order to come up with strategies for gender transformation at leadership level in corporate South Africa. The problem statement of this research study concerns the indication in the annual report of the Commission for Employment Equity (Department of Labour 2012) that there is under-representation of women, especially African and Coloured women, at top management level relative to the economically active population. The Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill was published in the Government Gazette No. 37005 of 6 November 2013. This Bill aims to enforce compliance with the stipulated minimum representation of women at senior levels in both the private and public sectors. This study, with its objective of reaching an understanding of the impact of the intersection of race, gender and social class on women’s career progression, is therefore timeous. Getting the perspective of woman CEOs across race and class on how to transform gender at leadership level could add an important voice to transformation and could be of benefit to decision makers in business and in government. Based on this problem statement the following research questions were formulated: - To what extent does the intersection of race, social class and gender impact on women CEOs’ experience in their work roles and career progression? - How might an understanding of women leaders’ experiences in their roles assist with strategies to transform gender at leadership level in corporate South Africa? Qualitative research methodology was chosen as the appropriate methodology and grounded theory was employed. Purposive, snowball and theoretical sampling methods were used to identify fourteen participants (13 CEOs and one chairman).The life story method was employed for in-depth semi-structured interviews from which rich descriptive data was collected and which was analysed using grounded theory. Findings confirmed that the intersection of race, gender, age and class does have an impact on women’s career progression and their life experiences. The dominant social identity was race for blacks and gender whites; class and age were the overlay. In terms of strategies for gender transformation, first-order constructs from the participants were related to abstract second-order constructs from the literature, which led to the formulation of the WHEEL Theoretical Model. The theoretical model is an integration of different elements required for the formulation of strategies for gender transformation at leadership level. The different elements were women themselves; domestic and family support; the organisation; society and government. Despite some limitations that were encountered, the aim of the study was achieved by making a contribution not only to the development of theory related to strategies for gender transformation at leadership level, which other scholars can build from, but also to the…