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Archive Written by  CLAUDE MILLS Thursday, 12 August 2010 04:00 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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I'VE ALWAYS got along great with my female bosses, but then again, I am an easy-going, no-agenda kinda guy so the 'woman-boss' thing never got under my skin while I was gainfully employed at The Gleaner. But just the other day, I was chatting with a female boss I know who runs a distribution outlet and....

As we talked, she confided to me sotto voce that she prefers to hire males to do sales work because ­ get this ­ the women were unreliable and always wanted time off to take care of 'family problems'. Hence, she reasoned that these outside concerns diminished what ought to be their primary focus ­ more sales.

At the time, I found the whole thing rather amusing. Here was yet another mercenary female discriminating against her own gender. Typical. Isn't it?

In today's world, there's a greater likelihood than ever before that your boss will be a female. It is the age of the woman. Female managers are particularly predominant in human resources, the public sector and in financial and business services.

So why do some surveys reveal that up to 86 per cent of women prefer working for men?

Maybe it's just a combination of negative stereotyping, the difficulties women managers face in a male-dominated world, and traditional attitudes of female employees. Maybe it's just that women are openly hostile to other women.

I've always liked my female bosses even when my male peers used to ask me: how can you work for a woman?

Well, I don't really mind because for one, it is always OK for your female boss to touch you, and that has always been a biggie for me.

But seriously, I hear all the negative talk behind the backs of female bosses from both sexes.

A lot of men are threatened by a female boss. You've heard the labels: dyke, bitch, slut. You've heard the snide comments:

"They bitch and rely on girlie gossip to make decisions."

"Everyone knows that females are irrational and can't handle pressure. They tend to personalise things. Dem carry feelings, and love vendettas."

"What women describe as the glass ceiling was actually the mirror above the bed that got them into those supervisory positions."

And my personal favourite: "If God intended women to be bosses he would have given them different sexual organs."

With all this free-floating hostility, sometimes women tend to over-compensate for any perceived weaknesses their peers might think they have, and so become super-bitches.

"We still have ingrained notions of what is proper female behaviour, and when women bosses deviate from that, we punish them," one psychologist reasoned. "When a woman shows strength of character in a meeting, for instance, she may be seen as 'aggressive' whereas her male counterpart is seen as 'assertive'."

But it is women who pay the ultimate insults to their own gender. You know the old joke: when you want to tear down a woman, just send another woman to do the job.

"Women like the power they have, and they want you to know they can wield it in your direction, and they sometimes do so by emulating male behaviour," one woman theorised.

No wonder that several studies have shown that women prefer male bosses. According to the survey of 5,000 women in the United Kingdom conducted by an Internet website in the year 2001, many women believe their female colleagues are their worst enemies in the workplace. A majority believes that female bosses are the hardest taskmasters and most say working women are more aggressive than men.

"My experience is that women in our culture are harder on other women. They are more willing to accept a man's shortcomings, and not a woman's, and our women are extremely judgmental of other women, especially if the other women looks nicer than them. We just need to be more supportive of other women and examine our own lives," Laura Butler, human resource consultant, said.

Further, 91 per cent of Americans surveyed in a year 2000 Gallup Poll said men and women deserve to be treated as equal, but sadly, 54 per cent of women surveyed prefer a male boss. The Gallup polls findings also found that women bosses are more moody and unpredictable and are either in extremely high or extremely low moods.

In the poll, one employee surveyed said he doesn't 'know what to expect from day to day or hour to hour, and his female boss will praise him one minute, and castigate him the next'.

Another factor to consider is one that intersects with one of the major issues facing the continuation of the women's movement, drum roll please, the widening class gap. The new phenomenon of 'capital feminism' ­ a marriage of corporate capitalism and the post-feminist culture of the formerly oppressed becoming the oppressor ­- has also appeared.

Women's styles do naturally vary from men's, but is it a matter of having to prove yourself, or are women really on a power trip? A lot of employees will say that the managers in the office are on a power trip, and maintain that in most circumstances this is true.

"Not so," says Ms. Butler "I don't believe it is a matter of women wielding power like men. A woman is just doing the best that she can do, and she faces incredible pressures when she's trying to excel in a new area. It is sometimes harder for women to complete a task in an area dominated by men but things are changing," she said.


What role does sexuality play in the belief that females prefer male bosses?

My theory on the whole thing is that women feel they can get what they want from men more easily than they could a woman. Women are naturally more competitive with other women. They compete with them for sexual attention, men, and economic benefits.

Plus, you can never undermine the age-old predisposition women have towards flirting, which even though it's usually subconscious, remains historically one of the few natural powers women have felt empowered to display.

Commented 28-year-old secretary, Jacqueline McMorris: "You can get more favours from a male boss. If a male boss realises you're using your sexuality at work, he may play along with it. And even if they pretend they don't know you're doing it, they still tend to respond positively. It's a definite win-win situation. Just wear a short skirt, twirl your hair a lot, be slick and you'll be surprised what you can get away with."

But Ms. Butler contends that "women wouldn't do that unless the male sent a message that she could get away with it."

"I would much rather have a female boss than a perverted male boss any day," she quipped.

Many will say women make better bosses, but the truth is that both men and women have their weak and strong points. The executive has predominately been male for many years, but companies are starting to see the positive affects women have on a workplace. It is largely conceded that women often have a leadership style that can connect with, motivate and inspire employees.


Read 1886 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 03:19

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