Browsing by Author "Nataraj, Shalini"

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  • Nataraj, Shalini (2010)
    Abstract: This study aims to understand the identity behind Finnish female leaders. Women in socio-democratic nations tend to enjoy high gender equality, but there are still gender related problems in the labour force. Vertical and some horizontal sex-segregation is a prevalent feature of the Nordic States, a trend which segregates women into the lower and middle ranks of the public sector. Compared to their northern neighbours, more Finnish women tend to enjoy higher ranked jobs but still mainly in the public sphere. Within this context, this study is an aim to understand how and why these Finnish women are so successful. What is leadership and what does a leader require for success? Some feminist literature suggests that gender is an identity created from social norms, but like most political minorities, tend to hold on to the pain of oppression, consequently, recreating their positions in society. Wendy Brown refers to it as wounded attachments, or a continual re-creation of pain. An example of this pain is the imagery of a glass ceiling. The continual struggle for gender equality can be said to create cycles of victimization. Can this be said of women leaders? What is the identity behind a Finnish woman in a professional position of seniority and executive management or directorship? Six Finnish women are interviewed about their status, job satisfaction, work history and ideas behind their leadership. The research design incorporates a textual analysis and a brief questionnaire collected from 14 international students. These data sets are used to understand the identity and discourse of the leaders. Findings indicate that female leadership seems to be a hybrid identity, which has been developed parallel to the gradual shatter of the glass ceiling. Women do not seem to identify with the glass ceiling in the majority of professional situations, but work-life balance still seems to be a problem for some. Research suggests that the ‘think manager, think male’ phenomenon is gradually changing to include female leadership as a norm. Although there are still gender stereotypes when understanding leadership, the six women seem to have a will to be leaders, something that is quite opposite to bearing wounded attachments. This research suggests that leaders do not embody negative attachments, and although they identify themselves as women, they do not identify their paths with glass ceilings or other wounds.