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25 years of retailing; 25 years of change? Reflecting on the position of women managers

Adelina Broadbridge (School of Management, Institute for Socio‐Management, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 9 November 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the gender composition of retail management and various issues in the careers of women managers during the last 25 years, a time period that has been transformational in many ways for UK retailing.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on empirical research from the last 25 years.

Findings

Findings indicate that progress of women in retail management positions has been slow and they are still under‐represented at senior levels of UK companies. Barriers to women's ascension to senior management positions persist, and can be broadly related to the traditional division of labour, and organisational cultural norms and values which uphold deep‐rooted stereotypes and promote intransigent modes of working.

Practical implications

The gendered assumption of the male model and male leader as the ideal retail manager needs to be challenged further, and embedded cultural norms and outdated attitudes towards women in retail organisations require to be further challenged. Informal and implicit organisational practices and patterns of behaviour need to change so as to be inclusive of all workers not just men.

Originality/value

The paper highlights issues that continue to be problematic for women in the retail management hierarchy.

Keywords

Citation

Broadbridge, A. (2010), "25 years of retailing; 25 years of change? Reflecting on the position of women managers", Gender in Management, Vol. 25 No. 8, pp. 649-660. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542411011092318

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited