Understanding the experiences of women in senior management positions in the financial services industry in the Western Cape
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Within the past two decades, gender equity has been a major issue in the workplace. Legislation has since been implemented to redress inequalities of the past, which have allowed women to move away from their traditional roles of being child bearers. Although legislation has been implemented by government, the gender equity issue remains a problem since women are still underrepresented in senior management positions. The aim of the study was to understand the experiences of women in top, senior and management positions within the financial services industry in the Western Cape. The gender composition of senior management positons has an impact on the financial performance of an organisation (Campbell, 2007). Thus the importance of female participation in the senior positions. This issue has attracted a growing amount of research, but for the purposes of this research study, the researcher has focused on one industry. The industry chosen for this study was the financial services industry in the Western Cape. Furthermore, a non-probability sampling design was used, based on the method of purposive sampling. Seven participants, namely, women within the financial services industry were selected to participate in the study. For data collection, in-depth interviews were held with each participants. The study design was qualitative in nature and therefore the thematic approach was used to analyse the data. Research has shown that there are various challenges that women within the financial services industry experience. From myths about women in corporate, to stereotyping women with that of the traditional roles of women. The current research findings also indicate that women experience many challenges while trying to move up the corporate ladder within the financial services industry. The findings derived from this study indicate that the financial services industry is a male dominant industry, with respect to senior management roles. This makes it difficult for women to participate in those decision making roles. This research is beneficial to organisations within the financial services industry. This way, the research study may allow organisations within the financial services industry to improve the current issues around gender equity in their respective organisations. The study limitations have also been discussed as well as the recommendations for future studies.