People Innovation Excellence

Gender Inequalities of Women in The Business World Related to Hofstede’s Masculinity-Femininity Dimension

A recent discrimination and sexual harassment issued to the world’s largest transportation technology company, Uber, has brought headlines all around the world. It started after the company’s former female engineer, Susan Fowler, wrote a blog in allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment done by the management. She said that uncomfortable discrimination and sexual offense to women already rooted inside the company. Women clearly were not paid respect and treated inhumanly by Uber.

It is just one of gender discrimination and diversity issues that is happening nowadays. However, in this article, I want to focus primarily on the industry gender gap. Women’s participation rate in management are still very low and wages for them are pretty much the same. For example, based on the report released by the Women’s Policy Research of United States, even today, on average, a woman earns 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women’s median annual earnings are $10,800 less than men’s.

On a woman side, it is said that even when a person’s resume is exceptional but because the name is feminine or belongs to woman, recruiters may not give a second look. A review of many studies of United States decision makers who hired candidates found that clearly competent men were rated higher than equally competent women. This bias is especially growing in the booming high-tech industry. One study, conducted by professors at Columbia, Northwestern and the University of Chicago, found that two-thirds of managers selected male job candidates, even when the men did not perform as well as the women on math problems that were part of the application process.

In major American universities, excessive gender bias also was found in research laboratories. The exact same resumes were sent to male and female professors looking to hire lab managers. A male name received more offers, better pay and more mentoring opportunities than the female candidates. Faculty of both sexes believed the woman to be less competent. Over a lifetime of work, a woman with a bachelor’s degree will earn a third less (around $700,000) than a man with the same degree, a research group found.

All of the issues relating to women discrimination in industries lead to Hofstede’s culture dimension definition of Masculinity, where men are being regarded with more respect and assumed having a higher level than women. Masculinity stands for a society in which social gender roles are clearly distinct: Men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success; women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life (Hofstede, 2001).

Men are promoted on potential, women on performance. Women are being judged on what they have actually done. For promising men, potential is enough to win the day, according to Catalyst, a think tank focused on women in the workplace. Women who switched jobs two or more times after earning an MBA received $53,472 less than women who stayed put at their first job and climbed the ranks, Catalyst found. These women had to prove themselves again each time they changed employers. In contrast, men who moved on from their first post-MBA job earned $13,743 more than those who stayed with their first employer. It seems that they were being paid for promise.

A major problem still plagues women, when they are clearly competent, they are also often judged to be unlikable by both men and women. In fact, the more accomplished women become, the more they may suffer in the workplace.

Men who are competent are seen as forceful, worthy of promotion and likely to succeed. It’s all a plus. Women who display competence often pay a price. They are seen by both men and women as unlikable unfeminine, aggressive and untrustworthy, notes New York University psychologist Madeline Heilman. Less competent women are seen as more likable but not very good at their jobs. Another lose-lose for women. Women work hard and achieve the desired results and men get the credit. NYU’s Heilman and Michelle Haynes of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell have shown that in mixed-gender teams, credit is far more often given to the male than the female team member.

In my conclusion, female members were rated as being less competent, less influential and less likely to have played a leadership role in work on the task. Both women and men fell into the trap, or probably a rooted culture, of giving higher marks to the male team member.

While it is not fully related to Masculinity vs. Feminity, the Power Distance dimension also takes part on the woman’s discriminative issue. Because the sharing of power society in general, including by women, depends largely on Power Distance. From all of his thinking, however, Hofstede writes that the legal position of women and their access to jobs depend primarily on the level of economic development of a country, its level of individualism also plays a role. Therefore, many factors applied to the issue (Hofstede, 1998).


Hofstede, G. (1998). Masculinity and Femininity: The Taboo Dimension of National Cultures. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.

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