Since the 1970's women have steadily gained access to higher levels of corporate
management. Formal mechanisms of discrimination on the basis of gender have long
been consigned to the past, and organisations now promote themselves as family
friendly and valuing work-life balance. However, in spite of women occupying the
lower ranks of organisations in nearly the same numbers as men, women still hold only
a minority of executive-level leadership roles.
This thesis is based on a series of interviews with men in senior management
positions who at the time, reported to women Chief Executive Officers and General
Managers. The ways in which these men talked about gender as a factor in
organisational life were examined for the discursive resources used to explain or
account for the situation. Four key discursive resources were identified: 1) Darwinian
Competition; 2) Gender Differences; 3) Gender War; and 4) Individual Choices. These
resources were used in a variety of often conflicting ways to eliminate or marginalise
gender issues and any concerns warranting action. This rendered the organisation, its
institutions and practices safe from change.