Strong, smart women keep whacking away at the glass ceiling. Why hasn’t it shattered?
WHY MORE WOMEN AREN’T C.E.O.s
WOMEN ENTER THE WORKFORCE
1960s feminism, the economy, and the promise of equal pay for equal work sent women into the labor force in droves. Many more women were going to college and becoming doctors, lawyers, and executive vice presidents. Equal pay legislation in 1963 seemed to promise a new economic parity. Women felt they were finally on their way to the top.
OVER 50 YEARS LATER
Today, over 50 years later, women are only a little over six percent of Fortune 500 chief executives. While more are in the number two spot, number one remains practically unobtainable. What’s the problem?
Chief executives, headhunters, business school deans, human resources professionals, plus women in the number two position (who didn’t make it to the top) were all interviewed about their experiences, and asked to come up with answers. Here are some of their responses:
WHY WOMEN WHO ASPIRE TO POWER OFTEN FAIL
• Men think that women are dependable, but less visionary.
• Men feel threatened by assertive women.
• Women are not sufficiently competitive.
• Women get discouraged too soon and drop out.
• Women are disproportionately penalized for minor glitches.
• Women at the top are not able and/or not willing to socialize with the top men as “one of the guys.”
• Women are less willing to work overseas.
• Women who negotiate for promotions are 30 percent more likely than men to be labeled intimidating, bossy, or aggressive, according to a 2016 survey of 132 companies and 34,000 employees.
• Women are vulnerable and won’t fight back, so it’s easier to knock them out of the competition.
• Women place less value on position or money.
• Men feel that women have less “gravitas.”
• Men sometimes feel hesitant to give women honest but harsh feedback, because women may react emotionally.
• Men are reluctant to have dinner/drinks, etc., with women subordinates, because it might be seen as flirting.
The impact of gender remains a serious, deeply rooted and persistent factor preventing the equality of women in the work world.