As Sandberg wrote in today’s Wall Street Journal, “If NASA launched a person into space today, she could soar past Mars, travel all the way to Pluto, and return to Earth 10 times before women occupy half of C-suite offices”.
That bleak statistic is one of several insights into workplace gender equity from a new study conducted by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company. Black, Hispanic and Asian women are on average 43% and 16% more interested in becoming a top executive than white women and white men, respectively. And it turns out the drop-off in senior ranks is not mainly due to attrition.
For starters, the report found that contrary to popular opinion, women aren’t leaving their jobs at higher rates than men. “An organization can’t change what they don’t see”, Thomas said.
The leadership ambition gap persists: Women at every level are less eager than men to become a top executive because “the path to leadership is disproportionately stressful for women”. It also found that women with children are 15 percent more likely to be interested in a senior job than women without children. But it boils down to this: Women face greater barriers to advancement and a steeper path to senior leadership. “Corporate America will get there, but it will take a comprehensive effort”. Using the talents of our full population is critical to our economic growth, corporate productivity and individual happiness.
The data suggest a double-bind for women in the choice between line roles, which contribute directly to a company’s bottom line and core functions, and staff-support roles in areas such as human resources and legal departments. Young girls are called “bossy” on our playgrounds, while young boys are expected and encouraged to lead. This persistent bias creates a double bind for women that we must surface, acknowledge and fix. But it does provide “signals” to companies concerned about gender diversity, the report’s authors told CNNMoney. Unfortunately, that message is not getting through.
And among all respondents, only a third think gender diversity is a top priority for their direct manager. Among entry-level employees, the gap was narrower (albeit the interest was also lower), with just 39 percent of women and 47 percent of men saying they want the top slot.
For all the talk about their progress in corporate America, women are moving ahead so slowly it will take more than a century for them to reach parity in top positions, according to a new study.
Companies should care about inequality because they leave money on the table if they don’t, according to another study released this week by Grant Thornton. The first step to improvement is measuring progress. Mothers are frequently seen by their peers as less competent and committed.
But that hard work is less likely to be rewarded.