Study: Gender bias is real, but women's choices add to the 'glass ceiling'
- Sex discrimination is still keeping women from breaking through the glass ceiling, but so are other factors, according to new research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
- The working paper, "The Glass Ceiling," identified three factors other than gender bias that are keeping women out of senior leadership roles: (1) women often choose careers in lower paying professions; (2) women are less willing to take risks than men in competing for higher paying jobs and negotiating bigger salaries; and (3) household duties and childcare still fall largely on women, keeping down their earnings at the executive level.
- Marianne Bertrand, Chicago Booth professor, said that although family-friendly policies, such as paid maternity and paternity leave and flexible work schedules, can address women's needs, they alone won't eliminate the earnings gap between women and men.
Sex discrimination remains a formidable barrier to women's advancement in the workplace, as recent federal enforcement actions demonstrate, and stakeholders are working to address not only that but also the other factors that have created the current situation.
To push back against steering that begins in childhood, employers in the tech industry are getting involved in schools, hosting events like "SheTech Explorer Day." And to address the possibility that women won't negotiate as much as men, employers are beginning to standardize their compensation structures and avoid salary history questions during the hiring process.
To help balance domestic duties, employers are increasingly offering paid parental leave to both men and women. Such a move will require many employers' support, but some say paid bonding leave for new parents in equal amounts for both men and women and without regard to sexual orientation or the way in which the child joined the family, could go a long way toward fixing both leadership and pay gaps.
And these efforts can have more benefits for employers than compliance alone. "In a world where talent is distributed equally among women and men, an economy that does not fully tap into the leadership skills offered by women is necessarily inefficient," Bertrand said in a statement announcing the research. "Talent is left on the table when women are not placed in leadership positions, and the economy suffers."