Gender Gap Myths Dispelled By New Research
The results of a research project conducted by Catalyst reveal that the problem of women not making it into the executive ranks actually starts early in their careers. The project, which began in 2000, tracked the career progress of MBA graduates from top schools. Catalyst’s findings busted several often-accepted myths about the gender gap.
Myth 1. It’s primarily a pipeline problem. Once there is an equal number of men and women at entry level, there will be an equal number at the top.
- Catalyst found that women are actually lagging behind in both pay and level from their very first job out of business school.
- Later in their careers, women find that their pay and positions don’t rise as steeply as that of their male counterparts.
Myth 2. Women received a relative boost in progress as a result of the economic downturn and the subsequent wave of male layoffs.
- On the contrary, senior executive women were hit the hardest, with 19% of those that Catalyst tracked losing their jobs because of downsizing or closure (compared to only 6% of senior men).
Myth 3. The gender gap exists because women are less ambitious or because they choose family over career.
- Catalyst’s group included many women and men who didn’t have children and explicitly aspired to high office, yet the women still lagged from the very beginning.
Myth 4. With increased mentorship, women will be better prepared to move up to top jobs.
- The research found that high-potential women actually have more mentors than men, yet the gap in pay and promotion still persists.
“This really calls companies to reexamine their recruitment, retention, and advancement efforts.”— Janice L. Fields, President and CEO of McDonald’s USA
Read more on the study’s results here
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