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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

 
Stats on women leaders in America

by digby




... are not as encouraging as we might hope:


The number of women leading the largest companies has always been small. This year, it got 25 percent smaller.

The reversal is leading to a search beyond the usual explanations for why women don’t become chief executives — things like not being competitive enough, failing to chase opportunities for promotion and choosing work-life balance over high-powered jobs.

That’s because evidence shows that the obstacles for female executives aren’t just because of their individual choices. There are larger forces at work, experts say, rooted in biases against women in power, mothers who work or leaders who don’t fit the mold of the people who led before them.

For many years, it seemed like the share of women at the top of corporate America would slowly increase over time. The number of women leading companies in the Fortune 500 had grown to 6.4 percent last year, an all-time high, from 2.6 percent a decade earlier.


But this year, the number of female chief executives declined 25 percent, according toFortune’s 2018 list, which was published Monday. There are now 24 women, down from 32. Twelve left their jobs — most recently, Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup Company, who abruptly announced her retirement Friday — and four joined the list.

Women in business start out equal to men in terms of jobs and pay. But at each level, they disappear. Only 22 percent of women are senior vice presidents, according to the annual Women in the Workplace study by Lean In and McKinsey. The drop-off starts with the first promotion to management: Women are 18 percent less likely to be promoted to manager than their male peers.[...]

here don’t appear to be gender differences in leadership ability, either. A recent analysis of 2,600 executives found that men and women did not differ on multiple areas that were assessed, including interpersonal, analytical and managerial skills and general ability. Yet comparing women and men with similar skills and talents, women were much less likely to become chief executives.

One reason, other studies have shown, is that we unconsciously assume good leaders are male, and we have mixed feelings about women who have successful careers.

The typical chief executive is six feet tall with a deep voice — a typical woman doesn’t match the image. In an experiment, respondents said someone named Eric who offered new ideas was a natural leader, while someone named Erica who offered the same ideas was not.

Female business school students who were single reported that they wanted lower salaries and shorter work hours when they expected classmates, particularly single men, to see their answers, according to a study last fall in the American Economic Review.
These biases against ambitious women affect how managers treat women at work.

Men are seen as having leadership qualities like gravitas, while women are seen as having supporting-role qualities like dependability. When women ask for promotions or raises, they’re more likely to be called bossy or aggressive, found Lean In and McKinsey. Men are more likely to get them without asking.


“It’s all about the culture of organizations and the broader cultural attitudes toward women, and the difficulty all of us have, research would suggest, really respecting a woman in a position of authority,” Ms. Ely said.

It also notes that #MeToo is likely having a backlash effect of making the men who still run things less likely to want to hire and mentor younger women which is undoubtedly an effect, at least in the short term, until they realize that if they don't act like assholes, it will all be fine.

I have had the discussion many times int he past year and a half about whether this country is going to elect a woman president any time soon. Virtually everyone I know insists that it's not just possible it's a shoe-in, probably in 2020.

I always think of these statistics about female CEOs and wonder if that's actually true. I think I'm more pessimistic than most, although I sincerely hope I'm wrong. I confess I didn't see a reduction in their numbers coming, though.

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