It’s no surprise that there exists a disparity when it comes to a relative lack of women in top jobs like CEOs.
Seriously, it doesn’t take a genius.
Of course, society is quick to point to a lingering form of discrimination that has existed for years. And, the unfortunate reality is that terms like “glass ceiling” and “boys’ club” still have merit when it comes to the workplace.
The thing is, new data suggests that – while most of us can agree that discrimination still exists – it isn’t always the only case. For example, back in April, PNAS released a study that showed that women were preferred 2-to-1 in academic science jobs.
Now, further evidence to support this viewpoint has been published in PNAS. A team of Harvard researchers conducted a series of tests to determine how men and women viewed the desirability of professional advancement.
Their findings reveal that women found job promotions to be less desirable than men did.
In probing further, the researchers discovered that women had a greater expectation of negative consequences from a job promotion, like more stress or conflict with other life goals. Furthermore, women craved power less than men did.
Though there are a few factors (biology, cultural norms, and discrimination, for example) that can undoubtedly play a role in this, the authors admit that the cause of the gender differences remain complex and unknown. What the research does suggest, however, is that job opportunities and advancement are being made available to women, but they’re choosing not to pursue them.
The authors conclude:
“[C]ompared to men, women have more life goals that make achieving high-power positions at work seem less desirable (but equally attainable). Therefore, women may not assume high-level positions in organizations — at least in part — because they desire other things as well.”
While I am constantly in awe of the driven, successful females in my life; I can’t say this is surprising. Especially when an increasing number of females I know are opting to ditch the corporate world to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours and to be there for their kids in the good, old-fashioned way that’s increasingly rare when two parents are pounding the pavement.
Even so, it would be a lie to say that the results are not disappointing.