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Women in the workplace their contribution essay

Three things stopping women There are only three possible explanations for the lower numbers of women at the top level of these organizations. Women are not capable of doing the work that is required at the top. Women do not have the desire to be at the top. There are structural impediments preventing women from reaching the top.

Photo essay: Changing world, changing work

Those are the three options. It may be a little of one, it may be a lot of the other, but those are the alternatives we have to explain the relative absence of women at the top. The only way this can happen, is through leadership. Any organization with fewer women at the top than at the bottom should ask itself which of these explanations apply to it. A difference in brainpower? But even in higher education, there are those who do. Larry Summers, former President of Harvard, suggested once that women are inherently less capable than men of succeeding in math and science.

And once was all it took; shortly thereafter, he lost his job!

  • Men and women are judged by different criteria , they are expected to perform differently, and they are rewarded differently for the same accomplishments;
  • It may be a little of one, it may be a lot of the other, but those are the alternatives we have to explain the relative absence of women at the top;
  • Find out how it applies where you work.

But do they simply not want to get all the way to the top? Could there be anything to this argument? Is there any reason to believe it might be somewhat true?

Photo essay: Changing world, changing work

Women on their way to top leadership positions often emphasize different approaches to leadership, as the McKinsey Women Matter reports make clear. This study, along with the related research, does not conclude that women lack the ambition to get to the top. Time to fix it?

Photo essay: Rural women, human rights

The third possible explanation for having few women at the top is that there are structural barriers; in short, that there is discrimination. And, alas, the body of research on hiring and promotion makes it increasingly clear that there are in fact structural impediments for women.

Men and women are judged by different criteriathey are expected to perform differently, and they are rewarded differently for the same accomplishments.

There are only 3 reasons women don’t make it to the top

The challenges here are many, but the first step is to see the problem. You owe it to yourself and your organization to ask these questions: Are there disproportionately fewer women at the highest level of our institution? Is that because women are less capable of doing the job? Or is there something else that gets in the way? The questions here should not be answered with anecdotes.

  1. My interest in moving universities towards balance encompasses gender equality, the communication of scientific results, promoting research-based education and leadership development more generally. But do they simply not want to get all the way to the top?
  2. Women are not capable of doing the work that is required at the top. There is extensive research from many domains addressing these questions.
  3. A difference in brainpower? The third possible explanation for having few women at the top is that there are structural barriers; in short, that there is discrimination.

There is extensive research from many domains addressing these questions. Bring that research into your organization. Find out how it applies where you work.

  1. You owe it to yourself and your organization to ask these questions. This study, along with the related research, does not conclude that women lack the ambition to get to the top.
  2. Those are the three options. The only way this can happen, is through leadership.
  3. But do they simply not want to get all the way to the top? Be honest about your answers.
  4. Or is there something else that gets in the way? Larry Summers, former President of Harvard, suggested once that women are inherently less capable than men of succeeding in math and science.

Be honest about your answers. And then make things better. After all, making your organization better for women will make it better for everyone. My interest in moving universities towards balance encompasses gender equality, the communication of scientific results, promoting research-based education and leadership development more generally.