Our new Female Breadwinners LinkedIn group currently has a great ongoing discussion about why most women won’t make CEO, based on a story in Forbes and brought to the group’s attention by member Elena Wohlgemut.
The original story written by male contributor Gene Marks, discusses what he believes are the main reasons. Firstly, how sexism is still rife in the workplace. He says “I’ve been in more than a few meetings where once an attractive female staffer leaves the room one or two of the guys will comment on her hotness…It works the other way too. The less attractive female employees are also frequently ignored.”
Secondly, the burden of the mother still being the main carer in the household despite holding down a full time job. And thirdly the double standard of behaviour – how women are still judged on the way they look, having to remain polished at all times. God forbid they allow themselves to get angry or swear in the office, something men can do without being judged. This only leaves the women with the thickest skin, and not necessarily the best qualifications, to fight for the role of CEO.
The author starts his piece by discussing the difference between the behaviour of his son and his daughter with a group of friends, how the boys’ behaviour is idiotic in comparison to the girls. He sums up by saying “I’m not sure this will change anytime soon. Because remember: MY son and his idiot friends are the up and coming generation.”
He accepts there is a double standard for women but doesn’t seem bothered about getting his son’s behavior to change even though he credits them with being the “up and comers’ which comes across like they are the natural inheritors of power, same as their fathers were.
The issue for his son’s generation is that they will be competing with far more university educated women than the author had to – and many of them will have to negotiate more with a spouse who can’t drop things when a child gets sick.
The workplace, as well as the double standard for women – BOTH have to change to retain the university educated workforce of tomorrow.
What do you think – leave a comment here or join in the discussion on our LinkedIn Female Breadwinners Group.