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How Women Can Make it to the Top

The world of work is a living entity. It ebbs and flows with the economy, grows, and expands with new technologies and adjusts to the advancements in society. There was a time when gender played a key role in a person’s ability to even hope to obtain the degree needed to hold a job. Now, not only are they going, women are more likely than men to attend and graduate college.

The opportunities through education are increasing and men are now far more likely to share responsibilities in both the caregiving and breadwinning categories, yet there is still inequality when it comes wages and promotions.

Women are more likely than men to attend and graduate college. Click To Tweet


Same Beginnings

Women aren’t limiting themselves to certain lines of work any longer. Nurse is no longer a feminine term as women are just as likely to be doctors as they are to decide teaching is the profession for them. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. found that roughly equal numbers of men and women want higher-ranking positions. The study found that 78% of men and 75% of women want promotions.

With 25- to 34-year old women 48% more likely to have completed school, one would think that the amount of women to hold higher-level positions would be more balanced. Additionally, women were more likely than men to stay with a particular company once they reach senior and executive levels, yet LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. found that women are only making 17% of the executive suite population.


Where the Shift Begins

What’s the deal? More and more companies admit that making strides in gender diversity is a high priority and women are getting the education and have the ambition to become C-suite leaders, yet the numbers don’t lie. Men hold more positions in those ranks than women in overwhelming amounts. It isn’t about gaining entry to a company or access to the position. The shift begins after a job offer is made.

About 4 in 10 Americans believe there is a double standard for women in political or business positions. Even more, many people say America is “just not ready to put more women in top leadership positions.”

About 4 in 10 Americans believe there is a double standard for women in business positions. Click To Tweet


Waning Confidence

Women, it seems, hear those numbers and beliefs and begin to doubt the abilities they possess. Similar to a fresh-out-of-school graduate, if a certain attribute of a position does not appear on their resume, women hesitate to seek high-level jobs.


“If they feel they don’t have that one attribute, it won’t give them the confidence to raise their hand and go after the leadership role.” – Judy Rice, Executive VP and Chief Diversity Officer of Prudential Financial, Inc.


Closing the Gap

One way companies who are keen to these findings are attempting to encourage women to continue working toward these positions is by focusing on guiding them to roles that directly affect a company’s bottom line. Many companies are also working closer to ensuring women make up their opening positions and conference and training attendance as well as continuously examining salaries.

The LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. survey found that women are more likely to view senior sponsorships as ‘extremely important’ hen it comes to promotions. This finding could be key to finally narrowing that gap.


“We are in unexplored territory. When you go through business school, there are no classes on women’s leadership.” – Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com


When it comes to inequality in the workforce, the truth is it will always be a work in progress. Though many companies are aware and working to close the gaps, women are still feeling the effects of traditional work roles. With continuous education on the issue as well as constant consideration of efforts, the slow process of getting women to those higher level jobs is a far smaller leap.


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