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Jack and Jill

Updated on April 22, 2015

The Majority of Women Consistently Earn Less than Men

Women have not made the same strides in entering top level management of corporate America that they have made in the political arena. Obstacles to their advancement include lack of management experience and male myths about women's abilities.

It is always pretty lonely at the top but for women it can be very desolate. Whether in politics, business, the professions, or in academia the top layer everywhere is almost always male. This may not come as a surprise in countries where few women are in the workforce. However, in America half of the workforce is female.

Women are still at 19 % - 19.3 %. After Twenty Years

In America women hold about 19 % of the board seats in Fortune 500 Companies. In the House of Representatives and Senate women hold 19.3 % out of 535 seats. With a woman as the early front-runner in the 2016 Democratic primary, the United States may join the UK, Germany, Brazil and Argentina as democracies that have had a woman as their top leader. Yet the alarming reality is that American women are still vastly underrepresented in elected offices all across the nation. Remember the "Year of the Woman" in 1992? Two decades later women still hold less than 20 % of congressional seats, despite composing a majority of the US population.

Women in the Workforce

Women in the workforce usually hold a soft jobs; such as Health, Education, Labor, Social Affairs, and Culture. The hard jobs positions such as Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Justice almost invariably are filled with men.

The hope that the examples of women in top political posts would rub off on Corporate America has risen. In 1999, women only accounted for 3 % of CEO's in Fortune 500 Companies. Today women account for 5.2 % of CEO's in Fortune 500 Companies. Yes, there has been an increase but a very small increase.

The largest companies are better at promoting women than the smaller Fortune 500 Companies. Female CEO's are much more likely to pop up in industries such as Cosmetics, Food Services, Airlines, and Computer Software in deferrance to Engineering and Construction,

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Why are Women not going to the top ?

The answer depends on who you are asking the question of. Male managers will say women are so new to corporate life that there simply is not enough women in the corporate pipeline. Where women have made it to the top it has usually been in a support function such as Human Resources, Public Affairs, and certain Financial positions. Few women have had the experience of a line position, yet it is precisely this position that managers gather experience they need to propel themselves to the top. Women themselves admit to being handicapped by lack of General Management experience. Women will also point out male myths and preconceptions. Men suspect women of being less committed to their careers, unwilling to work long hours, lacking the right training and skills, not being assertive enough or too aggressive. Women feel excluded from informal networks and often find corporate culture hostile. Unlike men women very rarely have mentors within the corporation. Sooner or later women hit the glass ceiling that infamous invisible barrier created by individual and corporate prejudices.

Mary Barra CEO General Motors


Men vs Women

Many men say women are unwilling to put in 70 hour work weeks and the long endless travel. However, if asked a woman will tell you that there is no need for anyone to put in a 70 hour work week. Women feel that if the work was organized properly there would be no need to work a 70 hour work week. Women were the first to admit that if there was a need for a 70 hour work week there would be no way to take care of her family properly.

Why Do Women Get Stuck?

So, what should companies do to ensure that women have the option to stay.
So, what should companies do to ensure that women have the option to stay. | Source

Drastic Changes for Women in Middle Management

What has changed drastically is women in middle management The proportion of women in middle Mamagement has increased 50 % . This is a sure sign that the pipeline is filling up. Women need to garner experience in line management, developed skills, self confidence, and find a mentor who will help you to smooth your path and make sure you work for a corporation that believes in women.

Women have a different experience in life than men, they will ask different questions, and are seen as different by outsiders. All of these qualities contribute to diversity in the workforce.

Women are setting up their businesses at twice the rate of men. They now own over 50 % Of new businesses. Setting up a new business is not necessarily the road to riches but it is the road to flexible hours. This is such a bright change from the rigidity of corporate life. The flexability of self employment seems to offer the solution to the working women's largest role conflict reconciling career and family.


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