Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Glass Ceiling or what do women want?

Another one of those endless posts:

The glass ceiling is somehow the ugly cousin of the wage-gap. Both go hand in hand and the usual message is that women are discrimanted and therefor are much less likely to reach the jobs at the very top. Men are apparently only supporting other men. The assumption behind this stance is always, women want this jobs at the very top as much as men do.

What took be abak was this post.
A broad new survey of Wikipedia users found that only 13% of the online encyclopedia’s contributors are women. The November survey, which had some 175,000 valid responses, was conducted in multiple languages by the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates the site, and United Nations University’s tech-research program MERIT. [...] The male/female ratio is closer among those who read entries but don’t write or edit them: 69% men to 31% women. [...] Altruism and fact-checking are the top motivations of contributors, the study found. About 73% indicated “I like the idea of sharing knowledge and want to contribute to it,” while 69% said “I saw an error I wanted to fix.” - from here
One of the gaps that can not be explained by discrimination that easily. Contribution is free and I bet looking at the gender ratio at universitys women certainly have a lot of knowledge. Apparently the motiviation of men and women when it comes to editing Wikipedida seems to be different.

More importantly this reminds me of another gap.

Women and politics

I was thinking about blogs. The NY Times featured an article about "Bloggings Glass Ceiling"
There is a measure of parity on the Web. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, among Internet users, 14 percent of men and 11 percent of women blog. [...] Yet, when Techcult, a technology Web site, recently listed its top 100 Web celebrities, only 11 of them were women. Last year, ran a similar list, naming four women on its list of 25. [...] At the seminar “How to Take Names and Be Taken Seriously as a Political Blogger,” many women said that their male colleagues and major media groups tended to ignore them, and to link to them less often (unless they are Arianna Huffington).
The outline is crystal clear hear. Parity in blogging, but yet female bloggers get ignored -> Discrimination!

Now it is not that easy. It is true that there is (almost) parity whent it comes to blogging, but is there parity when it comes to political blogging? The blog census has a clear answer.

Equal Numbers, Different Interests 
A recent Jupiter Research article included the claim that "blogging is split evenly among the genders".
We were curious to see if this result would hold for Blog Census data. On August 5, we hand-checked a random sample of 776 out of a pool of 490,000 English-language weblogs. We looked for unambiguous evidence of the blogger's sex (such as photos or gendered pronouns in reported speech), and marked sex as unknown when such evidence was unavailable. [...] When we looked at the sample blogs in more detail, however, an interesting pattern emerged. Nearly half of the blogs in our sample (368, or 47%) fell within the category of 'personal diary' - a journal dedicated entirely to recording the events of the blogger's life. Within this group, women outnumbered men by about two to one. [...] Of the 6.2% of sites in the 'political' category - sites primarily devoted to politics, current events, foreign policy, and various ongoing wars - a bare 4% were written by women.[...] This quick look suggests that the overall even split between the sexes masks significant differences in what men and women choose to write about

Please note that there was a high error margin, but keep in mind that even in the best case scenario women are still outnumbered. Of course if far less women are engaging in political blogs, the percentage of women among the top blogs will not be as high as the number of men and this is more about mathematics then about discrimination.

But what about real life? This study gives us some answers.
In 2008, the profound gender gap in interest in seeking elective office persists. Despite the historic events of the last seven years, women of all professions, political parties, ages, and income levels remain less likely than their male counterparts to express interest in seeking any political office. The gender gap in political ambition grows as we move from local, to state, to federal office. The gender gap in political ambition is driven largely by women’s greater aversion to campaigning, lower levels of political recruitment, and traditional family arrangements and responsibilities. [...] Women in 2008 are still less likely than men to take concrete steps that precede running for office. - Why Are Women Still Not Running for Public Office? - 2008 - Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox
This information goes in a different direction. But why does it even matter? Often it is argued that women in politics are more likely to fight for women´s issues. Some even go so far to say that when women have political power no wars will start anymore. Reality looks quite different though. For example, the one behind the Violence against Women Act was Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton would have supported the war in Irak, Donald Tusk prime minister of Poland recently talked about a women quota on electoral lists, while the most powerful woman in the world (according to Forbes) German Chancelor Angela Merkel is against a women´s quota on board rooms. It is indeed a bit naive to believe that male politicans do not care about women´s issues as women are the majority of voters in most countries.

Women and the "Top Jobs"

When we talk about the glass ceiling we can not avoid one factoid.that is often cited. The number of women Ceos amont the Fortune 500 top companies. The cream of the cream so to speak. Among those we only find 12 women. Discrimination? When we look at the top colleges, women pretty much outnumber men. Soon those women have to become future top earners. Is this really true?
At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.

There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.

Many women at the nation's most elite colleges say they have already decided that they will put aside their careers in favor of raising children. Though some of these students are not planning to have children and some hope to have a family and work full time, many others, like Ms. Liu, say they will happily play a traditional female role, with motherhood their main commitment. [...] Much attention has been focused on career women who leave the work force to rear children. What seems to be changing is that while many women in college two or three decades ago expected to have full-time careers, their daughters, while still in college, say they have already decided to suspend or end their careers when they have children.
While the changing attitudes are difficult to quantify, the shift emerges repeatedly in interviews with Ivy League students, including 138 freshman and senior females at Yale who replied to e-mail questions sent to members of two residential colleges over the last school year.

The interviews found that 85 of the students, or roughly 60 percent, said that when they had children, they planned to cut back on work or stop working entirely. About half of those women said they planned to work part time, and about half wanted to stop work for at least a few years. Two of the women interviewed said they expected their husbands to stay home with the children while they pursued their careers. Two others said either they or their husbands would stay home, depending on whose career was furthest along. The women said that pursuing a rigorous college education was worth the time and money because it would help position them to work in meaningful part-time jobs when their children are young or to attain good jobs when their children leave home. In recent years, elite colleges have emphasized the important roles they expect their alumni - both men and women - to play in society.


"It really does raise this question for all of us and for the country: when we work so hard to open academics and other opportunities for women, what kind of return do we expect to get for that?" said Marlyn McGrath Lewis, director of undergraduate admissions at Harvard, who served as dean for coeducation in the late 1970's and early 1980's. It is a complicated issue and one that most schools have not addressed. The women they are counting on to lead society are likely to marry men who will make enough money to give them a real choice about whether to be full-time mothers, unlike those women who must work out of economic necessity. It is less than clear what universities should, or could, do about it. For one, a person's expectations at age 18 are less than perfect predictors of their life choices 10 years later. And in any case, admissions officers are not likely to ask applicants whether they plan to become stay-at-home moms. University officials said that success meant different things to different people and that universities were trying to broaden students' minds, not simply prepare them for jobs.


There is, of course, nothing new about women being more likely than men to stay home to rear children.

According to a 2000 survey of Yale alumni from the classes of 1979, 1984, 1989 and 1994, conducted by the Yale Office of Institutional Research, more men from each of those classes than women said that work was their primary activity - a gap that was small among alumni in their 20's but widened as women moved into their prime child-rearing years. Among the alumni surveyed who had reached their 40's, only 56 percent of the women still worked, compared with 90 percent of the men.

A 2005 study of comparable Yale alumni classes found that the pattern had not changed. Among the alumni who had reached their early 40's, just over half said work was their primary activity, compared with 90 percent of the men. Among the women who had reached their late 40's, some said they had returned to work, but the percentage of women working was still far behind the percentage of men.

A 2001 survey of Harvard Business School graduates found that 31 percent of the women from the classes of 1981, 1985 and 1991 who answered the survey worked only part time or on contract, and another 31 percent did not work at all, levels strikingly similar to the percentages of the Yale students interviewed who predicted they would stay at home or work part time in their 30's and 40's.

What seems new is that while many of their mothers expected to have hard-charging careers, then scaled back their professional plans only after having children, the women of this generation expect their careers to take second place to child rearing.


For many feminists, it may come as a shock to hear how unbothered many young women at the nation's top schools are by the strictures of traditional roles.

"They are still thinking of this as a private issue; they're accepting it," said Laura Wexler, a professor of American studies and women's and gender studies at Yale. "Women have been given full-time working career opportunities and encouragement with no social changes to support it.

"I really believed 25 years ago," Dr. Wexler added, "that this would be solved by now." - from here
A surprising find. Attaining a top university to become a stay at home wife? More importantly the female CEOs also do not seem to be the perfect role model for the working woman.
Dozens of powerful women we interviewed tell us that they don't want to be Carly Fiorina, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard (and No. 1 on our Most Powerful Women list for the sixth straight year); many don't want to run a huge company. But there's a fundamental disconnect here. Those very same women also tell us that they foresee the day in which there is parity in terms of gender representation at the top of corporate America. It is a goal that they honestly, fervently want to reach. Which makes us wonder: If these educated, accomplished, powerful women don't seek the biggest jobs, who is going to? To take it one step further: Do women lack power in business because they just don't want it enough? [...] And as we delved deeper into the attitudes of America's most powerful women--not only in the corporate arena but in government and academia as well--we kept hearing the same rap about power: It's a turnoff. "I'm afraid of it," confesses Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman, who is, at No. 25, the highest-ranking newcomer on this year's list. (To see the list, open the foldout that follows this story.) "Power is in your face and aggressive. I'm not like that," says another newcomer, Jenny Ming, president of Old Navy (No. 42). Power, says Meg Whitman (No. 2), "has a negative connotation." Even Hillary Clinton would rather not embrace the label. "I never think about [power]," Clinton insists. "I certainly understand it. But I don't think about it in relation to myself."


General Electric just completed a study of its 135,000 professional workers and found that women quit at a higher rate: Annual voluntary turnover of the women is 8%, vs. 6.5% for the men. (That may not sound like much, but it adds up to 2,025 more women than men a year.) Research firm Catalyst reports that 26% of professional women who are not yet in the most senior posts say they don't want those jobs. And of the 108 women who have appeared on the FORTUNE 50 over the past five years, at least 20 have left their prestigious positions--most of their own volition, like former Pepsi-Cola North America CEO Brenda Barnes (who moved home to Illinois to focus on her family) and former Fidelity Personal Investments president Gail McGovern (now a marketing professor at Harvard Business School). Apparently it's not that women can't get high-level jobs. Rather, they're choosing not to. 
Which makes the responses to our Carly Fiorina question less surprising. Most of the powerful women we asked said that they admire her, but they wouldn't want to trade places with her (and practically all of those insisted on anonymity). Fiorina has never relished her role as corporate America's female icon; she would rather be a model for both men and women, she says. Still, the feedback from these women leaders distresses her. "Perhaps they can't relate to the passion and drive I have for the business," she says. In fact, most women say that Fiorina has a drive and tenacity that they simply cannot match--and wouldn't want to. 
Indeed, a common strand among those who take on ever bigger jobs is the notion that power seeks them rather than the reverse. "I never sat down and thought, 'I'll major in political science and Soviet studies, get a Ph.D., become a professor, serve in the first Bush administration, become provost at Stanford, and then become National Security Advisor,'" says Condoleezza Rice. "Not planning has permitted me to accept the twists and turns." 
These women don't always greet promotions eagerly. When Marge Magner's boss at Citigroup, Bob Willumstad (Citi's new president), told her last July that he was promoting her to CEO of the company's jewel, its $37 billion Global Consumer Group, she replied, "Are you sure?" The promotion (which lifts her from No. 22 to No. 5 on our list) is "a double-edged sword," Magner says. "Yes, I really wanted it, but I have a bit of awe about the role, the responsibility. I'm on the front line. I have people knowing who I am--all this stuff I've avoided until now." 
Andrea Jung (No. 3) says that she has never asked for a promotion. Nor has Genentech COO Myrtle Potter (No. 29). Indeed, early in her career Potter rejected two bigger jobs outright. She figured that lateral moves would better develop her talents. "Everyone thought I was crazy--well, not crazy, but naive," says Potter. "Today I tell young people that they need to develop themselves broadly." (She's probably right: Lack of line management experience is the No. 1 barrier to women's reaching the top, according to Catalyst.) During her 12 years at Wal-Mart, Linda Dillman (No. 28) has never asked for a promotion either. "Promotions have come to me before I felt I was ready," she says. Last year, when Wal-Mart CFO Tom Schoewe and then-CIO Kevin Turner told Dillman that they planned to elevate her to Turner's job, she replied, "Tell me what you're going to do if I don't take the job." She recalls, "Their jaws hit the table. They walked me through why I had to take the job. They said, 'We really didn't have a contingency plan.'" 
When it comes to professional modesty, "women overdo it," says Citigroup's Magner, herself a model of self-effacement. When she interviews candidates for stretch assignments, she says, women often tell her they're not ready. Men almost never do. Says Magner: "One of the things I tell women is, 'Listen, next time someone offers you a job, don't tell them why you're not capable. Keep it to yourself!'" 
Of course, some women reject the offer of greater power at work because they're not willing to make personal sacrifices. Jamie Gorelick, formerly vice chairman of Fannie Mae, recalls that a few years ago CEO Frank Raines invited her to be considered for the COO job. She declined. "I just don't want that pace in my life," says Gorelick, who has a 15-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. Seeking flexibility and more variety in her work, she quit Fannie Mae this year and joined law firm Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. "The dirty little secret," Gorelick adds, "is that women demand a lot more satisfaction in their lives than men do." Asks Hillary Clinton: "Are women willing to pay the price for corporate life? They have to play by the same rules as men do. And right now there are really brutal rules for women who want to have families." 
To get to the highest levels of power, of course, something's gotta give. And that something is often children. (In a recent interview, FORTUNE asked U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao whether she could handle that job if she had kids. After a long pause, she answered, "It would be awfully difficult.") Or what gives is the spouse's job. As we reported last year, more than one-third of the women on the FORTUNE 50 have stay-at-home husbands--as do several of this year's newcomers, such as Gail Berman, Pepsi-Cola North American president Dawn Hudson (No. 50), and Ursula Burns (No. 44), who is Anne Mulcahy's right hand at Xerox. Mulcahy (No. 4) has a stay-at-home spouse too. 
If they do have children, women often don't take the most demanding positions until the youngsters are older. That's especially true for single parents. "While my children were growing up," says Shirley Tilghman, the president of Princeton and a renowned molecular biologist who divorced when her son and daughter were toddlers, "I turned down all administrative jobs. So I've never been a dean. I've never been a provost." (Two years ago, Tilghman "was stunned" when the chairman of the committee searching for a new president asked her to become a candidate for the job; she says she didn't know if she wanted it or was qualified for it.) 
[O]ur interviews show that lots of women push for promotion less strongly than men not because they're reining in their ambition but because they really don't hang their egos on the next rung of the corporate ladder. Instead, powerful women often dream of moving on to more meaningful things. Meg Whitman has been saying for years that she will do something in education or philanthropy after her eBay job. Ann Fudge quit her Kraft Foods job "to do something different." During her two years away she traveled with her consultant husband to Thailand and Bali and Morocco, and spearheaded a tutoring program for African-American kids in conjunction with Harvard Business School.

Achieving parity at the top in the next generation is possible only if that generation wants it. And those future leaders have a decidedly lukewarm attitude toward business. According to a 2002 study of 4,200 teenagers by Simmons College and the Committee of 200, a women's group, only 9% of girls (vs. 15% of boys) anticipate careers in business. Meanwhile, business schools are struggling to attract more female students. Women make up 36% of MBA students, vs. 47% of medical school and 49% of law school students. Judy Rodin, president of the University of Pennsylvania, reports that young women on her campus are saying, "'You women worked too hard. You're too strung out.' It's the single most worrisome thing to me. They might not want to fill the pipeline." Says Judy Olian, the dean of Penn State's Smeal College of Business: "In our lifetime and in our daughters' lifetime, given the numbers, there's no way there can be parity." Unless, she jokes, "men all die in a plague."


"If corporate America could somehow figure it out and let women get to the top without requiring them to charge hard their entire careers," she says, "we may get there someday." - from here
The last sentence is very telling. Without requiring them to charge hard their entire is that supposed to work? And how can this be fair, talking about quotas here, to promote someone because of gender and not because they were charging hard?

What about women who want to reach the top?
Another interesting, recent and large study found the following.
Women at the top of business outearn men - Saturday, December 13, 2008
By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Carnegie Mellon University study has concluded that women executives out-earn their male counterparts.

The study, which examined 16,000 executives over 14 years, found that women at the top of the business world bring in a bit more than men and are promoted at the same rate, countering the popular notion that women earn less than men for the same work.

"That common perception is not borne out by this study," said Robert A. Miller, professor of economics and strategy and one of the authors. "If you're looking for evidence of gender discrimination in executive promotion and compensation, it's not happening there."

The study, "Are There Glass Ceilings for Female Executives?," was released last month by Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business but hasn't been published yet.

The largest empirical analysis of the top echelons of publicly traded companies determined that women earned about $100,000 more per year than men of the same age, educational background and experience.

"Once you control for the position that they're in, that is, their rank, and you control for experience and control for their education, background and turnover, once you do that you find that they earn a little more," said Dr. Miller.


Female executives on the whole still earn less than male executives, but that's because more women quit before they reach the top, the study says.

"At any given level of the career hierarchy, women are paid slightly more than men with the same background, have slightly less income uncertainty and are promoted as quickly," it concludes. "We concluded that the gender pay gap and differences in job rank in this most lucrative occupation is explained by females leaving the market at higher rates than males."

Why they quit is harder to explain. Younger women opt out of the work force to have babies, but the average age for executives in the study was 53, beyond the child-bearing years.

Yet female executives still retire earlier than men and are more likely to switch careers. The CMU paper offers some possible reasons, including "more unpleasantries, indignities and tougher, unrewarding assignments" at work. The authors also suggest that women over time acquire "more nonmarket human capital" than men -- meaning connections outside the workplace -- that make retirement more attractive.


Some studies had indicated female executives were paid the same as men, but those didn't address the rate of promotion as this one does, he said.

More recent studies reached similar conclusions. A report released last month by The Corporate Library, a research firm in Maine, said women corporate directors earn 15 percent more than male counterparts, although they are still outnumbered 8-1 by men on boards.

The CMU study compiled data representing 60 different job titles at more than 1,800 companies between 1992 and 2006. In addition to examining promotion rates, the researchers also analyzed total compensation, including benefits, bonuses, retirement packages and stock options in addition to salary. Overall, the study concluded that job turnover and tenure are better indicators of compensation than gender.
Do you see what is happening here? Women who want to be on top apparently are way better off than their male counterparts. Now we get Psychological.
Susan Pinker - The Sexual Paradox

This is about the book written by Canadian psychologist Susan Pinker and goes in the direction of innate behaviour. Of course this nature vs nurture topics spark some controversy, as this fits well into this post, I´ll let this in and let my readers decide what to do think about this one. This tidbits are taken from different sources.
“If you were to predict the future on the basis of school achievement,” says Susan Pinker, in her new book The Sexual Paradox, “the world would be a matriarchy.” Women are powering ahead of men in education. As graduates, many are earning more than their male peers. But by their mid-thirties they stick in the middle ranks or drop out altogether, while men who may have much more erratic educational histories are excelling. This trend is most pronounced among the most gifted women, many of whom have bosses or husbands who urge them to aim high. And it is not just a motherhood issue: educated women without children are also not choosing the same paths, in the same numbers, as educated men. As Pinker puts it: “Even with all the barriers stripped away, they don't behave like male clones.”

Why? Pinker believes that the answers are mainly biological. It is not lack of ability or opportunity that prevents so many women from reaching boardrooms and the upper echelons of science, she says, (although she does not claim that discrimination has been abolished). It is because women are wired in the womb to want different things. Baby boys are more exposed to testosterone, which drives them to be daring and aggressive. Baby girls are doused in oestrogen, which helps them to empathise. This makes women by nature resistant to investing all their energies, single-mindedly, in one thing. It makes them less extreme. Women tend to seek “inherent meaning” in their jobs, whereas men tend to seek domination.

Parents like me, who have failed to tempt their children away from gender-stereotyped toys, may nod at this. Some people will see it as an outrageous attack on equality - as I would have done in my feminist twenties. But it is really an argument for a better understanding of why some women dislike roles that are defined by male ambitions. Pinker asks why we think of the male as the standard model and the female as a version with a few optional features. All the high-powered women she interviews are happier for having left their top jobs. In different ways they explain that society impelled them towards the male model, but that it didn't quite fit.

The story that's emerging, according to The Sexual Paradox, is that, like it or not, biology does play a role in cognitive development and career selection. Women, on average, tend to favour people-based jobs where human interaction and social responsibility come to the forefront. They are also less likely than men to subject themselves to gruelling workweeks for the rewards of a high paycheque. But if women are opting for less lucrative fields and choosing to work part-time in order to pursue other interests or raise a family, then it might not be only the glass ceiling contributing to the salary gap.

And it isn't that women don't excel at math and science, either. In fact, The Sexual Paradox points out that women often thrive in academic settings, and in school, they outstrip the males at such a pace that many institutions of higher education now employ affirmative action admission strategies for males in order to achieve gender balance in the student body. But in general, in spite of ability and rabid recruitment strategies, fewer women than men are choosing to go into male-dominated fields such as engineering, physics, and computer science, and there are still far fewer female than male CEOs.

According to Pinker, this goes back to the fact that women are choosing careers that emphasize people over things. Women are also less likely to thrive on risk and competition. A study by economists cited in The Sexual Paradox found that men and women had the same success rate in solving timed mathematical problems in a scenario in which each competitor was paid per correct answer. But given the option, the men were 40 percent more likely to choose a winner-takes-all model of the game, in which only the individual with the most correct answers receives a prize. The researchers found that even men who were less skilled at addition (and thus more likely to lose) were more eager than women to compete under these circumstances.

Pinker suggests that ignoring these temperament differences may actually hurt women in the long run, especially in the workplace, where advancement often depends upon blowing one's own horn ."What's happening now," she explains, "is if we expect women to behave like men, and they don't negotiate aggressively for salaries, then they're going to come out behind because they're not going to ask for the same types of raises. They're not going to go into salary negotiations in the same way, so they're going to take a hit. My view is that by pretending this doesn't exist, you're more or less allowing this to happen-instead of saying, 'We know women aren't going to negotiate, so how are we going to give them a leg up?' Or, 'We know women are less likely to throw their hats in the ring for a new promotion or a new project, so how are we going to go and solicit the talented women that we recognize out there in the talent pool?'"
Consider this startling study done with fourth-grade Israeli schoolchildren: when boys and girls each ran alone on a track, there was no measurable speed difference by gender. But when each child was teamed with another child and asked to run again, the boys ran faster and the girls ran slower—slowest of all when running against other girls! What females love is bonding, helping, sharing, and oxytocin—that “opiatelike hormone” dubbed by one anthropologist “the elixir of contentment.” Forget all this tedious racing: what girls would really like to do is carry each other around the track—taking turns! Indeed, studies show that whereas competitive situations drive adrenaline increases in men, they drive adrenaline decreases in most women. Men associate more pleasurable feelings with competition than do women, and even “an eagerness to punish and seek revenge feels more fun.” (Remember “tragedy of Prickarus” and “He’s going to have a clus-ter-fuck; he’s going to have a clus-ter-fuck”? Good times! Good times!) Even more harrowing: for men, not only does the urge to punish correlate with an increase in testosterone, but testosterone can measurably spike when they touch a gun.
But the real question is why. And it's not a bit clear that entrenched discrimination is the answer. Women may see lower pay as a reasonable trade-off for having more time to themselves - or, being women, for their children. They may, contrary to government policy, prefer to rear their own children, rather than farming them out to someone else.

The psychologist Susan Pinker asked, in a book titled The Sexual Paradox, and plainly designed to tease, “why females are biologically driven to nurture their young rather than climb the corporate ladder”. Why indeed? But it's a perfectly valid choice if some decide that the rat race isn't for them.

The really interesting comparison isn't between women and men but between single, childless women and men. If you compare women who aren't married or cohabiting with men who aren't married or cohabiting, you know what? The pay gap goes the other way. Hourly pay for the women is £8.82; for men £8.72. The moral is that if women want equal pay, they should give up men and children. Any takers?

What can we learn from all this? Certainly that one should be careful with screaming discrimination once we encounter such a gender gap. Thinking about a Ceo post among the Forbes 500, this is something I really wouldn´t want to do, as this sounds like a lot of work and far less family time and I believe my thoughts are something that a lot of others men and women also share. Apparently working your ass off, day in and out, year after year, is a stupidity more men are willing to take.


  1. Perhaps you're starting to uncover the truth that women want to be treated as equal but not necessarily "same." The bra burning and fighting for equal pay was wonderful when women were not being given choices. However, today women area realizing that it's very difficult (if not impossible) to hold down an upper level mgmt career and still hold together a marriage and raise well-adjusted children, unless the spouse is willing to assume some of those responsibilities.

    I'm not bashing career women... quite the opposite - but I am willing to admit that more women than men recognize and want to fulfill the nurturing role of a parent. We just don't want to be sold short. I am perfectly capable of running a large corporation, but the cost is too high. I want someone to recognize and utilize my abilities without requiring me to abandon my family values. That's where the wingspouse concept came from. I'm sure there are other solutions to the issue of women in business, but this one works for me.

  2. You are certainly right here. Can you explain what exactly a wingspouse is?

  3. yes, but the real question is not why do women leave, but why haven't companies been able to adapt enough to retain them? Since they are the majority of today's talent pool, and overachievers academically, and the research keeps saying that better gender balance delivers better performance... maybe it's time to stop asking what do women want, and start asking what do companies actually need in the 21st century. Then make it happen?

  4. Feckless, in answer to your question, a wingspouse is the spouse of an executive who acts as an active partner (not just a supportive mate). A wingspouse is a confidant, an honest critic, an emotional thermometer, a networker, and everything else that increases the effectiveness of the executive while maintaining a healthy and balanced home.

    Avivah, if someone were to ask me what would be a 21st century thought, I would propose couples job sharing. What better team could someone find than two people who were intimate enough to know the other's thoughts and plans? What other two people could trust each other so completely and share the same goals and expectations? That's what a wingspouse does now, but without any recognition or blessing.

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