A Stanford School of Business study has revealed that sexism retains a deeper hold in the American society than most imagined. One of the most perplexing factors is that women do not support other women.

This was no clearer than in the recent presidential elections, in which women voted for Trump (62%) over Clinton (34%) - a margin of 28 points. The outcome would have been quite different if the voting was more balanced. Instead, the polarizing contest showed that people always tend to have gender-specific approaches to their political choices.

Women are obtaining more and more of degrees - graduate as well as undergraduate – but there has been no progress in the real sense, merely more and more women occupying entry and lower-level positions. For the last 10 years, women have only occupied 14% of the top corporate jobs and 17% of the seats on the board. This is despite data that shows having more female leaders in business can significantly increase profitability.

The demographics at the top are often different from the workplace in general. The lack of women in the senior leadership is no doubt hurting organizations a lot. This has a percolating effect on lower levels, specifically on younger women who lack mentors and end up feeling they are unsuited to take on larger responsibilities.

There’s a lot of hype around women entrepreneurs nowadays. But if you look closely, most of these women have been forced to work for themselves because they couldn’t get the freedom and opportunities they were entitled to in the workplace. Now they have ended up doing the same jobs with no outright benefits, no security net to fall back on. They have chosen individual rights over solidarity.

Women have simply stopped making progress at the top in any field anywhere in the world. Though the reasons are many, but one obvious reason that inevitably comes up is that career oriented women are often aloof and non communicative. This leads to reduced empathy from others, more so from other women. However this bias can be easily overcome, by stressing on soft skills and communication. And more support for women colleagues and stronger relations with co-workers.

According to Angela Baker (Qualcomm, Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) and previously the United States Department of State) - Stand up for yourself and negotiate. You bring a lot to the table, and advocating for yourself will help you. Ask questions. Whatever be the industry or field, there are always people you can learn from.

As evinced throughout modern society, it needs a collective effort to change the status quo. We need to do it together, and the sooner the better.

 

Comment