In today’s Wall Street Journal there was another story about why women are scarce at the top levels of corporations. The main reason for the current failure to promote is based on male egos.
According to the article, just 16.4% of women held corporate officer positions (VP’s and above) of all Fortune 500 corporate office jobs. We can all agree this percentage is absurd. The rest of women are sidelined in lower management positions or administrative staff roles. If the percentage were a mere 45%, would Corporate America be different, without question. But getting to that percentage is a difficult task indeed.
Based on my experience researching and representing women in employment cases, I honestly believe a social stigma still attaches to women who have two jobs to do.
Raising a family and raising a career are not easy, unless the husband stays at home. But who is responsible for maintaining this social stigma, men of course. Although information and technology developments may have made it look like we are all equalized in society, the development of gender equality has lagged far behind.
It was not long ago (1970’s) that it was socially acceptable that men ran companies and women stayed at home raising children. The gender transformation in the work place did not begin to evolve until the 1990’s. During the 1990’s there were notable legal decisions that have cleared the air about which behavior is acceptable and which is not. As a result, corporations were forced to examine liability problems and promote better work equality agendas. Taken together, gender and sexual harassment discrimination cases really have transformed the office environment nationwide, but there still remains a problem. A problem, I believe will resolve itself over the next decade.
As more and more women cross over into the upper echelons of the corporate office, they will have an immediate impact on the way the corporation handles the promotion of women. It’s not going to happen all at once. I believe the change will occur more subtly. Women executives faced with eyeball to eyeball decision making with their male counterparts, will cause the male ego to understand, from a rationale perspective, that promoting the female executive over the male executive makes good business sense. Whether or not she has a golf handicap, these tough minded and smart women executives are ready to seize the moment.
The male corporate ego is on the way out. As more and more women reach the top, they are spreading their views around the office, and more important down the chain of command. I believe there will be a decline in the number of sexual harassment and gender cases that are filed because of this transformation of the male mind. These cases more often than not occur in mid level management and below.
The Reason Women Are Scarce at the Top Man’s Ego. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact our employment attorneys in Connecticut and New York, Carey & Associates PC at 203-255-4150.