Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Women Don't Break the Glass Ceiling

There’s nothing very new here. It has long been known that a very ambitious woman, a woman who wants to rise up the corporate hierarchy would do well to have a… wife. Especially a wife who stays home and cares for the children and the household.

Well, maybe not a wife, but at least a househusband.

Feminists have been saying this for quite some time. And it is certainly true. You cannot give your job your undivided attention if your attention is divided between home and office. If you do not give your job your undivided attention you will most likely fall behind your colleagues.

Of course, this means that a man who wants to rise up the corporate hierarchy would do well to have a wife at home.

The notion of shared responsibilities is a feminist pipe dream. Or better, a feminist lie.

Jessica Grose reports on a study of Harvard Business School graduates:

The majority of women said they assumed they would have egalitarian marriages in which both spouses’ careers were taken equally seriously.

These are intelligent, well-educated women. And yet, they happily bought the feminist lie about egalitarian marriages.

Nothing about the study should be shocking.

Grose reports:

The study’s authors interviewed 25,000 men and women who graduated from Harvard Business School over the past several decades. The male graduates were much more likely to be in senior management positions and have more responsibility and more direct reports than their female peers. But why? It’s not because women are leaving the workforce en masse. The authors found, definitively, that the “opt-out” explanation is a myth. Among Gen X and baby boomers they surveyed, only 11 percent of women left the workforce to be full-time moms. That figure is lower for women of color—only 7 percent stopped working. The vast majority (74 percent) of Gen Xers, women who are currently 32-48 and in the prime of their child-rearing years, work full time, an average of 52 hours a week.

Why don’t women advance in the workplace? The study suggests that married women allow their husbands’ careers to take priority over their own.

Grose summarizes the results:

About 40 percent of Gen X and boomer women said their spouses’ careers took priority over theirs, while only about 20 percent of them had planned on their careers taking a back seat. Compare that with the men: More than 70 percent of Gen X and boomer men say their careers are more important than their wives’. When you look at child care responsibilities, the numbers are starker. A full 86 percent of Gen X and boomer men said their wives take primary responsibility for child care, and the women agree: 65 percent of Gen X women and 72 percent of boomer women—all HBS grads, most of whom work—say they’re the ones who do most of the child care in their relationships.

Apparently, four decades of second-wave feminism have failed to destroy the sexual division of household labor. Then again, only a feminist would take offense at the notion that a woman might want to be a more active mother to her children.

Note well, the feminist response to these numbers shows no respect for the decisions that women might make… freely. To feminists, any woman who takes on more parenting responsibilities than her husband has colluded in a system that represses her talent for business and prevents her from breaking the glass ceiling.

Another study, this time from the University of Texas throws an unwelcome light on this phenomenon. It suggests that a woman who rises up the career ladder will pay for it with her emotional well-being. Could that be one reason why women prefer not to work their way up the corporate hierarchy?

The Daily Mail explains:

Women who have power at work are at risk of poorer mental health than women further down the career ladder, a study has found.

Researchers found that while men tend to feel better the more authority they have, the reverse is often true for women.

‘Women with job authority – the ability to hire, fire and influence pay – have significantly more symptoms of depression than women without this power,’ said Tetyana Pudrovska, of the University of Texas, who carried out the study.

‘In contrast, men with job authority have fewer symptoms of depression than men without such power.

‘What’s striking is that women with job authority in our study are advantaged in terms of most characteristics that are strong predictors of positive mental health,’ she added. ‘These women have more education, higher incomes, more prestigious occupations, and higher levels of job satisfaction and autonomy than women without job authority.

‘Yet they have worse mental health than lower-status women.’

No one should find this surprising. When a man gains more authority he will become more attractive to women. When a woman gains more authority she will become less attractive to men.

Some would call it sexism. Others would say that it’s reality.

Pudrovska is a feminist, so she blames it on sexism:

Prof Pudrovska said the reason a woman with authority may be negatively impacted is that she can encounter ‘resistance’ from colleagues, who may judge her for being ‘unfeminine’.

‘Years of social science research suggests that women in authority positions deal with interpersonal tension, negative social interactions, negative stereotypes, prejudice, social isolation, as well as resistance from subordinates, colleagues and superiors,’ she said.

‘Women in authority positions are viewed as lacking the assertiveness and confidence of strong leaders.

‘But when these women display such characteristics, they are judged negatively for being unfeminine. This contributes to chronic stress.’

Of course, you might also suffer chronic stress for pretending to be something you are not.

This does not mean that women cannot do it. It does not mean that they should not try to do it. It certainly does not mean that men should not become househusbands, if that is their inclination.

But if it doesn’t work out as well as your ideology says, don’t blame the patriarchy. Question the ideas you have been tricked into embracing.


Ares Olympus said...

There's a fairly large amount of confusion here, at least in assumptions.

First many ambitious women do not want to have children, second women who have children still have plenty of time to expand their leadership abilities later in life, third, we can imagine women in a position of authority can have an income that that can support paid help for household duties.

I can't say how widely my suggested exceptions apply, but we can still see men with wives don't have the same limitations.

So if the only vital issue is "maximizing salary", I agree women are at a disadvantage, but really, feminist envy aside, if you ask women if they want maximum salary or maximum flexibility, a good bet is that a majority women will choose the later.

Maybe women are judged as less feminine for being "bossy" but at a certain age I bet ambitious women with their own vision of success don't really care, and can stand as equals to anyone.

So if salary status is really all its about, it does look like a stalemate.

My own answer to the feminists would be stop obsessing over salary disparity, it makes you blind and stupid.

On the other hand, given I expect a majority of women are not obsessing, and are probably undervaluing themselves, someone should be advocating for such things, as long as the "indicators" for equality are not taken as objective truths that must be fought to the nth degree.

Sam L. said...

Women, in the view of other women, should not do what they personally want to do, but should do what those other women SAY they should do.

Women's war on Women.

Dennis said...

One of the nice things about being male is that one knows that most of what women state can be totally ignored. Watching and hearing women blame men for everything is interesting and telling given that means they will never take the actions required to actually develop the skills requisite in dealing effectively with life.
It is gratifying to know that women actually need men for who else would they blame for their failures to take responsibility for their own actions and lives. Here government is just another man that will never give them satisfaction. What has it done for women except use and abuse them?
A significant number of years ago I actually hated someone so much that I found myself thinking of ways to remove him. It was at this point that I recognized that it was I who was miserable and that I was letting someone else control me. This is one of the nice things about being hated by radical feminists because I know who is actually doing the suffering and I get to know we men still control them and all we have to do is exist.
As they say, "The slave owner is just as much a slave as those he treats as slaves." In the long run who has the most to lose by never taking responsibility? One is never free until they can love and accept the differences of others.
There are times now when it takes me hours to stop from laughing at much of what stands for modern feminism. Feminists so often "jump the shark" that it is amusing. One of the truly nice things is that there are a significant number of women who, though they tend to be whiners at times, recognize the evil that is feminism.
My wife was telling me a story about a young man with "down syndrome" and who is now exhibiting dementia/Alzheimer's. It is things like this that reminds me that none of the challenges I face are slightly bothersome.