Education - Page 1 - Ask Margit

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Ask Margit
By Margit B. Weisgal, Contributing Writer

Women and the glass ceiling

Women of the Baby Boomer generation had to accept sexual harassment as the norm. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t go though this rite of passage no matter where they worked. Back in the 1970s, as more women chose the business world instead of homemaking, they started to fight back, using the courts to gain equality. Sometimes they even won. But it didn’t really change the corporate culture.

One aspect of this demeaning and sexist conduct on the part of male bosses was that women never advanced to the same levels of men. They weren’t paid a commensurate salary, they weren’t elevated to the upper echelons of the companies where they worked, and they were never viewed as professional. It was expected that they would eventually leave, get married and have children. So why invest in them?

Zoom forward to today’s world where women are standing up and being counted when they face this behavior and chime in with the #MeToo movement. The number of executives dismissed because they still thought treating women like their personal playthings is evidence that little has changed in 50 years.

Have there been advances? Sure. More women are heading up major corporations, sitting on boards of directors, moving up corporate ladders to the higher rungs. But they still do run into the glass ceiling.

New research by Marianne Bertrand, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, finds the glass ceiling – that invisible barrier to advancement that women face at the top levels of the workplace – remains as intractable as ever and is a drag on the economy. She states that the reason women are still underrepresented in the top levels of organizations is because they are recruited for positions with a high risk of failure, female managers are stereotyped as either competent or warm – but not both – and still encounter the nuanced forms of gender stereotyping, tokenism and sexual harassment.

Women represent 47 percent of the workforce, but their enrollment in MBA programs is 37.4 percent as of 2017. This is an increase, but it’s not much. Research cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education says enrollment has plateaued, and registration is decreasing.

Bertrand states there are three key reasons the situation persists:

• Women with college degrees often choose

Ask Margit, continued on page 6