5 reasons why women don't make it up the ladder;
1. The Glass Ceiling
2. The Glass Cliff
3. The Children
5. The "Bitch" Brand
1. The Glass Ceiling is when because of your gender (or race) you can get overseen for promotion.David Cotter has come up with a few criteria that need to be met http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_ceiling. However there has been research to suggest women are breaking through the ceiling only to find...
2. The Glass Cliff - where women get given leadership roles that are risky and precarious. The report concluded that poor company performance may lead to the appointment of women to positions of leadership. So women are set up to fail.
Read more here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3755031.stm
Get involved in the research here: http://psy.ex.ac.uk/seorg/glasscliff/participate.html
3. The Children - a study has shown women do twice as much housework and three times as much childcare than the man. So maybe we need to address the amount we work outside of our jobs. http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2010/JF/feat/schie.htm
Is it because the woman does more of the childcare that they're less likely to go for promotion? This may be a choice. As a mother myself I know I want to see my daughter however I also want a successful career. Surely it must be possible to find a balance.
4. Confidence - some discussions seem to suggest that women can lack the confidence or self esteem to go for certain roles. Women are more likely to criticise themselves while men are more likely to believe in themselves. I"m not sure I completely agree with that as I've met many great women who know their worth, value and ability. Maybe there is more work to be done there though.
5. The "Bitch" Brand. Many women I meet in the corporate world know that you can't always be liked and are willing to make difficult choices. However most women do not want to be considered as the B word. They like to be liked. This may be another reason for not climbing the ladder to success.
In the Heidi Roizen study that Harvard did they discovered that success and likeability were positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. So successful women were less likely to be liked than men at the top.
There is certainly more work to be done - either by working out our work/life balance, challenging the types of roles women get promoted into; building our confidence and self esteem. Also as women in organisations we need to support and like women further up the ladder if possible. We need to challenge our preconceptions of successful woman.
I wish you all a very successful and fulfilling 2012.