What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions

What Keeps High Achieving Women from Choosing Executive Positions

Personal Reasons Why Women Are Jumping Off the Corporate Ladder, Self-Selecting the Interruptions in Their Career Ascension

Many of the beliefs that keep women from rising up in the corporate world center on the perceived desire for women to put their family priorities before work. (McCracken, 2000) If they are married, it is assumed that they will want to take time off to have babies and/or resist responsibilities that might have them traveling away from home for too long. As a result, they are often overlooked for plum assignments.

Even with efforts to uncover these beliefs and provide opportunities for women, the numbers show that the rate of increase in women taking senior management positions has significantly slowed from 2002 (up only .07 percentage points) and in some corporations, the numbers have declined. (Catalyst, 2006, p 2) In 2002, Harvard Business School professor Myra Hart found that only 38% of the women graduates from the classes of 1981, 1986 and 1991 were working full time, with similar trends reported from Sharon Hoffman, the Stanford University MBA program director. (Conlin, Merritt & Himelstein, 2002)  Some 61% of those Harvard graduates said they planned to return but that their goals were different from when they graduated so they would likely choose free agency, working as entrepreneurs or as part-time executives. (p. 103)

The Conclusion of the Catalyst report (2006) placed the balance of the blame on the corporations. The report concludes that few companies have been able to remove the barriers that prevent women from achieving the same successes as men. (p. 36)


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About the Author

Marcia Reynolds

Marcia ReynoldsIn addition to coaching leaders in global companies, Dr. Marcia Reynolds travels the world speaking and teaching classes in advanced coaching skills, leadership and emotional intelligence. She is the author of 3 books and has been quoted in major online and print publications in the US and Europe.

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