The Economist magazine staged an amazing debate recently and invited some of the smartest women on earth to talk about “whether women in the developed world have ever had it so good.” Here are some clips from Irene Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst, a leading research organisation on women and business.
“George Orwell said, “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.” For the benefit of this debate, let us restate the obvious.The glass ceiling remains. On its first cover of 2010, The Economist proclaimed: “We Did It!” But what exactly did we do?Although women occupy 51% of all professional and management jobs in the United States and close to 50% of the US labour force, we are broadly overlooked and underestimated as decision-makers in corporations. Breaking free from middle management is the toughest challenge women still face.”
“Though cracks have formed, the glass ceiling, the invisible barrier through which the next level of advancement can be seen but not reached, is firmly in place. Until women achieve parity in private-sector decision-making, we will be marginalised in every other arena.”
“Sexist stereotypes pervade. Women lag behind in pay and promotions because of ingrained biases and stereotypes.” … “It’s not motherhood—it’s the workplace. Although women with children are just as committed to their jobs as men, many are stigmatised by co-workers and bosses. They experience a “motherhood tax”: fewer promotions, less challenging assignments and less career investment by bosses. According to our research, many women end up leaving the workforce because employers do not create ways to combine work with the rest of their lives. When they try to return, barriers prevent them from regaining the momentum they once had.”
“Catalyst’s Bottom Line studies found that having more women in senior leadership and on corporate boards of directors, on average, correlates strongly with better financial performance. Any company that incorporates women fully in their workforce and advances women to leadership has a competitive advantage.
The facts outlined above are sometimes forgotten amid heated debate. But the facts should speak for themselves. Sexism, stereotyping, glass ceilings and pay gaps still prevail in the workplace. We have come a long way on gender equality, but it is obvious there is still a long way to go.”
For entire article go to: http://economist.com/debate/days/view/454