Harvard Business Review surveys its alumni and realises it's all a myth

Published: 05/01/2015

Why has women’s career progress stalled? According to HBR’s new research, prevailing beliefs are unsupported and none of them explain the gender gap in senior management.

Women (in this case MBA graduates) want fulfilling careers and strive to senior positions as men do. Both rank career importance the same.

It isn’t true that women leave to care for children full-time, only 11% do and never return, down to 7% of black women and 4% of Asian women and they tend to leave as last-resort. And women without children have not achieved more senior roles than those with children. “In fact, both men and women in top management teams were typically more likely than those lower down in the hierarchy to have made career decisions to accommodate family responsibilities.”

Women tend to be more dissatisfied with their jobs than men and according to HBR the patterns won’t change with millennials. “It is tempting to think that people launching their careers today will change the game. After all, it was only a few generations ago that women were barred from higher education and many professions. Won’t gender parity develop with the passage of time? Unfortunately, we don’t think it’s quite that simple, given what we heard from Millennial MBAs. What these men and women expect at this early stage in their careers and lives looks as incompatible—and unrealistic—as it was for earlier generations.

So it seems down to company culture and unconscious biases even if that is not inferred in the article.

Read the article published in December here