Why Is the Glass Ceiling so Tough to Crack?
Booth researchers are investigating how cultural norms and expectations affect women’s progress.
Women have joined the workforce en masse over the past 50 years. In all that time, they’ve never gained parity with their male counterparts: women serve in far fewer leadership positions and are paid less for the same work.
As well as being an issue in terms of fairness, this is an economics problem, argues Chicago Booth’s Marianne Bertrand, faculty director of Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. Companies in search of talent are largely tapping into only half the talent pool.
Solving the problem is more complex than simply hiring more women. Bertrand’s research suggests that quotas can improve gender parity on corporate boards, but that doesn’t always translate into equal pay across the company or more women in other leadership positions. Instead, the broader challenge is to chip away at the implicit biases that keep girls and women from entering male-dominated fields and adopt workplace policies that make child-rearing more gender-neutral.
Research by Bertrand and Chicago Booth’s Emir Kamenica, along with Booth PhD graduate Jessica Pan, AB ’05, PhD ’10, indicates how professional success can take its toll on women’s personal lives. When women outearn their husbands, couples are more likely to divorce, and women are more likely to do more housework and childcare, perhaps to compensate.
Meanwhile, at work, employers are more likely to assign credit for teamwork to men in the group, downplaying women’s contributions, according to research by Chicago Booth’s Heather Sarsons, and her coauthors.
“All should agree that an economy that is tapping into a limited pool (men) to find its leaders must be operating inside the efficiency frontier.”
Questioning Answers in the Classroom
The Chicago Approach to business education—Booth’s educational philosophy—will teach you how to turn any business challenge, no matter how small or large, into an opportunity. Learn how our transformative curriculum helps our students to ask better questions and discover better answers. No matter which MBA program you pursue—Full-Time, Part-Time, or Executive—you get the same transformative academic experience, the same world-class faculty, the same influential network, the same dynamic community.
As Booth’s social impact hub, the Rustandy Center offers hands-on learning opportunities, supports innovative courses, and pursues research—all with the goal of developing people and practices with the potential to solve the world’s biggest problems.Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation
The Executive MBA Program is registered under the Hong Kong Education Bureau. Registration No.: 262427. It is a matter of discretion for individual employers to recognise any qualification to which this course may lead.
With his data-driven healthcare company Clinify Health, Nathan Pelzer, ’15, tackles persistent disparities in health-care outcomes.How a Booth-Bred Startup Is Using Data to Address Health-Care Inequities
Collaboration aims to build a database to catalyze groundbreaking research on this young but rapidly expanding field.Booth Partners with Wharton, HBS on Impact Investing Data