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Corporate America is still an all boys club as women fall behind

Women in general are less likely to be mentored by higher-level men, but women of color have it even worse.
gender equality
Women's progress in corporate America has stalled, according to a new survey. Photo: Pixabay

The glass ceiling was not completely shattered by Hillary Clinton, the woman many thought would be the first female president of the United States. Donald Trump became president and since then there have been hits against equal pay, birth control and child care. Eyes have been on the corporate world to come out in favor of gender equality.

According to a major survey released Tuesday by the nonprofit women’s group LeanIn.org and consulting firm McKinsey & Co., women’s advancement in the job world is coming to a standstill.

The survey found that for three years in a row, women are underrepresented at every level of corporate America.

Fewer women are climbing the ladder; 47 percent of women are entry-level workers while only 37 percent are managers, 29 percent of vice presidents are women and women make up 20 percent of “C-suite” positions (jobs that have “chief” in the title).

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“It’s a sad story,” Rachel Thomas, the president and cofounder of LeanIn, told HuffPost. “We’re far from parity, and progress is way too slow.”

But it isn’t for lack of trying for gender equality. “Women are stalling because we have age-old stereotypes about women and men,” Thomas said.

The numbers for women of color are even shoddier. “Women of color pay for double-discrimination,” Thomas said.

While women of color make up 17 percent of entry-level employees, they make up a mere 3 percent of C-suite executives.

Senior colleagues provide less support and mentoring to women of color than white women, according to the findings.

One notable fact that might seem contrary to popular opinion on gender equality is that women ask for raises and promotions at the same rate as men. Women at the senior level even ask more often, but women are still 18 percent less likely to get promoted.

“Women are playing on an uneven playing field,” Thomas said.

The survey found that men are more likely to help other men, but do not give women the same advice on how to advance and network. Men are also afraid of one-on-one mentoring for fear of sexual harassment or discrimination allegations.

And the argument that women aren’t advancing because they are popping out babies? Fewer than 2 percent of male and female survey respondents said they planned to ditch their careers for family.

“The age-old conventional wisdom that women are leaving to focus on family. We’re just not seeing that in our data,” Thomas said.

What is seen in the data is the possibility that women are overworked because of the responsibilities at home. Fifty-four percent of women reported doing all or most of the work at home versus 22 percent of men, according to the survey. General fatigue could play a part in women's desire to schmooze their way to the top, Thomas said.

 
 
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