Sunday, February 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Women and work: There’s always a job for social engineers

By
From page A2 | May 15, 2012 |

Are these attempts at social engineering ever going to end?

Apparently not when it comes to women and the workforce.

To review: Women now make up the majority of recipients of undergraduate, graduate and even doctoral degrees awarded in the U.S. each year. On average, young college-educated women in most major cities out-earn their male peers, often significantly. The list goes on.

Still, The Wall Street Journal convened a conference recently on Women in the Economy. “Unlocking the full potential of women at work” was the title of a white paper commissioned by the Journal for the conference. Produced by Joanna Barsh and Lareina Yee of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, it’s well-researched — and fascinating. But probably not for reasons Barsh and Yee want it to be.

Sure, it had some interesting findings, including that women don’t typically ask to be promoted into “stretch” roles like male peers do, nor are they as likely to seek mentors at work.

Note to my daughters: Be prepared to step it up in these areas if corporate success is what you want.

But are women allowed to want what they want?

The authors note that while there is still a gender disparity in corporate America at the highest levels, the vast majority of the companies they researched seek to advance women, even into those highest levels. That’s just good business sense. So, for the most part, the authors weren’t beating up on American business.

However, they were busy subtly beating up on women. For instance, most men and women midlevel employees, they found, desire to get to the next level in their organization. But 36 percent of men and only 18 percent of women answered yes to the question, “If anything were possible, I would choose to advance to C-level (CEO, CFO, etc.) management.”

Uh-oh. Wrong answer for the gals.

The authors found that in spite of an investment in women at many firms, frequently “. . . women opted for staff roles, quit, retired or even settled in. Hard-won advances to the executive committee were often followed by departures.” Note some key information: Firms are investing in women and trying to get them to go higher and further. Still, women often freely choose to say “no, thanks,” sometimes after they’ve gotten to the top itself. And that’s a problem, say these authors.

But a problem for whom?

Barsh and Yee reiterated what they found in a previous report, that there are four main “stubborn barriers” to women’s advancement, including lifestyle choices. So, for instance, a woman’s choice to forgo pursuing the brass ring so she can spend more time and energy on her family — a choice no matter how well-informed and free — is now a barrier to be overcome, and a stubborn one at that.

A second is structural. The authors say that sometimes a CEO’s commitment to women was not borne out by the number of women advanced at the firm. But what if that’s the choice of the women, and not the CEO? The third and fourth barriers are individual and institutional mindsets: “Used to successful executives being — and acting like — men, leaders inadvertently hold women to the same standards of behavior.” That is, expecting them to actively pursue “stretch” roles, which they don’t do as often as the guys.

Ahh, now we’re talking. We agree that men and women are different.

What the elites don’t like is how these differences often play out. In fact, the authors note that these four barriers are deeply intertwined and “even harder to eliminate than we had thought.” Ouch.

Look, many women simply choose to slow down or change their work life in favor of their families. Ironically, when a man does the same, the elite culture praises him. Women, well, that has to be fixed.

The conclusion said it all: The authors note that helping talented women develop and advance helps companies, and no doubt women, too. “But,” they write, “too many women don’t want to reach the top. Many love what they do and believe they are making a difference where they are.”

To certain folks, this is a problem to be solved, not a cause for celebration. So then, we do know one thing for sure: When it comes to gender differences, there will always be jobs for the social engineers.

Betsy Hart is the author of the new ebook, “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Reach her through [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fire Department honors top firefighters

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
 
4th annual Health and Wellness Fair a big success

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
 
Banish dry skin this winter

By Sarah Porkka | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

Chocolate: A long journey to deliciousness

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

 
County board to consider DA reorganization plan

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Eurozone offers lesson in debt

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B7

 
Rodriguez graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

From ocean to ocean, through the Panama Canal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
NASA launches Earth-observing satellite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Los Angeles female-only mosque may be first in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California health care contract fight resolved

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man arrested after body parts found in suitcase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Scientist considered father of birth control pill dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
‘Rolled Sleeves Bandit’ tied to 7 bank robberies in custody

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Bay Area agency accuses former official of embezzling $1.3M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Letter with suspicious powder received at Samaritan’s Purse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Snails slither into spa scene in Thailand and around world

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
 
Kerry: ‘Enormous interest in new relationship with Cuba

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Drivers: Return to your dealers for a 2nd air bag recall fix

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Hatfields, McCoys make moonshine legally in southern W.Va.

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Airport authorities: Traveler beats homeless man with chair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

From car lots to city budgets, cheap oil means change

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Africa agrees to send 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
5 given preliminary charges over jihadi network in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Fire devastates major Russian library, threatens rare texts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Swiss police: 4 dead after avalanche hits group of skiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Fire at Bangladesh plastics factory kills at least 13

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Islamic State fighters admit defeat in Syrian town of Kobani

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
British actress Geraldine McEwan dies at age 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Greek leader tamps down rhetoric, vows to pay off debts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Civilians flee east Ukraine town as fighting intensifies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Sound off for Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Good old days weren’t as good as we remember

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Prayer, commonly misunderstood

By The Rev. Rick L. Stonestreet | From Page: C3, 6 Comments

 
Sundance doc pulls back curtain on Scientology

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Feb. 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Volunteer or visit because February is National Salute to Veteran Patients

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Review: ‘First Bad Man’ is Miranda July’s debut novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lorrie Moore nominated for short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book to feature unpublished Hemingway conversations

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Mustangs win the whole Encalada

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Lowest prices on last-minute Super Bowl tickets near $9,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Super Bowl the final act of the NFL’s worst season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seau, Bettis, Brown, Haley, Shields voted into Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Rodgers wins MVP, Watt unanimous top AP defensive player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Lydia Ko takes No. 1 spot at 17, Na Yeon Choi wins opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Laird takes a 3-shot lead in Phoenix Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

On the money: Low gas prices, incentives change math for electric cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Small talk: NFL players find second careers as entrepreneurs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Recalls this week: space heaters, orbital sanders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Sumptuous seaside hotel sells for record-shattering $360M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Review: Open e-book format comes with headaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Obituaries

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joe Lambert Robinson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Flora Mae Brooks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Otilia (Tela) Quinn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

WillIiam “Bill” Hunter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Garry A. Britton

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics