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In 1963 and 1964, two landmark acts — the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — brought the promise of great change for women in the U.S. workforce. But 55 years later, the gender pay gap persists across all levels of the organization, and the lack of women at the top of organizations is acute. Less than 5% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. While this gender imbalance is frustrating for women across all industries and jobs, the disparity in representation and pay is especially pronounced for women of color.
As a recent New York Times article points out, women often find themselves in a double bind as they navigate the corporate landscape — where exhibiting the same kinds of leadership qualities as their male counterparts can both propel them and set them back. Other research points to how the horizontal sorting of women and men into different job categories in the hiring process hinders women not only with glass ceilings but also “glass walls.”
The following collection of MIT Sloan Management Review articles provides insights and research into some of today’s leading issues for women in the workforce — from the subtle but pernicious biases that complicate an already complex hiring process (and how technology can play a role in fixing this problem) to the importance of women gaining not only a seat at the table but influence and agency.
In both practice and research, we are doing a better job at bringing attention to the problem of gender bias. But we haven’t established enough tangible suggestions for how to challenge it. New research has begun to investigate the efficacy of scripts — a set of words or phrases, such as, “Can you repeat what you just said?” that would signal to a peer that he has crossed a line, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
Kimberly A. Whitler and Deborah A. Henretta
The number of women on corporate boards has risen substantially over the past decade, but the growth rate is slowing. Authors Kimberly A. Whitler and Deborah A.