Despite the provocative headline that got you this far, I'm sure there's something to it.

So few women top executives exist that I'm sure there's some "boys club" reason behind it in the board rooms of major corporations where, not coincidentally, there are relatively few women.

But what about female line workers: the female clerks, saleswomen, scientists and engineers. Not the woman who aspires to being the CEO, but the woman who, like most men, just wants to earn a living.

I've often wondered about the statistics and have yet to find an answer to this question: are the statisticians comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges?

Here's what I mean: 

Most men are ready to travel or even relocate away from friends and family if it will improve their career opportunities. I strongly suspect that while many woman are also ready to improve their careers in this way, most women are not. 

I strongly suspect that many women still head toward careers in line with natural feminine inclinations to nurture: teaching, nursing, veterinary care and assistantship jobs, art and craft-oriented jobs.

Add to this some of the disadvantages of women in the workplace such as, greater absenteeism (female health and family commitment reasons), more likely to be a smoker (less likely to give up a break in a crisis situation), and less likely to accept a career move if it means leaving office friends behind, and...

...I wonder what the stats about advancement opportunities and pay would look like if one compared the women who were more like men against their male counterparts.

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I've never been a big fan of the glass ceiling hypothesis as it is a conclusion which was created to describe a situation, and then went in search of evidence to support it. A more scientific way of going about it would be to test it as one factor in a multifactor model, and check it for impact and explanatory power. I have a feeling it would be low impact compared to more relevant factors (such as age, education, experience, motivation, etc), and have less explanatory power the higher the degree of micro focus. 

We are currently running a social experiment in my country since 2003, when it was legislated that the board of directors at listed companies had to have 40% women, or face forced winding up. There was recently an article which found that the law had a significant negative impact on the value of the firm, younger and less experienced boards, increase in debt and acquisitions, and a deterioration in operations. Thus, the underrepresentation which existed before the law came into effect, when only 9% of board members were women, was not merely due to a glass ceiling effect, but a simple lack of qualified women.

As to employees on lower levels I would expect the impact of the glass ceiling to be even less than at the higher echelons. I doubt I'm alone in having found it virtually impossible to get women in below-management positions to hold presentations or take on tasks which aren't directly related to their area of responsibility.

The pay gap shrinks quickly - usually to statistically non-significant values - when you move from a macro to a micro focus. If you add in the value of both monetary and non-monetary benefits, women have substantially higher socio-economic compensation in modern economies. Especially if you add a monetary value to free-time, which women have more of than men.

There are no legal impediments to women succeeding, and whatever social impediments still exist are clearly possible to overcome. To put it as succinctly as possible, it's time for women to man up and stop whining. 

There are no legal impediments to women succeeding, and whatever social impediments still exist are clearly possible to overcome. To put it as succinctly as possible, it's time for women to man up and stop whining. 

Or admit that enough women actually prefer not to compete as hard for higher pay and advancement that it creates bad statistics which leave a false impression that women are getting the shaft in general, whereas the truth is that many women, while they might like more money and opportunities, are less aggressive in negotiating pay and tend more frequently than to turn down opportunities offered. They may also tend to apply for advancement opportunities less frequently.

"less aggressive in negotiating pay"

I saw a report on a study the other day in which it was found that when a job posting specified that salary was negotiable, both genders negotiated equally often. If the posting did not include those word, women usually did not negotiate whereas men did.  I believe there was a 45% gender difference, but I can't seem to find the article now. If you are looking at a macro level the two facts that most government positions usually do not advertise negotiable salary and that women usually hold around 2/3 of all government jobs, things like that can have fairly large effects when measuring differences of average salaries. 

I mean, if you really could pay women less than men, economics dictates that the market would be scoured for women as cheap labor. Even in a world with widespread discrimination, it only takes a handful of companies realizing this and have a lower cost base, thus beating out all the competitors which discriminate.

And, hey, there are advantages to being the lower paid segment of the market. When times get tough and management wants to trim its payroll outlay, if you have one employee of either sex who's paid less but doing the same job as someone else. It's the someone else who's likely to get the sack.

It also must be nice to be sensible enough not to take on jobs that are more likely to kill or permanently harm you, make you work ungodly amount of hours, get cover in coal dust and other hazardous environments, or require a general disregard of family obligation. Women are fairly smart, after all, though they may not make as much on an aggregated average.


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