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 think the glass ceiling, if it exists, applies mostly to women with executive aspirations. That females are rare in the executive offices and boardrooms of the nation shows there is one there. 

I'm talking about the line worker women. I think such women often don't really want advancement to the degree their male counterparts do. Also, due to various disadvantages many women bring with them, they tend to be of less value to the employer. 

I have never seen any indication that the researchers offering statistics regarding male vs female advancement and pay have adjusted their samples to compare men and women with roughly equivalent work aspirations and attitudes as well as equivalent availability to relocate, travel for work, and put in overtime.

Until such sampling is done, not only might we find that the differential is far smaller, but we'd have a path women could follow to increase their pay and advancement potential.

One difference may remain however. I think when a manager, male OR female hires a young woman, s/he probably sees in her a far greater potential to leave the job due to pregnancy or marriage. Very few men quit work once they find a mate and virtually none of them go to work with the thought of meeting their future mate on the job. It may happen, but almost no men approach work with that in the back of their mind. This might hold women back in some companies.

Couples can make one income work if they put their mind to it: moving to a small town, growing their own vegetables, raising chickens, fishing, smoking meat and fish, giving up various luxuries. But not if they have to have a recent model car, a house or apartment beyond their means, etc.

a lot of women are becoming the "breadwinners" it's not because they want to be

Does anyone really want to be a "breadwinner"? I'd certainly rather work from home for free on charity or open source projects than work for someone else's profit. Unfortunately for me, the breads must be won.

It would be great if you could just sit at home and post on and collect cash. Oh, yeah. That's me. Now if only Social Security was enough to live on. And I have a dependent: a cute tuxedo cat named Squeaky.

May I ask why it is either/or and why the choice falls to one sex but not the other?

A glass ceiling is an obstruction for promotion, not a choice by the woman to stay in the 'traditional' homemaking role.

True, but I wonder if the "obstruction" is always from above or do many women place their job in a priority behind family, friends, and significant other that results in reducing their value to their employer, and that that might be the cause of the ceiling. Not always, but often enough to make statistics hard to interpret.

We really need studies comparing advancement opportunities for women and men who are equal in terms of drive, willingness to take on responsibilities, willingness to put in overtime, unwillingness to take time off, and who have comparable negotiating skills. 

Equal pay for equal work is a flawed concept. It should be equal pay for equal value to the organization.

You said that you think women (omitting men) should always choose their family over their career. I wonder are women who want careers necessarily choosing career over family and if so do you apply this same thought to men who want careers?

Always? I missed that. Where is that?

...a lot has to do with women choosing their family over work/career.  I also think that's the way it should be.

She didn't say it specifically, but that was the overall tone of the message: Women should choose family over career.

Always implies an eternally true statement. What should be can be in local time. 

how literal :)

It does help me understand you a bit better and I have no doubt that you're a wonderful mother.

What I do question, however, is the notion that these traits are sex-linked and can be generalized to all women and men. I think that families and love and care and fulfillment come in all shapes and sizes for both men and women. I think a man is no less a man if he finds purpose in caring for his family, and a woman no less a women if she finds purpose in a career. I think that the conversation needs to move toward more acceptance and less judgement for women to truly have the ability to choose what works best for her and her situation.


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