With all of the focus on women in the workplace that the Lean In movement generated, a natural area for investigation is the lady boss. With all the encouragement for women to strive for the corner office, there is bound to be exploration into what it’s like to work for, and have a woman in charge. Luckily, there is Gallup poll data evaluating how people in 2013 feel about working for a woman instead of a man when compared to how they felt in 1953. As you’d imagine, there have been some noticeable changes.
The Atlantic analyzed the data, and found a few interesting trends. First, more than half of all people (in all of the demographic groupings) preferred a lady boss, as opposed to earlier times when 2/3 of people preferred working under men. Surprisingly, one of the two groups with the lowest percentage of people wanting female leadership was women. The other group, somewhat unsurprisingly, was Republicans. Finally, there are two groups who want a woman in charge more than the others: Democrats, and people who have previously had a female boss. That, to me, says once you try it, you’ll probably like it– all the more ammunition to give women more access to leadership positions.
Are you all pumped up after reading Lean In, and vying for that corner office? If you have your eye on a C-suite job (think COO, CEO, or CFO), then you might want to look into working for a company where the current C-suite staff is female or composed of men with children – specifically daughters. Research has found that when high-level executives are fathers to little girls, they are more likely to pave the way for female equality in the work place. They are looking out for their daughter’s futures, and have been shown to be more apt to give women in their company higher salaries and more access to leadership positions, effectively working towards closing the gender gap. These men are looking forward at the opportunities that will be available when their children reach working age, and trying to improve access for women at top levels.
I recently read Lean In by Cheryl Sandberg, and in one chapter she mentions how her generation chose to distance themselves from feminists, even if their beliefs were aligned. Feminist was seen as something of an epithet associated with bra burning and unshaven legs. While Sandberg has long since realized the error of this stereotype, and happily identifies as a feminist, many other women still avoid being associated with the dirty word. Now, the new site Onward and F-word has emerged to advocate for feminism from men and women, to expand the audience who embraces feminism. They have blog posts, rising women’s rights activists, and additional resources. Check it out!