Female and male bosses promote women at the same rate
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Having women in managerial roles does not remedy gender
inequality in the workplace, according to "Women in Charge: The Impact of
Female Managers on Gender Inequality,” a new research paper by an MIT doctoral
The amount a woman earns or the level of the job she holds
is not improved by having a woman manager, according to the study, which
examined data from 68 branches of a large U.S. bank.
MIT doctoral student Mabel Abraham gathered data from a
large bank where 44 percent of branch managers were women and approximately three-fourths
of the total staff at all branches were female. She studied five job positions
in each branch, from tellers at the low end of the wage scale, to mid-level officers,
to executives, according to a Forbes analysis of the study.
The women studied earned on average 83 percent as much as
men, as women tended to hold positions at the low end of the pay scale, while
men were disproportionately represented at the upper end. Specifically, women
made up 82 percent of tellers and 83 percent of bank representatives, but only
38 percent of executives and 44 percent of relationship managers, Forbes
reported. The pattern of gender inequality held true whether the branch manager
was male or female.
Still, the study found one way female managers make a
difference for workers: Women bosses are more willing to grant flexible work
arrangements. Employees working for women managers were 2.25 times more likely
to work part time as those reporting to male managers. However, men and women
reaped this benefit more or less equally, Forbes reported.
"Because women fear that others will not perceive them as
valuable members of the organization, they will be less apt to support other
women within the organization,” Abraham speculated, citing other research. In short,
managers may be afraid to promote and advocate for women because they don’t
want to risk a negative judgment.