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Poll: Female exec shortage caused by work/life ‘choice’

Wednesday, May 15, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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More people believe the scarcity of female corporate executives is caused by women opting out of careers than by gender discrimination, according to the results of a recent poll by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Twenty-eight percent of the respondents to the April 2013 poll said "women’s tendency to choose family over career” is the main factor driving the low percentage of female executives in the corporate world. Eighteen percent blamed "gender discrimination” and 5 percent said the gender gap is due to women "not comfortable being as aggressive as men.”

Forty-two percent of respondents said "all of the above” reasons contributed to the lack of women leaders.

"It is disingenuous to say women tend to choose family over career,” commented poll respondent Vanessa Aguinaga. "Plenty of men, and a rising number of women, have both. The way the choice is framed is different for women, starting with the fact that it is viewed as a choice.”

Catherine Barrier, another poll commenter, agreed that viewing family vs. career as a "choice” is unfairly weighted as a women’s issue. "I never hear of anyone talking about how men have to choose between staying home with the kids/devoting themselves more to the family and having a successful career.”

Differing professional styles can also be blamed for gender disparity in today’s executive circles, some poll respondents said. "In my experience, women tend to work differently and when they are outnumbered, they are overpowered or misunderstood. It's a shame how often many corporate organizations and teams don't get the best ideas or best employees because of this dynamic,” said Ellen Gannaway Lail.

Another poll respondent viewed the lack of female executives as a self-perpetuating problem. "People sponsor people like themselves and those folks have traditionally been white males,” said Stephanie Jeter Hill.



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