Why smart women still don’t make it up the career ladder

May 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

It might be hard to believe if you are a woman who attends an institute with demographics  like those of Georgia Tech, but women actually comprise a larger percentage of college degree graduates than men do. That means that in terms of education, women are climbing the ladder. They might have had to work harder to get to college by staring down and fighting back against the perils of sexism (and for many the additional obstacles created by racism, ableism, classism, nationalism, and the like) but, by golly, they made it to college and are becoming highly educated. U.S. census data (2010) showed that for the first time in history, more women earned undergraduate and graduate degrees than men.

With all of these historic educational gains for women, one might expect to see those gains being reflected post-graduation as well. Not so, says feminist journalist and author Courtney E. Martin,  “While nearly half of law schools grads are women, only about 16 percent of equity partners at the top 200 largest law firms are. Nearly one-third of MBAs are earned by women today, but corporate boards of Fortune 100 companies are still comprised of just 15 percent women. About half of those earning MFAs are women, and yet about 23 percent of solo shows in New York galleries feature work done by women.”

In a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, Martin breaks down why things aren’t looking so rosy for women after they graduate. She identifies and explores several reasons ranging from, ” the last vestiges of old-fashioned patriarchy – job opportunities doled out over beers with buddies, unexamined misogyny in hiring and promotion practices, and blind eyes turned left and right to sexual harassment,” to women downplaying their own successes and strengths.

For more on Martin’s fantastic article go here.


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