The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All The Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?

Catalyst's longitudinal project, The Promise of Future Leadership: A Research Program on Highly Talented Employees in the Pipeline, develops timely reports on the retention and advancement of high potential women and men. The project surveys graduates of leading business schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, with the intent of assessing their career values, goals, and expectations, the developmental opportunities afforded them, and their strategies for managing work and family life. The reports highlight the differences in women's and men's career experiences and satisfaction; some feature perspectives from global leaders and other experts.

The fourth report,The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All the Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?, tackles persistent myths about the gender gap. Career advancement strategies used by women and men were compared to determine if using the same strategies ultimately leads to the same career outcomes. Findings revealed that:
  • Men benefited more from adopting proactive strategies.
  • When women did all the things they have been told will help them get ahead—using the same tactics as men—they still advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth.
The report includes a series of questions for the reader to reflect upon about why disparities in career advancement may exist and persist. The goal is to help identify opportunities for effecting change in your career and organization.  
 
Author: Nancy M. Carter and Christine Silva
Published: September 2011
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URL: 
http://www.catalyst.org/publication/509/42/the-myth-of-the-ideal-worker-does-doing-all-the-right-things-really-get-women-ahead
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