Are Women More Focused on Building Rather than Breaking?

Since 1960, when women only accounted for 39 percent of the undergraduate population, women’s relative numbers in college have steadily increased. According to Goldin et al. (2006), women are the majority of U.S. college students overall and they receive the bulk of bachelor’s degrees. This trend isn’t limited to the U.S. – in fact, it’s prevalent in most rich countries.

However, a shrinking gender gap in higher education has not had the same effect on the gender gap in the corporate world, a conundrum The Atlantic highlighted in “Why Isn’t Better Education Giving Women More Power?” In 2010, Forbes reported that of the 500 companies on their list, only 15 were run by female chief executives. In other words, women only accounted for 3%. Although still relatively small, the number recently increased to 20, leading some to label 2012 as a “standout year” for women in business.

So, why aren’t the successes in higher education translating into more female leadership in the corporate sector? Are more women opting to build their own businesses instead of trying to break the “glass ceiling”?

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