Here’s the good news: The majority of Americans believe that women are just as capable of being leaders in business and politics as men.
But, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center, there are still big things holding women back. Namely, a double standard as to how much a woman has to achieve before she’s taken seriously in the boardroom or on the ballot. Apparently, the idea of a lady-boss taking charge is just not something a lot of people “believe” in. Thus, the extra work.
About 1,835 people surveyed by Pew weren’t optimistic about the future of more women rising to top positions. More than half believe that men will continue to hang on to top-level positions.
What’s surprising about the study is that most of the people they surveyed don’t point to what are traditionally thought of as obstacles for women going into business or politics. Only seven percent of those surveyed believe that “women don’t make good managers” and only nine percent believe “women are not tough enough.”
Even the well-worn argument about the difficulty maintaining a work-life balance wasn’t the barrier that most people pointed to. Rather, four in every ten people point to a disparity in expectations. “Women seeking to climb to the highest levels of either politics or business. . . have to do more than their male counterparts to prove themselves,” the study noted.
And here’s the kicker, according to the Pew research: “Similar shares say that the electorate and corporate America are just not ready to put more women in top leadership positions.”
Seriously, how are people still not ready?
The survey also saw that despite the overall consensus that women and men are equally capable, about two-thirds of women say that they face gender discrimination today. That definitely needs to change.
But there’s good news along with the obstacles: 73 percent of those surveyed believe that there will be a woman president in their lifetimes. And, yeah, we agree. But, also, a lifetime is a long time to wait.
We need to eliminate gender biases that we know currently exist in the workplace, and start envisioning women in positions of leadership now, not in some distant future.