More False Alarm Over The “The Glass Ceiling”

Every time the New York Times Business Section writers raise alarms over gender discrimination in the workplace, they set the credibility of the issue back a few years.

I have no doubt that women are discriminated against and suffer gender bias at all levels of the workplace. I also know that that such discrimination is obviously hyped, exaggerated, and misrepresented by activists and the news media. How many legitimate public issues are there like that? [Let’s start a list!] Regardless of the answer, when an article about a legitimate problem makes an intelligent reader roll his or her eyes, that issue’s credibility suffers.

This article was titled, The Number of Women at the Top Is Falling: the already small pool of female CEOs decreased by 25% in the past year.

“Oh-oh,” I thought when I read the headline. Since Hillary lost and a non-pro-woman administration along with Republicans is in power, companies feel at liberty to dump their female CEOs who they thought would garner them favor with policy-makers! What was your first thought? 25% is a lot, and doesn’t sound benign. Imagine if, say, 25% of black executives were gone after a single year. Wouldn’t Congress be investigating?

“For many years, it seemed as if the share of women at the top of corporate America would slowly increase over time,” the article says in its third paragraph. “But the number of women leading companies in the Fortune 500 had grown to 6.4 percent last year, a record high, from 2.6 percent a decade earlier.”

“But this year, the number of female chief executives declined 25 percent, according to Fortune’s 2018 list, which was published Monday. There are now 24 women, down from 32. Twelve left their jobs — most recently, Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup Company, who abruptly announced her retirement Friday — and four joined the list”

What happened to the women? “Four said they were retiring; four left after their companies were acquired; two took new jobs, and two were replaced after calls for change from investors.” In other words, of the twelve, only two clearly left when they didn’t want to. There is nothing ominous about that. In fact, the 25% decline appears to be nothing but a statistical anomaly in a small sample size, as in “not worth a huge article in the Times Business Section to make women and feminists upset,”  or in my terms, manipulated, agenda-driven, misleading news that isn’t news at all.

Also called..well, you know.

More from the article:

“The 25 percent decline is so large in part because women’s numbers are so small to start with.”

Then that’s the headline, not “the number is falling.” The number happened to fall, and it easily could go up 25% next year. If it does, what are the odds that the Times won’t have a story that is headlined “The Number Of Women At The Top Is Rising!” when it would be talking about just five jobs….because that would be misleading and incompetent.

“There’s also a phenomenon known as the glass cliff, in which women are more likely to be put in charge of failing companies. But in many ways, the reasons the number of female chief executives is falling are the same reasons there aren’t more of them in the first place.”

Interesting, except that article doesn’t tell us that any of those women who left their jobs left “failing companies.” If that was a factor here, I assume the Times would say so.

“But in many ways, the reasons the number of female chief executives is falling are the same reasons there aren’t more of them in the first place.”

In other words, because women tend to place higher emphasis on life goals other than work, are less likely to gravitate to sales and deal-making, are more risk averse, avoid conflict rather than savor it, have babies, and “women are much more likely to use workplace policies like parental leave, to work part time or to move to less demanding positions because of their family obligations.”

We knew that. Women are different from men, and have often different goals and needs. That’s not a bad thing, but it does have consequences.

Some of those differences, the article reminds us, encourage bias. We know that too. Humans are programmed to see leaders as big, strong and powerful, and this handicaps women, just as it handicaps small, mild-mannered men who might otherwise be effective leaders. (There’s a ceiling for Marco Rubio and Lindsay Graham, too.) And no doubt about it, the species template for a leader is still male. That will change, slowly,the more female leaders we have—the more successful, admirable female leaders we have (Hillary does not help)—but that is not going to happen if the only way women will stick with executive track careers is to demand structural changes men don’t want, don’t need, or aren’t asking for.

As I side note, I found it ironic that in an accompanying article in the same section about the growing disparity between CEOs’ salaries and median employee pay in their companies, the greatest disparity, by far, was Mattel, at 4,987 to 1. Mattel’s CEO is Margaret Geogiadis, a woman.

9 thoughts on “More False Alarm Over The “The Glass Ceiling”

  1. Jack said: “How many legitimate public issued are there like that? [Let’s start a list!] “.
    Claiming universal racism. Racism obviously exists, and will likely always be with us, much like the poor. But, it is no longer the societal norm, and is actually improving daily.

    Requiring the rich to pay “their fair share”. Which is exactly how much? More than Obama paid? Less? If the top 1% of income-earners is paying 50% or more (from memory. Too lazy to look it up), I’d call that a “fair share”, especially since 47% of us are paying no tax at all.

    Obviously, there’s more to the list, but these are good places to start.

    • Do people intentionally cut and paste only sections of posts with typos, or are there literally typos in every sentence I write? And what idiot placed the “s” and the “d” next to each other on the keyboard???

      I’ll add some: School shootings. Police shootings. Climate change. “Hate crimes.” Campus rape and sexual assault.

      • My guess, whoever invented the typewriter. And I have to tell you, even after you mentioned it, I had to search for the typo. Sorry!

        These are ALL good additions to the list.

      • Do people intentionally cut and paste only sections of posts with typos, or are there literally typos in every sentence I write?

        Well, the odds ARE against you here… /snark

  2. In a very real way, the very existence of the glass ceiling is the result of people thinking that equal opportunity and/or equal qualifications (if there is such a thing) actually means equal outcomes – it does not.

    Also, just because it can be argued that there is roughly an “equal” number of females and males in the work force as a whole doesn’t mean that there must be an equal number of females and males in all job positions.

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