Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Impact of Gender Bias on Career Progression
Jasmijn C. Bol & Hila Fogel-Yaari, Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Impact of Gender Bias on Career Progression
Despite focused efforts, the pay gap persists, and women are under-represented in upperlevel management and high-level government positions (Korn, Weber, and Fuller 2022; Horowitz, Igielnik, and Parker 2018). It is often suggested that the “glass ceiling,” which describes top positions being inaccessible to women, is the root cause of women not being equally represented at the highest levels. To “shatter the glass ceiling,” social and regulatory pressure is put on companies to hire women for top executive positions and the board of directors (Jamali 2020; Srinidhi, Sun, Zhang, and Chen 2020; Orbach 2017). We posit, however, that “shattering the glass ceiling” is not enough because the challenges for women start early on and are present throughout women’s career progressions. They begin at the initial application for a job and continue through the hiring decision, task allocation, and subsequent evaluation and promotion. These persistent disadvantages throughout women’s careers are referred to as “sticky floors” (Ciminelli, Schwellnus, and Stadler 2021). Moreover, not only are these challenges ongoing, but they also manifest in numerous ways. Some of these manifestations of gender differentiation would not make a big difference by themselves, but in accumulation, can have a significant impact on women’s careers (Hardy, Tey, Cyrus-Lai, Martell, Olstad, and Uhlmann 2022). We describe this impact of the ongoing and multifaceted gender differentiations as a professional “death by a thousand cuts.” In this chapter, we examine the theoretical underpinning of gender bias and discuss
the empirical evidence that shows these ongoing challenges for women.