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Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore
Chapter 22: Factors supporting women’s career advancement: differences between male and female CEOs in the United States
Since the Department of Labor issued its ‘Glass Ceiling’ report (US Department of Labor, 1991) the question regarding why women have not attained senior positions in large US corporations lingers. Women have successfully entered what were once male-dominated professions such as law and medicine; however, they continue to face difficulties in obtaining top positions in business organizations. Catalyst (2012) reported that as of 1 January 2012, only 18 women were heads of Fortune 500 companies and 35 in total were chief executive officers (CEOs) of Fortune 1000 companies. This represented slightly more than 0.5 percent change since 2008 (Catalyst, 2009). Some research suggests that societal expectations, stereotyping, lack of experience, organizational culture and family needs create obstacles for women to succeed in attaining top positions (Crampton and Mishra, 1999; Reinhold, 2005; Wrigley, 2002). Other studies suggest that certain factors are needed to facilitate women’s career advancement, including the existence of mentors, cultivating networks, overseas assignments, general management/line experience and critical and visible assignments (Crampton and Mishra, 1999; La Pierre and Zimmerman, 2012; Marlow etal., 1995; Ragins et al., 1999).
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