The new millennium has
not brought much progress for women seeking top leadership roles in the
workplace. Although female graduates continue to pour out of colleges and
professional schools, the percentages of women running large companies, or
serving as managing partners of their law firms, or sitting on corporate boards
have barely budged in the past decade.
Why has progress
stalled? A recent study suggests the unlikeliest of reasons: the marriage structure
of men in the workplace.
A group of researchers
from several universities recently published a report on the attitudes and
beliefs of employed men, which shows that those with wives who did not work
outside the home or who worked part-time were more likely than those with wives
who worked to: (1) have an unfavorable view about women in the workplace;
(2)think workplaces run less smoothly with more women; (3) view workplaces with
female leaders as less desirable; and (4) conside female candidates for
promotion to be less qualified than comparable male colleagues.
The researchers also
found that the men who exhibited resistance to womens advancement were more
likely to populate the upper echelons of organizations and thus, occupy more
Marriage structures play an important role in economic life beyond the four
walls of the house. They affect how people view gender roles and how they
categorize others. And, as Harvard professor Mahzarin Banaji has documented in
her work, using the Implicit Association Test, this can happen even