Women Breaking Through
IN THIS SUMMARY
Deborah J. Swiss began researching Women Breaking Through with the intention of showcasing organizations that are making a real effort to remove the career roadblocks faced by women at work. But only 17 percent of the 325 women surveyed reported the absence of gender bias at their places of employment. The rest revealed disturbing information about a persistent gap that exists between the equal opportunity policies that organizations espouse and their actual impact on women’s work lives. Despite the media hype and the progressive policies that appear on paper, equal treatment and opportunity in the workplace remain a distant reality: The salary gap continues to mirror the gender gap, and the discrepancy widens as a woman grows older. Moving women into the managerial pipeline has done little to advance deserving ones into senior management. Gender, not talent, is often the deciding factor in who is offered committee leadership or the golden client. Progressive policies on paper are meaningless in the absence of support from top management and line supervisors. A lack of objective performance standards against which everyone is judged perpetuates the double standard. Sexual harassment continues to be a silent partner in maintaining an unsupportive work environment for women. And, gender bias, not parenting responsibilities, is the factor most likely to slow a woman’s advancement. The compelling stories on virtually every page of Women Breaking Through, offer a preview of what Swiss believes will become a critical turning point in the history of women at work, and will inspire any woman who has ever felt her career stalled (just because of her gender) to develop confidence in her ability to contribute to her workplace. Moreover, because Swiss delves deeply into the subtle perceptions of eccentric corporate traditions and identifies the often silent organizational barriers to women’s advancement, the book is also a must read for men who want to understand and help remove these restrictions.