Traditional Gender Roles: Still Relevant?

In this current climate of over inclusion, why are traditional gender role expectations still hindering women from becoming or even fully experiencing leadership roles within large corporations? Every other day or article you read, the general public is being re-educated about appropriate pronouns by which to address individuals as well as populations. One would be lead to believe that America and I will go as far as to say the world is really embracing equality in all aspects for women and men. One would venture further to say that America really gets it and we are leading the way to gender equality. Then we turn on the news and listen to the President of the United States hurl insults at minorities and women as if he was at a neighborhood bar. While it is evident that the most “democratic” country in the world is still struggling with gender equality in the workplace and most other places as well, we are still left to wonder who is getting right. It was surprising to find out where the most female CEO’s were in existence. I bet you never would have never guessed India would be the leader.

Most notable is Indra Nooyi, CEO and chairperson of Pepsico. She helped turn Pepsi into one of the most successful food and beverage companies in the world. Sales grew 80% during her 12-year tenure. She spearheaded Pepsi’s transition to a greener, more environmentally aware company. She recently announced her departure from PepsiCo likely for one of the reasons listed below. Clearly there is no shortage of qualified female CEO’s.

After sifting through countless surveys and studies I was able to piece together a short list of why most women and some men reported they thought female CEO’s were becoming so scarce.

  1. Women have to take greater responsibility for nurturing the family and the children and this keeps on increasing as they grow and advance in their professional careers. This survey was taken by men and women.
  2. 23% of the CEOs felt they were no longer keen to live with the stress inherent in the leadership roles. Their aggression, drive and commitment to career growth slow-down as other personal priorities take center stage.
  3. 20% of the respondents cited the main cause was that their growth and choices are governed by cultural and historical factors and well-entrenched (but unwritten biases) prevalent in the societies where they work.

Based on all of the information out there about where the female CEO’s are largely concentrated and why the numbers are so low, we can only resign ourselves to the most primal perspective. Traditional gender role expectations are in full force world-wide. Some countries are allowing women more liberty in the workplace but by and large women still have more of the glass ceiling to break. To answer the original question, yes they are indeed.