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Study Shows Women Breadwinners Are 'Proud' But Keep Financial Role in Household Private

Simmons Study Also Finds Female Breadwinners and Partners Often Don't Discuss Women's Lead Financial Role; Women Breadwinners Still Retain Majority of Home and Childcare Responsibilities

Despite the booming number of women serving as household breadwinners, a new study of mid-to-senior level businesswomen found that although these women are "proud" of this role, most keep it hidden from family, friends, and employers.

The study also showed that women often take on this role over time without an explicit discussion with their partners, and still contribute to a majority of home and childcare duties.

Research Findings | Thought Leadership

Are You Doing Invisible Work?

disappearing_acts_bookcover.jpgIn September, the Women's Initiative Forum hosted a fascinating discussion with Joyce Fletcher on the subject of Invisible Work. Download her article Invisible Work: The Disappearing of Relational Practice at Work in CGO Insights 35.

Dr. Fletcher started the discussion by stating that relational skills are needed in today's workplace, and women are well positioned to operate in that way in the global economy. Unfortunately there is a disconnect - there is acceptance that those skills are needed, but in practice they often aren't seen as work, and are therefore invisible.

Her research showed that:

  • Women often used relational skills intentionally and strategically to support the work; it wasn't about being nice. However, often the people who work this way aren't seen as having leadership potential.
  • The relational work may get 'disappeared' because people misinterpret the intention. It is seen as thoughtful or nice, not strategic. Even the language used to describe the work tends to feminize or soften it. Words like helping, caring, sharing are not seen as strong (like competent, for example). It is seen as something women do because they like to do it, and conflated with femininity or motherhood. The problem with being seen as motherly is that there's no sense of reciprocity with mothers - so a woman who is collaborative might be expecting reciprocity, but if her behavior is conflated with motherhood, that may not be the expectation of the other person.
  • If you are female but don't have a lot of relational skills, you get into a double bind.

Research Findings

Career Choices of Middle Schoolers Tend to be Highly Gendered

Simmons College and Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Study Illustrates Impact of Societal Influences, Suggests Significant Effect on Future Workforce.

Most middle school students are listening when their parents tell them to aim for "whatever career makes you happy." However, a new survey found that although girls have strong career aspirations, they view their options as being more limited than boys, and ignore non-traditional fields such as emerging and more highly paid careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Research Findings

CGO TJX Speaker Series: How Status-Based Counter Tactics Can Block Organizational Change

"Gender, Status and Organizational Change: How Status-Based Counter Tactics Can Block Organizational Change" Event, October 1, 2012

A workshop with Kate Kellogg, MBA, PhD

Dual agenda change efforts linking equity and effectiveness are the hallmark of what we call the "CGO approach" to challenging gendered organizations. Professor Kellogg's recent research in surgical units of two prestigious hospitals advances our understanding of dual agenda change in some unexpected ways.

Research Findings

SOM Funds New CGO Research Stream

CGO is pleased to announce that the School of Management is funding a year-long research effort:  Gender in All Its Complexities:  Using the Simultaneity Model to Explore Multiple Differences and Gender Intersections in Organizations. Headed by CGO scholar, Evangelina Holvino, this research project will engage CGO Affiliates based both at the School of Management and other institutions in the application of this model through a variety of activities and events such as seminars, research, and publications. The simultaneity model views differences as multiple, interacting and continuously shaped by the organizational and societal processes of race, gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity and nation, among other social differences. The project goal is to deepen the scholarship in this area to more fully inform the education of women and advance gender equity in all its complexity in all types of organizations. CGO thanks SOM Dean Cathy Minehan for her support of this innovative research project.

Research Findings

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