What Prevents Women from Reaching the Top?
57 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2016 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 27, 2019
We use exceptionally rich data on all business, economics, and engineering graduates in Sweden to study women’s career progression and its causes. A wide range of observables do not explain the lack of women in top executive positions. Instead, slow career progression in the five years after the first childbirth substantially contributes to the female disadvantage. During this period, women work on average shorter hours than men and are more often absent from work. Among the minority of graduates who eventually reach an executive position, women appear to be better qualified than men. Aspiring women may thus need to outperform men to overcome the barriers related to family life.
Keywords: CEOs, top executives, gender gap, career, family, qualifications
JEL Classification: G34, J16; J24; J31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation