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2020-03-26T18:27:39Z
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The standard work/family narrative is an outdated excuse for what holds women back. Ask people to explain why women remain so dramatically underrepresented in the senior ranks of most companies, and you will hear from the vast majority a lament that goes something like this: High-level jobs require extremely long hours, women’s devotion to family makes it impossible to put in those hours, and so their careers inevitably suffer. Not so, say the authors, who spent 18 months working with a global consulting firm that wanted to know why it had so few women in positions of power. Although virtually every employee the authors interviewed related a form of the standard explanation, the firm’s data told a different story. Women weren’t being held back because of trouble balancing work and family; men, too, suffered from that problem and nevertheless advanced. Women were held back because they were encouraged to take accommodations, such as going part-time and shifting to internally facing roles, which derailed their careers. The real culprit in women’s stalled advancement, the authors conclude, is a general culture of overwork that hurts both sexes and locks gender equality in place. To solve this problem, they argue, we must reconsider what we’re willing to allow the workplace to demand of all employees. --------------------------------------------------------------------- At Harvard Business Review, we believe in management. If the world’s organizations and institutions were run more effectively, if our leaders made better decisions, if people worked more productively, we believe that all of us — employees, bosses, customers, our families, and the people our businesses affect — would be better off. So we try to arm our readers with ideas that help them become smarter, more creative, and more courageous in their work. We enlist the foremost experts in a wide range of topics, including career planning, strategy, leadership, work-life balance, negotiations, innovation, and managing teams. Harvard Business Review empowers professionals around the world to lead themselves and their organizations more effectively and to make a positive impact. Sign up for Newsletters: https://hbr.org/email-newsletters Follow us: https://hbr.org/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/harvard-business-review/ https://www.facebook.com/HBR/ https://twitter.com/HarvardBiz https://www.instagram.com/harvard_business_review
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