Women in High Places Perch on ‘Glass Cliff’

When The Times, a UK newspaper, reported that women in
high-level corporate jobs were failures, cursing their companies
with sub-par performance, Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam decided to
investigate the article’s claims. The gender researchers from the
University of Exeter found that while women were generally
under-represented in the business world, they were over-represented
in high-risk positions, suggesting the presence of a ‘glass cliff’
for those who penetrated the ever present ‘glass ceiling.’

Ryan and Haslam discovered that women are more likely to get
significant career advancement when a job has a higher probability
of failure, while men are more likely to be recruited into stable
positions. Despite these rigged odds, many women have risen to the
challenge. In fact, 63 percent of women given inherently risky jobs
actually increased company performance after five months (the
newspaper article in question had only looked at short-term
performance). The glass cliff is still a precarious place to find
oneself, however. Often, once the difficult task at hand has been
accomplished, a man is positioned to reclaim the post. While other
women find they’re in power just long enough to take the fall for
the sins of their predecessors.
Brendan Themes

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