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Prior Catalyst research reveals that women and men senior executives have the same ambition and employ similar success strategies; yet, the gender gap in business leadership persists. Why? Women executives report that they face an additional layer of cultural and environmental barriers to their achievement, which men only infrequently experience. Chief among these barriers is stereotyping.

Women “Take Care,” Men “Take Charge:” Stereotyping of U.S. Business Leaders Exposed marks the first in a series of studies Catalyst is undertaking to examine and address the most formidable barriers to women’s advancement in the workplace. The study presents evidence of gender stereotyping in senior managers’ evaluations of women and men leaders. Catalyst launched this study, the first in a series on stereotyping, to help companies address this a particular barrier to women’s advancement in the workplace.

The 296 corporate leaders who participated in this study (128 men, 168 women) are part of a panel of senior leaders participating in a learning project run by Dr. Theresa Welbourne at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. The study reveals that:

  • Gender-based stereotyping persists in the workplace.
  • This stereotyping can misrepresent the true talents of women leaders, potentially undermining women’s leadership and posing serious challenges to their career advancement.

Sponsor: General Motors Corporation