Book

The Myth: Irresistible Market forces direct more women than men away from leadership.  The Principle: Leave the past behind – the Market is something we create, not a force of nature.

Bridging the Gender Gap picks up where Lean In left off, challenging everyone, not just corporate women, to make the changes necessary to achieve a more equal distribution of men and women in positions of power and leadership in companies, universities, governments – all sectors of economic and political life. The book shows how 7 popular myths about men, women, business, and leadership not only perpetuate the gender gap, but are bad for business, bad for the economy, and bad for governance.

The book presents compelling cases showing that many people in positions of power and influence do not believe they can or should do anything to help close the gender gap. They tend to believe that they are up against insurmountable forces of nature, society, or the Market, or a combination of all three. The result of that kind of thinking? A stubbornly persistent gender gap.

Bridging the Gender Gap draws on the latest research on gender in sociology, psychology, history, economics, management, politics, law, and philosophy to dismantle the 7 myths perpetuating the behaviors and beliefs that prevent us from closing the gender gap. Based on this research and their own case studies, the authors provide 7 guiding principles to guide and empower individual decisions, action and behavior that will help narrow or even close the gender gap in leadership and employment.

The Myths

  1. Irresistible Market forces direct more women than men away from leadership.
  2. Genetic or neurobiological differences make men and women better at different things.
  3. Men become leaders because they’re competitive, selfish, and aggressive, while women are generous, cooperative, and helpful.
  4. Women just aren’t ambitious or confident enough.
  5. Employers should not do anything that offends women who do not support measures to close the gender gap.
  6. Measures intended to close the gender gap create conflicts and bad feelings between men and women.
  7. If an organization doesn’t get sued for sex discrimination, it’s doing enough.

The Principles

  1. Leave the past behind

The Market is something we create, not a force of nature.

  1. Bring men and women back to Earth.

No matter what people wearing lab coats say, differences among men as a group or among women as a group are greater than between men and women.

  1. If it feels right, it might be wrong

Relying on your own personal experiences with boys and men or with girls and women may feel comfortable, but it is not a good basis for decision-making.

  1. Ambition is genderless.

Ambition flourishes only when achievement is recognized – and girls and women are too often recognized only for attractiveness and kindness.

  1. Expect opposition – and prepare for it.

We need to close the gender gap not because all women – or all men – want  to, but because it is better for everyone if we do.

6.  Make peace, not war.

Closing the gender gap will benefit both men and women, and it requires cooperation between them.

  1. The law is not enough.

Sex discrimination lawsuits address a much narrower range of conduct than the actions and behaviors that perpetuate the gender gap.

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