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Female Office Leadership: A Limited Track

Digested from "Is there a hidden quota for women bosses?" (4/25/15) Ang, Jerene

Although CEOs are actively encouraging the hiring of more women into leadership roles, women may face more barriers to the executive suites than previously thought, according to new research from the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Rather than intensifying interest in women executives, the hiring or promotion of women into senior-level positions may actually prevent more women from obtaining these roles within the same company. 

The research notes the possible presence of a hidden quota effect—namely, once one woman moves into a position of power, the likelihood of another woman doing the same at the company drops by 50 percent. The supposition is that male executives assume that, because they've already hired a female executive, there's no need to actively pursue hiring another woman for a senior-level position.

The conclusion is that there should be continual pressure to promote female presence in executive positions to emphasize that it's not a one-and-done deal.

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