"The day will come when men will recognize women as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race." (http://www.leadershipforwomen.com.au/quotes.htm, 12.11.2007)
This quote by Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), a pioneer of the American women’s movement, clarifies the situation of women, not only in leading positions. Even by this day men tend to outweigh women in most leading positions in science, politics and the corporate world. Obviously there is a significant problem for women to climb the professional ladder. But what are the reasons for this and are there any chances to counteract this development? To minimize the complexity I am going to exemplify this problem along managers, university professors and politicians in Germany.
First, I am going to illustrate the status quo and clarify this status on the basis of wages. Afterwards I will give some explanations for this problem. I am fully aware of the existence of several more possible explanations, but because of the results of various studies and surveys I will concentrate on some social and structural explanations. At the end I will suggest some methods of resolution.
Before writing this essay I examined the situation by conducting a web-based survey, in which I interviewed 32 women and 31 men between the ages of 19 and 27 who are currently studying or doing an apprenticeship.
In this survey one of my questions was whether they thought plans to start a family or stereotypes of society could have an influence on their career. Furthermore if they thought women were less capable of assuming position of leadership than men are due to a lack of typical manager-characteristics like authority/assertiveness, toughness and remoteness.
Surprisingly 75% of women and 84% of men claim not to be influenced by society’s