Harvard Family, Work Survey Points To High Expectations, Disappointing Results For Women

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Women are making a very slow march toward equality, and the progress is slow even for high powered, successful women who graduate from the Harvard Business School.

First, the good news: A little over half a century ago, the Harvard Business School was men only. Today, women make up 41 percent of the class of 2016. So, that sounds like progress.

But when 7,000 business school alumni were asked how career priorities and child care were split between husbands and wives, their answers didn't sound like progress. According to the survey, most women expected their careers to be as important as their husbands' and that they would share child care equally. But in general, that didn't happen.

Meanwhile, most men expected their careers to take precedence over their wives' and, for the most part, that did happen.


Robin Ely, senior associate dean for culture and community at Harvard Business School. She worked on the survey and is a professor of business administration.

Monica Galizzi, senior associate at UMass Lowell's Center for Women and Work, and a professor of economics.


Harvard Business Review: Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women

  • "As researchers who have spent more than 20 years studying professional women, we have watched with interest the recent surge in attention paid to women’s careers, work-family conflict, and the gender gap in leadership."

The New York Times: Even Among Harvard Graduates, Women Fall Short Of Their Work Expectations

  • "Women are not equally represented at the top of corporate America because of the basic facts of motherhood: Even the most ambitious women scale back at work to spend more time on child care. At least, that is the conventional wisdom."

This segment aired on December 19, 2014.


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