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Ingrid Hägele - LMU Munich
Thursday 01 December 2022, 02:30pm - 04:00pm

The Broken Rung: Gender and the Leadership Gap"

Abstract: Women are vastly underrepresented in leadership positions, but little is known about when and why gender gaps in career progression first emerge in the leadership hierarchy. I collect new data from a large multinational firm that combines detailed personnel records with the universe of internal application and job vacancies. By constructing a granular measure of job hierarchy, I document that women at lower hierarchy levels are 29% less likely to apply for promotions. No such gap sexist among employees who already hold leadership positions, indicating the presence of a broken rung rather than a glass ceiling. Both realized application patterns and large-scale surveys at the firm reveal that taking on leadership of a team is less appealing to women than men at lower hierarchy levels. This difference is large and not explained by a range of other factors, such as family status, risk preferences, or confidence. These findings suggest that the current architecture of leadership positions is an impediment to equal representation

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