Women have made incredible gains in both educational access and workplace rights in recent decades. Women workers can bring advanced degrees and years of hard-earned experience to the table when seeking top positions, like executive roles.
Unfortunately, there are still cultural expectations that can undermine the success of even the most driven women in professional environments. In the minds of many people, household duties like cooking, cleaning and child care are still the obligation of the woman in a household.
Despite increasing social expectations for partners of both genders to share a housework, the fact is that women still perform more unpaid labor around the home than men do in most families. This lack of parity can have dire consequences for women with executive aspirations.
The people evaluating you will think about your home life when making a decision
Whether you apply for a promotion at your current employer or send out your resume to a different business, people from management, human resources and possibly even the executive team will look at your resume and work history to determine if you might be a good fit for the role.
Executive roles in particular often demand overtime on the weekend and long hours throughout the week. If those evaluating your application have an internal bias that tells them women should do more of the unpaid domestic work, they may think of you as being less available than male applicants with similar credentials.
In other words, the idea that you will be the one staying home with the baby or managing the laundry for your three children could undermine your ability to move forward in your career, even if your spouse stays home or your hire that work out to others.
What can you do when you hit the glass ceiling?
Discrimination because of gender-based assumptions about household responsibilities is only one of many contributing factors that keep women out of the top-paying and most authoritative jobs.
If you can show that your company seems to discriminate against women at a certain level of employment, you may be able to hold them accountable for discriminating against you by going to court. Not only will such an effort benefit you but it may also protect other women who seek advancement at the company in the future.