Proof versus potential: Why women must work harder to move up
IIn her 2013 book Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg claimed that most men would apply for positions when they met just 60% of the requirements, while women would only apply if they met 100% of them. Sandberg’s claim was later debunked, due to its basis on anecdotal evidence rather than hard data – yet the sketchy statistic just wouldn’t go away.
It’s since been quoted in dozens of viral posts, articles and books, and is regularly used to prove that men’s potential is somehow more valued than women’s. Something about the idea resonated so deeply with people that its lack of factual backing didn’t seem to matter – it spoke to a phenomenon people were seeing and experiencing in their own lives.
Now, emerging research points to why the idea that women’s potential is judged differently to men’s rang true for so many women. A new study has shown women are consistently judged as having less leadership potential than their male counterparts, making them 14% less likely to be promoted each year. The research, which looked at a large North American retail chain, showed that even though women scored better performance ratings, they tended to receive low ‘potential scores’ – a measure of how much their managers believed that they would grow and develop in future.
Proof versus potential: why women must work harder to move up.