Women in Corporate America: Is this 2013 or 1953?


Is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg really complaining — in 2013 — that “only” 14 percent of executive officers are female, that women earn 77 cents compared to a dollar earned by men, and that women hurt their own advancement by failing to “lean in” and become more assertive?

Is this 2013 or 1953?

In her new book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” Sandberg writes that “while women continue to outpace men in educational achievement,” women over the last 10 years have “ceased making real progress” in the top ranks of “corporate America.”

That’s quite an assertion — especially since it isn’t true.

Is it not the case that almost 60 percent of college students are women, and that females earn the majority of doctorates and master’s degrees? Is it not true that in most large U.S. cities, single, childless women in their 20s now out-earn young men?

What about the fact that 40 percent of working wives out-earn their spouses — up more than 50 percent from just 20 years ago? But for the media’s infatuation with then-Sen. Barack Obama, and their resultant failure to properly vet him, Hillary Rodham would have become America’s 44th president. She remains a frontrunner to become the 45th.

True, more men than women choose to go into the higher-paying fields of science, technology, engineering and math. But is “gender discrimination” — rather than deliberate choice — preventing women from pursuing those fields?

Let’s examine Sandberg’s assertion that she’s seen no “real progress” in 10 years, and that the numbers of female board members, CEOs and executive officers have “stagnated.”

Catalyst, a feminist nonprofit devoted to women in business, issues an annual report on the state of women in Fortune 500 companies. In 2002, women held 7.9 percent of executive officer positions in Fortune 500 companies. Ten years later, in 2012, women comprised 14.3 percent of executive officer positions. In 2002, America had six female CEOs in the Fortune 500. By 2012, there were 21 CEOs. The 2002 Catalyst report found females comprised 12.4 percent of those on the Fortune 500 boards of directors. In 2012, women held 16.6 percent of board seats. This is an increase of 34 percent. Not bad for lack of “real progress.”

Finally, let’s address Sandberg’s absurd assertion that women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men while doing the same work. Why would any employer, male or female, “overpay” men when women can and will do the same work with the same level of productivity — but for nearly 25 percent less money?!

Economist June O’Neill, former head of the respected Congressional Budget Office, specializes in labor matters. Over a decade ago, O’Neill, analyzed the alleged “gender pay gap” by comparing apples to apples. That is, she looked at women in the same industries as men, with the same academic background, who have been on the job the same length of time. She discovered virtually no difference in pay.

Katherine Post and Michael Lynch of the Pacific Research Institute, a nonprofit advocate for personal responsibility and individual liberty, studied the earnings of never-married women in their 30s who worked continuously. “There is vast evidence that women,” they wrote, “who choose to remain single, invest in education and work long hours, have in the past and continue to fare about as well as men in the labor market.”

The typical Fortune 500 company CEO is married and 55 years old, and has worked at that company or in the industry for some 30 years, put in extremely long hours and usually uprooted his family several times to advance his career. The infighting necessary to out-compete rivals can get ugly and brutal and nasty. How many men, let alone women, want to go through this?

Just a few months ago, the business magazine Forbes published an article called, “Is ‘Opting Out’ the New American Dream for Working Women?” Meghan Casserly wrote, “A growing number of women see staying home to raise children (while a partner provides financial support) to be the ideal circumstances of motherhood.”

Would “working women,” if given a choice, quit and become stay-at-home moms? The answer is not just “yes.” For many, it is “hell, yes.”

Forbes’ Casserly writes: “At a moment in history when the American conversation seems to be obsessed with bringing attention to women in the workplace … it seems a remarkable chasm between what we’d like to see (more women in the corporate ranks) and what we’d like for ourselves (getting out of Dodge). But it’s true: According to our survey, 84 percent of working women told (pollsters) that staying home to raise children is a financial luxury they aspire to. What’s more, more than one in three resent their partner for not earning enough to make that dream a reality.”

Why falsely claim that women are exploited in the workplace and denied fair market value for their work? How does it help women by telling them society routinely victimizes them in 2013?

Women of America, unite! You have nothing to lose but your burkas!

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit: www.LarryElder.com.

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