Gender Devaluation and Gender Fatigue: Getting Women on the Glass Escalator

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Gender Devaluation and Gender Fatigue: Getting Women on the Glass Escalator
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How can we move from gender devaluation and gender fatigue to gender energy and get more women to ride up the glass escalator? Current research indicates the need to focus on innovative approaches to getting gender back onto the agenda: reproducing women’s recruitment, retention, advancement and agency (Farrington 2011, Kamberidou 2010, Kelan 2010, Merriman 2010, Benschop & Brouns 2003, Hultin 2003). Despite legislation and gender mainstreaming policies, the recognition by many companies, organizations and institutions that diversity is essential, women still lag behind men in compensation and advancement and are less satisfied with their careers than men. Women are overlooked in decision making positions in the business sector, in S&R, in the academia, on research committees, etc. This paper examines three major gender gaps: 1) the leadership gap, 2) the pay gap and 3) the engagement/participation gap, with references to the phenomena of gender fatigue, tokenism and the hidden advantages for men in the so-called 'female' professions. Taking their gender privilege with them, men experience positive discrimination in female dominated professions and are promoted up the ladder (ride up the glass escalator) even faster than their female counterparts, as opposed to women who confront the glass ceiling and the sticky floor in male dominated fields. Gender devaluation, namely the subtle processes by which women’s contributions are minimized, undervalued or devalued in male dominated professions are especially apparent in the academia as well. Consequently, "getting gender back on the agenda" (Kamberidou 2010) requires an Alternative Model—redefining professional success and concepts of excellence, finding alternative paths to advancement or tenure, establishing measures and best practices at many levels—examined in the strategy proposals presented in this paper. Research shows that women are an economic force to be reckoned with and utilizing the entire talent provides an important competitive advantage. Studies confirm that companies that recognise talent in any form and make good use of it show greater success with regard to profits and sustainability. Women must be present in sufficient numbers at senior levels in order to achieve better results and especially to drive cultural change.
Publication year:
Irene Kamberidou
European Commission, Digital Agenda Assembly
Conference title:
Digital Agenda Assembly,, Workshop 22: Women for smart growth
Gender fatigue, the ‘stupid curve’: wastage of talent, the glass escalator, tokenism, gender devaluation, gender-blind academic structures
Main subject category:
Social, Political and Economic sciences
Project information:
Kamberidou, Irene (2011). "Gender Devaluation and Gender Fatigue: Getting Women on the Glass Escalator". Presentation at Digital Agenda Assembly,, Workshop 22: Women for smart growth (pp. 1–13), Brussels Belgium, June 17, 2011 [DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3318.9922]. Digital Agenda for Brussels, European Commission, Digital Assembly presentation, Brussels June 17, 2011 -eu_presentation.digital_assembly_june_17._2011.pdf

-First Digital Agenda Assembly, Brussels 2011, (eTicket. 1st Digital Assembly. Confirmation letter.pdf)
-Digital Agenda AssemblyPROGRAMME, Brussels,
-Digital Agenda Assembly Workshop 2, Brussels, (Digital Agenda Assembly workshop2 participats.doc)
-WOMEN FOR SMART GROWTH, (22_ Women for smart growth - First Digital Agenda Assembly.mht)
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