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The CEO Disparity Gap: Women Are Three Times More Likely Than Men to Make Sacrifices for Family

Climbing to the top of the corporate ladder is difficult for both men and women. Careers can often take time away from family. How men and women deal with the sacrifices it takes to become an executive, however, is not the same, as pointed out recently by a Harvard Business School study.

The good old boys club is alive and well

The study interviewed 4,000 men (56 percent) and women (44 percent) executives across the globe between the years of 2008-2013 and found some interesting differences between men and women regarding the balance of career with marriage and children. While most executive men (60 percent) had wives at home to care for house and children, only 10 percent of female executives experienced the convenience of having a stay-at-home spouse. In addition, most male executives are married (90 percent) compared to just 70 percent of female executives.

How men and women executives view the sacrifices

What is even more interesting is how male and female executives viewed the sacrifices needed in order to get ahead. While both genders acknowledged that families are sometimes neglected, men felt far less guilty about it, according to the study. While men viewed it as what was necessary in order to provide for their families, far more women are bothered with emotional guilt. What is also interesting is that both men and women executives continue to view the issue of managing work and children as the woman's responsibility.

Could this be one of the reasons why only 15 percent of top executives at large American companies are women? Absolutely. However, this is not to say that women should deny their role as nurturers and caregivers. What the study does point out is that there is still an imbalance of responsibilities. Women continue to struggle with balancing work, home and children and are three times more likely than men to sacrifice their careers to care for family members.

So, instead of "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" maybe we should be saying "Baby, We Have a Long Way to Go!"

Read more about the study in the Harvard Business Review at