Fewer Female Coaches
Whereas before Title IX, more than 90 percent of all women’s teams had female coaches, the number dropped to 40 percent after Title IX. The reason was money. With salaries rising for coaches of women’s intercollegiate teams, men applied and got the jobs. Exacerbating their plight, fewer female assistant coaches even applied for a head’s job when they saw that men were more likely to hire men. Explaining all of this, in her list of entry barriers, a University of Pittsburgh law professor cited a masculine culture, “closed hiring networks,” and social norms that perpetuated themselves.
Fewer Female Bosses
Seeing a similar phenomenon, a Harvard Business School study concluded that perception rather than reality jeopardizes a high achieving woman’s climb up the career ladder. Because bosses expect women to “opt out” and “ratchet back,” they offer less attractive career options that create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Making it even tougher, those misconceptions start at home because husbands traditionally expect wives to be primary caregivers.
All of this leaves us with a disturbing convergence. Whether looking at sports coaches or corporate management, more people, and especially women, prefer male bosses. Reflecting the results of one NCAA survey in which 52 percent of the respondents said they preferred men, one woman said, “There’s just something more credible about male coaches.” Below, in this Pew survey, you see boss gender preference in jobs beyond the sports world:
Our Bottom Line: Underutilization
Whether looking at athletic coaches or corporate management, gender inequity in leadership positions is an example of job discrimination that creates a negative externality. Because of its impact on human capital, the spillover continues to affect women in school and at work. According to Pittsburgh law professor Deborah Brake, that spillover can fuel male leadership bias through the “power of institutions to produce references that are the product of institutional bias and discrimination.”