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Glass ceiling study: Women have less power than men named ‘John’

Through an analysis of popular names vs. gender in leadership positions, The New York Times compiles a 'so sad it's almost funny' report on how real the glass ceiling is.
People hold of torches during a rally in support of #metoo and for all victims of sexual offenses in Stockholm, Sweden on January 14, 2018, as protests were organized in various towns and cities in Sweden. (Photo JONAS EKSTROMER/AFP/Getty Images)

One figure that stood out to me when I read ‘The Leadership Roles in America Where Women Are Outnumbered By Men Named John‘ in The New York TimesUpshot section: Men with the name ‘John’ are 3.3% of the population and women make up 50.8% of the population—but there are more men named ‘John’ as senators than there are women as senators. 


That’s just one of the conclusions drawn from a study of what the glass ceiling actually looks like. 

The same applies to Democratic governors: There are fewer women as Democratic governors than there are men named John who are also Democratic governors. 

It all comes from a New York Times study of the Glass Ceiling Index, which calculates both men and women in leadership positions from politics, law, business, and tech to academia, film and news media.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 28: A woman holds a placard aloft during a Slutwalk march for the right of women to wear what they want without harassment on May 28, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

More findings:

— Both CEOs and directors of the top-grossing films last year have the lowest rates of women in those positions. 

— There are less women as chief executives of Fortune 500 companies than there are men named ‘James’ as CEOs. 

— 10% of board members are women.

— All of these things are true despite the fact that women earn more college degrees than men.

— One of the primary reasons women are so outnumbered at the top? Discrimination. In the last three years, the numbers aren’t getting much better.

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— And in some cases, worse, which is expected given the political powers that currently exist in our country. Here’s a handy graph from The New York Times about that very phenomenon.

The glass ceiling is real, and the data about it is, too. It’s about time we recognized that and made changes to our world to begin to fix it. 

And here’s why even the phrase “Glass ceiling” might be misleading, from author Alice Eagly


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