With over 40 percent of Booth’s 1st year class being female, the Chicago Women in Business club is making sure that population is supported both in their careers and personal lives. CWIB sponsored a week-long Open House event that was established last year by the club’s Co-chairs, who hoped it would become an annual event. The goal of the Open House series is to build awareness and spark conversation around gender, progressive roles and modern leadership in the workplace. The organizers hope the series helps equip Booth students with the tools they need to face leadership and managerial opportunities in their careers.
Gender norms, like “women should make less than men and take care of domestic responsibilities or men should not be able to take parental leave,” are causing gender inequality in the workplace. The Open House series highlighted the findings from leading research as well as spotlighted dynamic speakers, who touched on issues around systemic, policy, and social norms that impact gender parity.
The CEO of Pretty Quick, Coco Meers, kicked off the week. In the workshop titled “Bringing the Glass Ceiling from Home to Work”, Professor Emir Kamenica analyzed the impact of these gender identity norms on both personal and professional lives of women. His research uncovered some surprising insights about the way men view intelligent women and how making more than your male spouse may cause strife in the relationship. Research shows in a dating context educated men like women, who are intelligent and ambitious, but these women become less desirable to men if she is perceived to be as bright or smarter than the man. In regards to marriage, Professor Kamenica found that in situations where the woman makes more than her husband, she tries to overcompensate on domestic chores, like spending more time washing the dishes. Also, data showed there are more divorces in marriages, where the wife out earns the man. Additionally, findings show that a percentage of women do not reach their potential career advancement because they may take on less work hours or pass up high profile projects that take time away from their families. Balancing career and family can be challenging for both men and women, so many companies are offering alternative working arrangements like working remotely or share-roles to give their employees flexibility.
In addition to the Open House Series, CWIB launched the Common Chromosome - a platform that gives everyone in the Booth community a forum to be involved in the advancement of gender parity. This initiative is geared towards helping promote an attitude of inclusivity and inspire current and future leaders through a series of special guest lectures, discussions, awareness campaigns, and blogs. Co-chair of CWIB Andrea Mcpike told ChiBus “Common Chromosome works to equip the entire community at Booth with the ability to engage as change agents, working toward inclusion and the equal treatment of the genders.”