A release issued today by the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), announced the receipt of a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the issues surrounding women executives and the “glass ceiling.”
The UTD study will examine if an increase in the number of female executives, at the upper levels, lends to greater gender diversity at all corporate levels. Dr. Sheryl Skaggs, who landed the $59,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, will lead the study.
Dr. Skaggs is an associate program head for sociology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at UTD. The study is a year-long endeavor in which Dr. Skaggs and her team will review employment data from the EEOC and Catalyst Incorporated.
“Surprisingly, there has not been much research on how women at lower levels of a company are affected by women rising into the executive ranks or joining boards of directors,” Skaggs said. “We’re now looking at the ‘trickle-down effect’ of these changes.”
Over the past 30 years, a great deal has been researched and written concerning the existence and affects of the “glass ceiling.” Apparently very little research has been conducted regarding how women who “break through” can in turn help other women to achieve the same.
Dr. Skaggs and her research team will study data from 1996 to 2008. The team speculates that increased gender diversity at upper corporate levels, has created opportunities for gender diversity at all corporate levels. The study will factor the potential influential effects of internal corporate policies and external issues on gender diversity in business.
“As women’s labor force participation continues to rise, and pressure for workplace diversity increases, this line of investigation will be essential in the development of management strategies directed at expanding women’s roles across all corporate levels,” Skaggs said.
The findings from data alone could have extensive implications for the management of a diverse workforce, including government and corporate policy development. Dr. Skaggs hopes to extend her research to include qualitative investigations.
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