A Half Century Post Title VII: Still Seeking Pathways for Women to Organizational Leadership
41 Pages Posted: 29 May 2015
Date Written: March 2015
Perhaps the most important of the many 50th anniversaries marked in 2014 is the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Although Title VII and accompanying legislation and judicial rulings have made significant headway in improving the work environment for women, pathways for women to positions of leadership in organizations are still generally elusive. Our studies suggest additional challenges for women with dependents. In light of the overwhelming evidence that leadership opportunities are effectively denied to a large number of female citizens, it is time to reinterpret Title VII in a way to help remedy this type of discrimination.
We thus advocate three proposals for reform. First, recognizing that quotas would be difficult to implement in the United States, we argue that in cases alleging gender discrimination, courts consider the paucity of women in leadership positions as a rebuttable presumption of discrimination – as a logical extension to the disparate impact analysis firmly established in precedent. Second, we implore the SEC to define diversity, in reports already required of public companies, to include gender diversity. Finally, we urge firms to improve programs for mentoring and networking to provide true opportunities across cultural backgrounds to break the logjam in the pathway for women seeking upward mobility.
Keywords: Gender, Leadership, Discrimination, Employment Law, Title VII, Positive Business
JEL Classification: G30, J71, J78, K31, K20, K10, L21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation