3 Underrated Challenges Women Face in the Workplace

We're all familiar with the major challenges women face in the workplace — the so-called glass ceiling, the "good ol' boys' club," the "second shift" moms report to after their 9-to-5 — but a trio of news items this week unveiled some obstacles you might not have previously considered.

  1. A dearth of mentors in underrepresented industries. Women who aspire to make a living in the tech industry, for example, will have a particularly tough time finding female mentors. A 2012 survey of 450 companies by Harvey Nash [PDF] revealed that just 9 percent of chief information officers in the U.S. are female. That's down from 12 percent in 2010. "The more women we see in high-profile technical roles at these companies, the more young women will be inspired to pursue a career in technology," explained Buyosphere CEO Tara Hunt to Forbes.
  2. Risk-taking disparity. While 42 percent of male business owners report that they're ready to take risks in this economy, just 22 percent of women felt the same, according to the latest American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor report. That reticence to take risks could hamper company growth. Interestingly, the study also revealed that over eight in 10 female business owners are encouraging their workforce to innovate.
  3. Marriage structure and gender bias. New research reveals that marriage structure affects how employed males view women in the workplace, despite their expressed beliefs about, say, women in leadership. Harvard Business Review contributor Lauren Stiller Rikleen explains the findings: "Those with wives who did not work outside the home or who worked part-time were more likely than those with wives who worked to: (1) have an unfavorable view about women in the workplace; (2) think workplaces run less smoothly with more women; (3) view workplaces with female leaders as less desirable; and (4) consider female candidates for promotion to be less qualified than comparable male colleagues."

Ladies, what are some other less-obvious obstacles you've encountered in the workplace?

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