Forbes has an interesting article on why women are often passed over for promotion and why they often make less than their male colleagues.  The author, Shaun Rein–a Forbes contributor and founder of a market research firm–asserts the reason is pretty clear: Women just aren’t pushy enough.

He gives both his personal perspective and market research when he states: 

I will be honest. In my career, I have tended to promote more men than women. I have even generally given men higher salaries. Why? Am I sexist? Do men do a better job? The answer is a resounding no to both.  Actually, it is mostly women’s fault. They simply don’t ask for raises or promotions as often as men do. 

My organization conducted interviews with hundreds of American, European and Chinese women, and most said they felt that if they worked hard and showed they were valuable to the company, they would get promoted. They also said they feared they could be fired if they appeared too pushy, especially in a downturn.  But the reality is that promotions rarely happen just because you’re there and you’re good. You need to tell people how good you are. This is especially true at more junior levels, where it can be harder to get noticed and there is more competition for plum positions. 

Rein’s perspective is important and articles like this are critical to properly examining the status of women in the workplace.  It’s amazing to me that the standard line about women making less then men because of sexism is so often bandied about in the media–and it almost always goes unchecked and is largely accepted now as fact.

The disparity does exist but there are reasons beyond sexism (IWF’s Carrie Lukas has written extensively on this topic). I’m glad to see wider reporting on the actual causes.