Bain & Company recently launched a study that asked more than 1,000 men and women in a mix of U.S. companies two questions: “Do you aspire to top management within a large company?” and “Do you have the confidence you can reach top management?”
Women with two years or less of work experience slightly led men in ambition. But for women who had more than two years on the job, aspiration and confidence plummeted 60% and nearly 50%, respectively. These declines came independent of marriage and motherhood status, and compared with much smaller changes for men, who experienced only a 10% dip in confidence.
—Harvard Business Review on aspirations.
The article goes further, looking at the potential causes for women’s demoralisation. They can basically be summed up as “realising they’re shut out of the boys’ club”.