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Why do women’s careers stall in their 30s?


women in work career surveyProject 28-40 is looking for answers – and for 100,000 women for a survey. Please join in!

The Project’s goal is to identify in detail a range of factors preventing women from reaching their professional potential, particularly the ‘missing women’ in middle management.

The name comes from the age range in which the gender pay and progression gap widens considerably.

Women of all ages are invited to participate, and help answer some big questions:

What is important to women, what are their ambitions and how do they make choices in life?

How effective is the current level of support and career development opportunities for women in work?

What impact does workplace culture have on your career – what is the atmosphere like in today’s workplace?

Can you really identify with role models in the workplace?

What influences some women to leave their employer or leave the workforce altogether?

Led by Opportunity Now, a Business in the Community (BITC) campaign for gender diversity, Project 28-40 was  launched on 15 November.

The Project 28-40 survey is gathering stories, good and bad, about the workplace, from cultural aspects of the experience to societal attitudes and examples of things that are helpful and working well.

The idea is to listen to what women have to say and taking action to change the status quo.

Fawcett Society statistics paint a stark picture of the current status of women and power:

Men outnumber women four to one in parliament – meaning that 22 per cent of MPs are women – and of the 22 Cabinet Ministers, just four are women.

‘The business world also remains largely run by men, with only 17 per cent of FTSE 100 directorships held by women.

In the world of media, only  five per cent of all editors are women.

In the legal system, just 13.6 per cent of the senior judiciary are women.

Helena Morrissey, chair of Opportunity Now, said “Twenty-eight to 40 is a critical age for career development where at the moment women fail to be promoted at the same rate as men – a problem both for women and companies.

“This survey, the largest ever undertaken globally, will help us all really understand the reasons behind the current imbalance.

“We could just plough on, but I think we must be off-target with some of the things we are doing.”

The survey is completely anonymous, and open until 15 December,  should take about 15 minutes to complete: to fill it in, click here.

The results and analysis will be launched during BITC’s Responsible Business Week in April 2014.

Focus groups will then explore themes that emerge, seeking the reactions of younger women, older women, men and business leaders and the results will be used to inform solutions, via government policy and business practice, that help increase women’s success at work.

The project is also planning to survey approximately 1,000 men, to use their responses as the control group for the survey.

And at the request of Downing Street, the survey will also ask if it would be helpful for schools to offer childcare from 8am to 6pm.

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