​​S.H.E. Matters: Exploring the Glass Cliff Phenomenon and Twitter

Category: SHE Matters • May 30, 2023

The concept of the glass ceiling has been a pervasive issue for women in the workplace for decades. It refers to an invisible barrier that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for women to rise up into higher positions within companies and industries.

But what about those who have made it past this barrier, only to face another incredible hurdle?

In this blog post, we will explore what the glass cliff is and how it affects female executives today, with a particular focus on Linda Yaccarino’s recent appointment as CEO of Twitter following Elon Musk’s short-lived and tumultuous tenure at the helm.

What is the Glass Cliff?

Built off the concept of the glass ceiling, “The glass cliff refers to the phenomenon whereby women (and members of other minority groups, such as those based on race or disability) are over-represented in leadership positions that are risky and precarious,” as explained by the University of Exeter.

This phenomenon was first identified by University of Exeter colleagues Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam in 2003 after they studied the appointment of female CEOs within the FTSE 100.

Specifically, they discovered that companies were more likely to appoint a female CEO during times of economic crisis or when the company was at risk of failure.

This finding demonstrates that women and minority employees can be unfairly placed in positions of greater responsibility without proper support or preparation, thus leaving them more likely to fail than their white male counterparts.

Some arguments point to the fact that this allows companies to appoint a woman as a scapegoat should she be unable to pull the business out of a downward spiral, all while gaining praise for their “diversity efforts.” They are then free to appoint another male CEO without much backlash.

Others, however, argue that there is insubstantial research into and evidence supporting this phenomenon, thereby dubbing it the “glass cliff myth.”

(Allegedly) Witnessing the Glass Cliff in Real Time

Why is the glass cliff relevant today? Simple: After Elon Musk announced that advertising executive Linda Yaccarino would take over as the new CEO of Twitter — following an onslaught of perceived business blunders by Musk himself — the glass cliff debate resurfaced.

“In addition to Yaccarino, Ellen Pao’s appointment at Reddit, Mary Barra at GM, Carly Fiorina at HP and Marissa Mayer at Yahoo are often cited examples of women promoted to top management at distressed companies,” as reported by Forbes.

This is especially notable given the rarity of female executives in tech, let alone at Twitter in specific.

Since taking the helm at Twitter, Musk has been scrutinized for firing top company executives, enacting mass layoffs (roughly 80% of the company workforce), upsetting the existing verification systems, and enacting overall changes that led many prominent advertisers to pull away from the platform entirely.

Following a slew of criticism and a self-promoted Twitter poll through which he asked his followers if he “should step down as the head of Twitter,” Musk promised to appoint a new CEO who would oversee the platform’s business operations.

Enter: former NBCUniversal ad chief Yaccarino.

“She is exactly what Twitter needs to start rebuilding advertiser trust, bring back big advertisers and really start improving Twitter’s ad business,” Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg told AP News. “That said, there are still a lot of challenges and Yaccarino is going to have her hands full from day one.”

As a result, many have been left wondering: Did Musk leave Yaccarino teetering on the edge of a glass cliff at Twitter HQ?

SHE Matters — Even If She Teeters On the Edge

But what do you think?

Do you think Yaccarino is facing a glass cliff? Or do you know another woman placed in a similar position who overcame and conquered at the edge?

Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!

S.H.E. Matters: Counting Dollars Through the Years With the Age Gap

Category: SHE Matters • April 19, 2023

The wage gap between men and women is still a reality today, with the gap only widening as women age. In fact, women often face lower wages than their male counterparts due to occupational segregation, unconscious biases, and discrimination, among other things.

This issue has long-reaching implications for individuals, our economy, and our society at large. But in this particular blog post, we’ll look at the Age Gap: an intersection of gender and age that underscores these disparities in the workplace.

Let’s explore what it is, how it works, and more…

What Are the Basics of the Age Gap?

As women progress in their careers, they encounter even greater disparities in wages compared to their male counterparts.

Thus, as the wage gap widens as they age, women in their retirement years are left with significantly less financial security than men.

“Earnings gaps represent a prime reason why women, especially widows and divorced women or those who never married, experience higher rates of poverty in old age than men,” as explained by the Center for American Progress (CAP).

We can see this growing wage gap at the intersection of age and gender as illustrated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s research:

  • Ages 16 to 19: 10% gap
  • Ages 20 to 24: 7.1% gap
  • Ages 25 to 34: 9.8% gap
  • Ages 34 to 44: 17.9% gap
  • Ages 45 to 54: 20.8% gap
  • Ages 55 to 64: 22.2% gap
  • Ages 65 and Over: 26.9% gap

How Does the Age Gap Work?

One reason the wage gap is exacerbated over a woman’s lifetime is because of the tendency for women to be overlooked for promotions and leadership positions, even when they possess the same skills and experience as their male colleagues.

Additionally, gender stereotypes and biases can lead to a devaluation of traditionally female-dominated roles, resulting in lower salaries for women working in these fields.

Another factor that contributes to the wage gap for older women is the impact of caregiving responsibilities on their careers — often referred to as “the motherhood penalty” in most familial cases.

Women are more likely to take time off from work to care for family members, which can interrupt their career trajectories and result in lower earnings over time. Moreover, women who do return to work after a break for caregiving responsibilities may face challenges in finding equal pay and opportunities for advancement.

But with that all in mind, when are women most likely to begin feeling the effects of this age gap?

“After around 40, women’s wage growth plateaus and then drops off earlier than men’s,” according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “This holds true when measuring the gap using median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers”

She Matters Today… and Tomorrow

It is imperative that we recognize and address the persistent wage gap for women, especially as they grow older. A fair and equitable workplace benefits not only individual women, but also the larger economy and society.

Efforts to close the wage gap must take into account the nuanced and complex factors that contribute to it, including occupational segregation, unconscious biases, and discrimination.

By doing so, we can promote equal pay for all workers, regardless of gender.

But what do you think? Are you a female worker who is already feeling the impacts of all the aforementioned? Or do you have another point of view on the age gap? We’d love to hear from you!

Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!

S.H.E. Matters and Leads: Ida Uffelman of Spruce

Category: SHE Matters • March 20, 2023

Ida Uffelman had never dreamed of being a business owner before. That was, of course, until she fell in love with the myriad plant shops she stumbled upon during a trip to one of the liveliest communities in the State of Oregon: Portland.

And now, she’s infused Jacksonville Beach with that same green-thumbed love.

In fact, when you first walk into Spruce, you’re instantly greeted by the sight of a spacious, modern floorplan, where Uffelman stands smiling warmly behind the register. In your right periphery, lush green entices you to browse between the trailing pathos vines, outstretched branches, and hand-crafted pieces of pottery.

Whether you prefer to sink into a chair and sip on a local brew or simply hunt for your next favorite plant pet, Spruce is undoubtedly the place to go if you’re out near the beaches.

But it wasn’t — and still isn’t — necessarily an easy endeavor to pursue for Uffelman.

While Uffelman is thankful to be surrounded by other entrepreneurial women in the community, she says she feels that she has struggled to be taken seriously while undergoing the permitting process through the City of Jacksonville as a woman.

“Dealing with the City of Jacksonville — building, zoning — it’s all men that worked there, and I felt like I was being mansplained to the whole time,” Uffelman said. “It was tough. They just kind of walked all over me. The more I stuck up for myself, the more I got buried under. The more red tape I was given.”

Thankfully, that hasn’t stopped Uffelman from seeking the continued growth of Spruce — and the overall experience has remained a positive one.

“Aside from… all of that, I haven’t had any issues,” she recalled brightly. “Everyone is amazing, our growers are great, and it’s a very female-oriented business, so that helps.”

And for any other women interested in building their own business? Well, her advice is simple: Go for it.

“Every person is unique and you’ve got to know your own risk, and what you’re comfortable losing. But also, don’t let that hold you back,” Uffelman affirmed. “Money comes and goes, life happens, but I would never go work in the corporate world again. It’s tough right now … but it’s amazing.”

Ida Uffelman, owner of Spruce, stands in front of the plants within her shop
Ida Uffelman, owner of Spruce, stands in front of the plants within her shop

Here at Mad Men Marketing, we want to do more than simply address the wage gap and the importance of women in the workplace — we want to actively highlight and empower existing women in our community!

Are you a woman who owns her own business?

Do you work in a male-dominated field?

Do you know another noteworthy woman you think deserves time in the spotlight?

We’d love to get an interview on the books! Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!

S.H.E. Matters: A Matter of Women and Recession Preparedness

Category: SHE Matters • February 18, 2023

We’ve all been witnessing the same turn of events that only tighten our grip on our wallets: Gas prices continue to wobble. The Fed keeps hiking up interest rates. Layoffs have occurred en masse across numerous industries.

And fears of a looming recession only grow worse.

The problem? Not everyone is going to feel this equally. In fact, women are more likely to get the short end of the stick in the event of a recession — all thanks to the ongoing gender wage gap.

Here’s what you should know:

Defining an Economic Downturn

Before we dive in, let’s review what, exactly, a recession even is.

Specifically, a recession is an economic downturn where a country experiences a significant drop in economic activity. It is the opposite of growth and, according to Forbes, can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years depending on the factors at play.

Moreover, during a recession…

  • Production and employment go down
  • Wages and profits decrease
  • Investments decline
  • And more

In extreme cases, manufacturers and retailers go out of business and unemployment rates skyrocket.

Recessions can have a long-term impact on the economy as well. During a recession, businesses often lay off workers or cut back on hours which leads to an increase in unemployment. This can lead to long-term job losses even after the economy recovers.

Factoring in the Finances of the Wage Gap

The gender wage gap is one of the main factors that has left women exposed to financial insecurity, and may especially do so leading up to and during a recession.

Despite steady progress in recent years, women still earn an average of 82 cents for every dollar earned by men as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) — a disparity that can have far-reaching economic implications. This means that women tend to have less money to put aside for emergency savings and retirement planning, which can be especially problematic during an economic downturn.

In addition to this, women are more likely to take time off or reduce their hours to care for family members, leading to a further decrease in income that makes it even harder for them to weather the storm of a recession.

S.H.E. Matters — Especially During a Recession

Today, we are seeing a mixed bag of news reports in terms of whether a recession is actually on the horizon or not. Regardless, one thing remains the same: it is not out of the realm of possibility.

And, according to the Ellevest Financial Wellness Survey of 2022, approximately 30% of male respondents reported feeling prepared for a potential recession. Only 14% of female respondents, however, felt the same.

In other words, given the gender wage gap in the United States, women are less likely to be financially prepared for such an economic downturn should it arrive soon. But by closing the gender wage gap, we can help shield women from feeling the exacerbated hardships in the wake of future economic instability.

And that in and of itself is reason enough to continue fighting for workplace equality.

But what do you think? Are you a female worker who is already feeling the impacts of all the aforementioned? Or do you have a different opinion entirely? We’d love to hear from you!

Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!

S.H.E. Matters: Breaking Down the Boys’ Club That is Construction

Category: SHE Matters • January 17, 2023

As the construction industry continues to be one of the most male-dominated fields in America, it is becoming increasingly important to address issues of gender inequality and promote diversity within this field.

Despite efforts over the years, women still make up a small percentage of workers in construction and face a considerable wage gap compared to their male counterparts.

Let’s take a closer look behind the construction curtain:

Constructing a Gap in the Industry

The construction industry is a male-dominated field, with women making up only a small percentage of the workforce. In fact, as reported by the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER), “nearly 90% of the industry is male.”

This gender gap has been present for decades and reflects the larger societal issue concerning workplace equality. Stereotypes and entrenched biases have contributed to this wage gap by discouraging women from entering the field due to their perceived inability or lack of capability.

Specifically, the construction industry is disproportionately male-dominated due to longstanding societal and cultural norms that have seen women traditionally viewed as unsuited for manual labor. This has created a lack of diversity in the workforce, with men making up the majority in most construction sites; women who are in construction are more likely to be behind a desk.

Additionally, other factors like lower pay, fewer opportunities to advance within the field, and lack of support networks are often cited as reasons why more women do not pursue a career in this industry.

Wait — Wages Matter, Too

As a result of all of the aforementioned, there are limited opportunities for growth or career advancement for women within construction. Moreover, an imbalance in wages between men and women has remained pervasive in the overall industry.

For example, according to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), women earn just 74 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts in the construction field at large. With regard to managerial roles in specific, women make approximately 86 cents for every dollar earned by a male colleague.

This wage gap is not only alarming but is also reflective of the larger societal issue concerning workplace equality in the United States.

Closing the Construction Gap

In order to create an environment where workplace equality and equitable distribution of resources between genders is possible, there need to be initiatives that focus on promoting diversity in the industry by encouraging more women to enter or continue working in construction fields.

Some actions leaders might take could include…

  • Providing more leadership roles for women
  • Creating mentoring programs
  • Implementing policies that favor equitable wages
  • Establishing guidelines against sexual harassment or discrimination
  • Offering educational support like specialized courses or training sessions targeted towards female workers
  • And more

Together, these steps can help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace that ultimately benefits everyone involved regardless of gender identity or background.

But what do you think? Are you in construction, or do you know someone who is and deserves a moment in the spotlight? Because we’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!