Women are not to blame for their lack of advancement at work. Failure to lean in and greater responsibility for childcare don’t fully explain why women are not reaching the top levels of many corporations. The truth is, many senior male executives are reluctant to have a one-on-one meeting with a junior woman at work. They’re afraid that an offhand remark will be misinterpreted as sexual harassment or that their friendliness will be mistaken for romantic interest. As a result, many male executives stick with other men, especially when it comes to dinners, drinks, late-night meetings, or business trips. When it’s time for promotions or pay raises, these same executives are more likely to show preference to the employees with whom they feel most comfortable—other men.
In Sex and the Office, Kim Elsesser delves into how issues as varied as workplace romance, spousal jealousy, organizational sexual harassment policies, and communication differences create barriers between the sexes at work. Since senior management is still largely dominated by men, these barriers—which Elsesser labels “the sex partition”—often leave female employees without the influential friends and mentors critical for career success.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost. Elsesser offers practical advice on how to break down the sex partition and reveals the best strategies for networking with the opposite sex. Sex and the Office is sure to spark new dialogue on the sources of the gender gap as well as its solutions.
Kim Elsesser, PhD, is a research scholar at the Center for Study of Women at UCLA, where she teaches courses on gender. She has published in the New York Times and has discussed gender issues on Fox News’s America Live and on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Her research is inspired by her prior career as a quantitative equity trader at Morgan Stanley. She lives in Pasadena, California. Visit her website at www.kimelsesser.com.