··Awarded the Descartes Prize 2004 of the European Commission·· How do gender inequalities translate at the top of politics and business? Is the gender gap eliminated for the most influential players in industrial democratic society? This informed and compelling analysis examines the demographic characteristics, family circumstances and career paths of a group of elite women. The book is noteworthy for being one of the first empirically based studies of women elites. Drawing on a sample from no less than 27 countries, a convincing and highly original picture is constructed that informs readers of career paths, values, social networks and gender battles for women elites. Co-ordinated by Mino Vianello and Gwen Moore, the research fills in a huge gap about how power actually operates in industrial-democratic societies. It enables us to test the view that substantial equality between the sexes has been achieved in the twenty first century. It constitutes a landmark work, both in the study of gender difference and the analysis of power. The findings will be of interest to academics and advanced students in a wide range of disciplines including stratification, globalization, political science, international relations, gender, sociology, organizational studies and much more.
Chapter 3: Career Paths
Etymologically speaking, the term ‘career’ originates from the Latin word carrus, meaning horse-driven vehicle, or chariot, as they were used during races in ancient Rome. While the drivers of these chariots primarily needed to have enormous physical strength, the modern connotation of the term implies a great amount of additional resources – especially careers pursued in the elite sectors of working life, which are configured in such a way that only a minority of people can ever think of taking part in the race. Yet, recruitment and promotion into political and economic leadership are still shaped very traditionally, and – contrary to principles of meritocracy and equality – strongly based on ascriptive characteristics such as race, origin, status or religion (Barton, 1985). ...