Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 12am

Harvard Study Confirms Sexism in Business

Harvard Study Confirms Sexism in Business: MBA News main image

A Harvard study has revealed the continuing prevalence of sexism in business, with the findings indicating that men enjoyed greater success when making a business pitch to investors. The success of the business pitch also varied with the attractiveness of the person making it, with men who were considered to be better looking generally currying greater favor with investors than less attractive men. Looks did not, however, come into play with women, reports The Telegraph.

Sexism in business apparent when making business pitch

This was the case even when the content of the business pitch was exactly the same, singling out sexism in business as the key factor. The Harvard study saw 60 seasoned investors view 90 pitches, chosen at random from videos made at three entrepreneurial contests in the US. The investors were asked to rate the quality of the pitch and the looks of the entrepreneurs. Good looking males were 36% more likely to succeed, while it made no difference when it came to women.

Then the investors were asked in the Harvard Study to listen to men and women making the same business pitch. The male pitches enjoyed a good deal more success than the female ones, leading the authors to conclude that the investors somehow found the male pitches more logical and convincing. Whether sexism in business is conscious or unconscious, it is clear from this Harvard study that women in business continue to face major obstacles.

Sexism in business remains problematic

Sexism in business remains a very real problem around the world. Only four UK FTSE 100 companies have female CEOs, while the figure in the Fortune 500 is a mere 23. This runs contrary to evidence of the strength of women leaders; private female-founded businesses have made a huge contribution to US employment figures since 2007.

The UN Foundation has stated that female entrepreneurs are the key to sustainable growth development, noting that reducing barriers to participation can significantly increase the GDP of already economically powerful nations. A recent drive by the Thunderbird School of Global Management has seen 100,000 new female entrepreneurs receive business training in Peru.

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