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The Context, Identity, Choice conference, 30th and 31st May 2018, University Women’s Club, London
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There has been vast improvement in workplace gender equality, but there remain marked differences in the roles in which women and men work. Explanations for this inequality have focused on the barriers women face. However, as women begin to enter male-dominated roles, a new explanation has arisen: that remaining gender inequality must reflect fundamental differences between women and men, including differences in (a) ambition and desire for power, (b) needs for work-life balance, and (c) willingness to take career risks and make sacrifices for one’s career. Central to this analysis is the assumption that the glass ceiling is broken and thus inequality must be due to women’s active choices. This explanation downplays the fact that social context continues to be a barrier to women’s success and places responsibility for gender inequality on women themselves.