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October 20, 2014

Chart Interpretation for Bloomberg Dummies

Chart illiteracy: there has got to be a word for it somewhere. At any rate, the tragic inability to decipher fairly simple charts weighs heavily upon our sorely abused Brain Housing Group of late.

Speaking of which... how on earth does one get this assertion (bolded text below)...

Women fighting for a broader presence in the upper levels of management face at least one very personal obstacle: Most workers don’t want them there.

...from this study?

Americans are still more likely to say they would prefer a male boss (33%) to a female boss (20%) in a new job, although 46% say it doesn't make a difference to them. While women are more likely than men to say they would prefer a female boss, they are still more likely to say they would prefer a male boss overall.

The study didn't ask whether women should be bosses, or even whether they belonged in upper management. It asked men and women whether would rather have a male boss, a female boss, or whether the sex of their boss is unimportant. Here's the breakout for a mixed sample of men and women:

46% had no preference (this was the most popular response)
33% preferred a male boss
20% preferred a female boss

Now we realize that math is difficult for the intrepid journalists at Bloomberg, but last time we checked, 46 + 20 = 66% of the mixed-sex sample either don't mind or actively prefer a female boss. Now let's look at the breakout for a sample composed of just women:

34% had no preference
39% preferred a male boss (this was the most popular response)
27% preferred a female boss

Again, 34 + 27 = 61% of women (we're pretty sure that's "most women") either don't mind or actively prefer a female boss. So actually, whether you're asking a mixed male/female group or women only, "most people" (roughly two thirds -66% or 61%, respectively) have no objection to having a female boss.

How on earth does this become "most people don't want women in upper management"? The most interesting insight we got from this study is that women are more likely than men to view workplace issues through the tawdry lens of discriminatory gender stereotypes:

comparison.png

We can't help noting that the Bloomberg article was written by two women. Figures...

*sigh*

Posted by Cassandra at October 20, 2014 02:36 PM

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Comments

"The most interesting insight we got from this study is that women are more likely than men to view workplace issues through the tawdry lens of discriminatory gender stereotypes."--Yup. Hey, maybe the problem isn't too many women in the corner office, but too many women in the workforce!

I denounce myself. I'm sure the patriarchy led these women to their error.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 21, 2014 06:56 AM

I would rather have a man as a boss -- to whit, myself.

Posted by: Grim at October 21, 2014 08:53 AM

I actually have had more female bosses over the years than male. And I can honestly say it makes absolutely no difference to me what plumbing they have. It comes down (as it usually does) to the individual. I've had male bosses I thought were nincompoops and female bosses who I thought were the cat's pajamas (and vice versa). Leadership is the one quality that I value most of all in a boss. I don't need my boss to be a technical expert in my field, I just need them to back me when I'm right, and correct me when I'm wrong. Period.

Posted by: MikeD at October 21, 2014 09:18 AM

I need a boss to be competent too, Mike. I've gotten along well with every boss I've ever had who was really good at his or her job. Incompetence is the worst thing in a superior -- if they know they're incompetent, they're nervous and tend to try to eliminate those below them who could replace them if their incompetence becomes generally known; if they don't know it, it's even worse, because they're constantly 'correcting' your work to make it wrong.

Posted by: Grim at October 21, 2014 09:31 AM

It depends on the job; if someone is likely to be promoted because of politics, I do NOT want a female boss-- they tend to be emotionally manipulative in addition to the bad traits of anybody who gets ahead in that kind of job.

If it's one where there aren't "outs" to promote someone who can't do the job, then it doesn't matter and a female boss will actually be something like the best of a male boss. (Because that's what she's trying to to be-- the Ur boss, instead of a politician.)

It's kind of hard to figure out which is which, though-- even inside of the military, there are both "practical" and "political" type jobs. Just watched a recruiting center get destroyed because a political supervisor not only was a horrible boss, but wouldn't let her people do their work and then actively went back and "fixed" it. (Except for those who'd noticed her tendency to do that, and "accidentally" kept a copy of their stuff where she couldn't edit it.)

Maybe "the lower the glamour of being a woman in that job, the better a female boss in that job will be."

Posted by: Foxfier at October 21, 2014 09:33 AM

I actually have had more female bosses over the years than male. And I can honestly say it makes absolutely no difference to me what plumbing they have. It comes down (as it usually does) to the individual. I've had male bosses I thought were nincompoops and female bosses who I thought were the cat's pajamas (and vice versa).

I think I've been about even, and I agree with Mike 100% - I don't see much difference at the aggregate level.

I've really never seen the whole "competitive" thing with female bosses. If anything, they have been *more* likely to mentor me and recommend me for training or promotion than my male bosses (who have tended more toward benign neglect).

That said, the two worst bosses I've had were 1 male - my very first boss, and he was a bully - and female (unique combination of inattention most of the time followed by short bursts of intense micromanagement until.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).

I value autonomy very highly, and most bosses I've had (of whatever sex) have been very hands-off. I usually let them know what I'm working on and how it's going but it's more of an "info" sort of deal than anything else. In most of my jobs I've had to set my own priorities, train myself, and monitor my own progress towards goals I set.

So my experience may not be typical.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 21, 2014 10:38 AM

I don't much care whether my boss is male or female. But after reading this piece I'm pretty certain that I would prefer a male statistician.
:-)

Posted by: spd rdr at October 21, 2014 10:42 AM

"The most interesting insight we got from this study is that women are more likely than men to view workplace issues through the tawdry lens of discriminatory gender stereotypes."--Yup. Hey, maybe the problem isn't too many women in the corner office, but too many women in the workforce!

This may not require explanation (I'm never sure if I'm being clear or not) but that was a bit of a swipe at the blog where I saw this first. That particular blogger has a way of trying to force every news story into one of 5-6 narratives, almost regardless of what the story actually says. I started off to say that women simply seem to care more about what sex their boss is than men (which surprised me!), but ended up snarking a bit.

I denounce myself. I'm sure the patriarchy led these women to their error.

Tex, you ignorant slut - you should ALWAYS denounce The Patriarchy first. After all, we women have no independent agency, just as we (apparently) all hate and fear other women :p

What would these folks do all day if they couldn't gin up hate and distrust and resentment?

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at October 21, 2014 10:45 AM

...after reading this piece I'm pretty certain that I would prefer a male statistician.

Where the heck is YAG when we need him?

Posted by: Fire Up the YAG Beacon!!! at October 21, 2014 10:46 AM

I was agreeing wholeheartedly with your snark. If women really are tending more than men to judge their bosses by their sex, that's a sad state of affairs.

But of course it's really not their fault, bless their hearts. :-)

OK, I admit that I've been known to wonder whether I might more easily be able to trust a female boss not to discount me entirely because I was female, but truly, not for decades now. It was a legitimate concern in the 70s and, to a lesser degree, in the 80s. These days I no longer really buy it.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 21, 2014 04:51 PM

I've had far more female bosses than male ones. Didn't seek that out, it has just happened tht way. I like the new boss at the new job. Some days, I hardly speak to her because she's got things she's dealing with. She treats me as an adult and leaves me to get my work done, unless she specifically needs something from me...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 21, 2014 07:42 PM

I'm not quite sure which would be better: managing a small mountain's worth of model documentation or managing spd.

spd would be more entertaining but unlike legalise, statistics can actually be understood. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 22, 2014 10:33 AM

I suspect that the lovely and talented mrs rdr is the only person capable of managing spd :p

Posted by: Cass at October 22, 2014 08:37 PM