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It’s true, according to new research from Gallup, 55 percent of Americans have no preference between a male or female boss. The percentage of U.S. adults who currently prefer a female boss sits at 21 percent, compared to 23 percent who would opt for a man. This is the first time Americans have said their boss’ gender makes no difference to them since Gallup began collecting the data in 1953.
The proportion of Americans who want a female boss has increased by one percentage since 2014, while those wanting a male boss decreased by 10 percentage points in the same time period. Gallup’s findings also show that men (68 percent) are more likely than women (44 percent) to lack a preference in their boss’ gender, the majority of women under 50 prefer a female boss, and women over 50 depict mixed preferences.
These findings may illustrate changing perceptions in the American workplace, as women are considered more for leadership positions, but significant change remains to be seen. As Gallup affirms, the percentage of “employed Americans who say they have a female boss has not changed significantly since 2011.”
Compounding this slow rate of change is a statistic from McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.org’s 2017 Women in the Workplace report showing that 50 percent of men think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only 1 in 10 senior leaders is a woman; only a third of women agree. It is because of these circumstances, and others, that the American Association of University Women (AAUW) estimates women won’t reach pay parity in the American workplace until 2119.
Unless the American workplace begins to see real increases in women in leadership, findings of this nature will ring somewhat hollow.