Why Some Men Still Think Women Shouldn’t Work


In the 1980 movie 9 to 5, Lily Tomlin’s male boss denies her a promotion because, as he puts it, “the company needs a man in this position.” Tomlin blows up at him. She criticizes the corporate boys’ club and men who feel threatened by ambitious women. “Spare me the women’s lib crap, OK?” her boss tells her. He still doesn’t give her the promotion.

Thirty-four years later, 9 to 5 feels dated. Women now make up almost half of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. No one says “women’s lib,” anymore, and thankfully we’ve all given up on shoulder pads. But considering a report published in Administrative Science Quarterly, the movie might not be as antiquated as we’d like to think.

In a series of five studies and surveys conducted over the past six years—and with data stretching as far back as 1996—a team of business school professors led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Sredhari Desai found that married men in “traditional” marriages (they’re the sole breadwinners while their wives do not work) view women in their workplace unfavorably, are much less likely to take jobs at companies with female board members, and may even pass over female co-workers for promotions in classic 9 to 5 fashion.

Image courtesy of businessweek.com