Research out of Columbia University summarized here suggests that men’s dominance of the ‘C’ Suite may not in fact be due to discrimination but to over confidence.
In an amusing set of studies, the researchers set out to determine whether men have an easier time ‘faking it’ due to natural overconfidence. The research shows that while both men and women exaggerate capabilities (aka, lie), men happen to over-report their results more than women. Not only do men exaggerate more than women, they tend to lie more the larger financial reward.
Thus you can see a board of directors faced with two candidates for the role of CEO, one a man, the other a woman, They both might have equal capabilities, but the man’s over-confidence and exaggeration of results compared to the woman is going to get him the job.