When things become bad to worse a woman is always hired to sort things out, says Lagarde and this is not just a one-off event but a frequently occurring one; even academicians are documenting this phenomenon, calling it the "glass cliff". Teresa May is one of the most famous examples of the glass cliff; she took up the role of prime minister after the chaotic 2016 Brexit referendum.
Women are hired to take on leadership positions when things go awry
Lagarde herself is not new to challenges, she has run the International Monetary Fund for the last eight years and was recently nominated to become the succeeding president of the European Central Bank (ECB), which governs monetary policy for the eurozone. She was also the first female finance minister of any G8 economy and is now known as one of the most powerful women in the world. Though her newest role as president of the ECB is yet to be made official, her first challenge will be to strengthen the lethargic European economy. Although women all over the world are familiar with the term, the "glass ceiling", the newest kid on the block is the "glass cliff" where women are hired to take on leadership positions when things go awry. This is because of "a perceived mildness of temper, an ability to stay rational and effective communication skills." "They’re effectively handed the mess to clean up," says Anna Beninger, senior director of research and corporate engagement partner at Catalyst.
Women often feel pressured to take up such positions
According to research, 63 percent of respondents thought that women should take over companies in times of crisis, however, women CEOs are 45 percent more likely to be fired than male CEOs. Interestingly, an attitude study among US college students revealed that 69 percent of them thought that a woman should be hired to lead if the company led by men is in shambles. 62 percent believe that men should continue to lead if the company is prosperous, but this was not the case in women-lead companies. Tragically, this means that women have to work harder than ever, more than men to hold their leadership positions to avoid being pushed off the cliff. Also, women often feel that this might be their only shot so they feel pressured to take such positions, however, women who take on the glass cliff are also more likely to take risks.
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