There are many possible contributing factors here. Among the most important are:
- Perceptions about male and female personal characteristics. Some people see women as less forceful and assertive. Therefore, people who select leaders for organizations may be less likely to select women because they feel that leaders need to be forceful and assertive.
- Old boys networks. Much hiring and promotion is done on the basis of personal contacts. Men have traditionally held the power than many of their personal contacts, their cronies, will be men as well. This perpetuates the tendency toward male dominance of leadership positions.
- Demands of raising a family. Women are more likely to take time off to have children. This slows their progress up the organizational ladder and may also make them look less dedicated to their organizations.
All of these are major reasons why women continue to encounter a "glass ceiling."