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Women continue to pay a huge career price for having a family; nine years from graduating, male MBAs from Chicago’s Booth Business School earn on average 60% more than their female counterparts*. Gender inequality is so real and so pervasive that it’s hard to know where to start to address it. But one thing is certain: every major advance in human history has begun with someone asking questions.

* Dynamics of gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors Marianne Bertrand, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz.

What's the problem?

There have never been so many women graduating from the world’s top universities and business schools. In the us and uk, women now comprise the majority of graduates, while in europe more women complete secondary education than men.

So why are there still so few women in decision-making positions in governments, large institutions and major corporates? Why is the global economy failing to make the most of its talent pool? And why does it matter?

Women already play a huge role in the global economy, but not at the top, in the most influential positions and not evenly across all sectors. The fact is, fewer women enter the talent pipeline in many key industries and business sectors and the leakage is far higher. So, fewer women reach leadership positions. If these gender imbalances are not addressed, and if women are not visible or seen to be succeeding at the highest level in their careers, they cannot serve as role models to future generations. If things do not change, governments and corporate organizations – whole societies – will continue to under-utilize women’s talents and perspectives.

Why engage?

There are problems all along the talent pipeline, from childhood and gender socialization to choice of subjects for study, but college or university is where most women are making their first major tactical career decisions. What influences these decisions? If we are to understand the nature of the problem, we need to know what the next generation of women themselves think, what they hope for, what motivates them, what concerns them and why they make the career choices they do. And that’s what generation neXXt will find out.

generation neXXt will look at the attitudes, aspirations and concerns of female undergraduates in around the world. It will yield insight, facts and figures that can be used to drive the debate, explore the existing problems and the arguments for change, and examine what they make of what’s being done to advance the position of women in society.

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