The growing presence of minority and women executives challenges both corporations--overwhelmingly Caucasian, American, Protestant, and male--and communities. Also, many younger professionals, including majority-culture men, seek increased balance between career, family, and spirituality. Despite legal and social advances, corporate and community responses to unconventional executives remain insufficient.
Studying Jewish executive women at Fortune 1000 companies provides a paradigm for business and community diversity policies. These individuals blend--and generally surpass--educational, family, community and religious imperatives of 3 female populations: American, Jewish, and executive. The investigation could thus measure interwoven American, traditional, and professional factors influencing career and personal decisions, and propose workplace and societal accommodations for this and other groups.
The multidimensional method befitting this complex sample first examined primary and secondary texts to comprehend the interconnection of Judaic views about women and their work, Jewish and American historical forces, and contemporary religious and secular ideologies. The investigation then indexed responses to a survey, randomly distributed among Fortune 1000 executive women, assessing respondents' educational, familial, and spiritual backgrounds and commitments. These results, with some follow-up interviews, yielded a profile of the Jewish executive women. Lastly, the sample was statistically compared to American, Jewish, and executive women on points concerning corporate and community diversity conflicts.
Most respondents, who pursued education, marriage, motherhood, volunteering and spirituality at rates only recently approached by managerial women in general, reported greater tension between career and family duties than between those of career and religion. Yet most also perceived restricted opportunities for Jews. Clearly, for all groups, corporations must not only offer flex-time options; they must value, rather than discount, executives who utilize them, and actively promote diversity as a managerial asset.
Similarly, the Jewish community cannot dismiss executive women as assimilatory, but must appreciate and encourage their involvement, already surpassing norms. Outreach programs to engage them and their families in education, worship, and charitable service, as well as networks connecting and advocating for them in the workplace, would further link the community and this valuable sector of Jewish, as of corporate, society, and may guide like aspirations of other groups.