According to Prof Michelle Ryan, women start out as ambitious as men but it erodes over time.

The findings of this report isn’t news to most women. While women are graduating in record numbers form post-secondary school, the representation of women in the professions is still lagging. One of the greatest myths used to explain this away is that women aren’t as ambitious as men.

As part of its series debunking myths, The Guardian profiles the work of Michelle Ryan, a professor of social and organisational psychology at the University of Exeter. Professor Ryan determined that “Many women are just as ambitious as men when they begin their careers, but become so wearied by fighting against multiple structural and experiential barriers to their success that this ambition often wanes.”

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