With her shocking dismissal in the spring of 2014, former New York Times editor Jill Abramson can now be added to the list of women who have been hired to run large, prominent corporations (see: Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, etc.) – only to be publicly fired soon thereafter. This troubling trend, often referred to as the glass cliff, raises important questions about the challenges that confront women and minorities in the workplace, and the prejudices that still surround those who make it to the top. In The Abramson Effect, Barnard College president Debora Spar explores how far women have come from the days when career options were limited to secretary, teacher, and nurse, but also, as illustrated by Jill Abramson’s case, how far we have left to go.
Debora L. Spar is the president of Barnard College, the women’s undergraduate college affiliated with Columbia University. She received her doctorate in government from Harvard University and was the Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Spar is the author of numerous books, including Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Discovery, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet and The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception. Her most recent book, the New York Times-bestselling Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, will be out in paperback in October 2014.