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Abstract

The 2012 election brought headlines such as "Another 'Year of Women' in Congress." Although the number of women in the highest legislative offices increased, their numbers are still significantly lower than those of men. Fewer than 100 women hold office in both houses of Congress. Corporate America similarly reflects significantly low female leadership numbers. For example, "fewer than 20% of finance industry directors and executives are women, and [there are] no women leading the 20 biggest U.S. banks and securities firms." Women make up nearly half the workforce and hold 60% of bachelor degrees, yet they hold only 14% of senior executive positions at Fortune 500 companies and 40% of managerial positions overall. These figures have persisted unchanged since 2005. Subtle yet entrenched forms of gender discrimination have clearly stalled women's career progress, and more must be done to rectify these disparities. The differences in gender outcome may be a function of demand-side (work-related) and supply-side (worker-related) characteristics. These include personal characteristics, human and social capital, and developmental, interpersonal, and situational factors. Gender overlaps with multiple group memberships based on family status, race, religion, national origin, and disability. These group memberships also influence women's status and power dynamics in the family, the workplace, and in other communities. The interplay of these factors makes gender-based discrimination an interesting phenomenon to explore. Having dependents is an important family status variable in the larger scheme of social differentiators that account for sex differences in careerrelated outcomes. In this study, we are interested in whether men or women benefit more from having access to networks when they have dependents. Prior studies have shown that mentoring and networking are major components of professional development that lead to career advancement. We are also interested in whether the outcome differs for those men and women who report having mentors.