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Where are the women?

January 12th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Today we got the February Fast Company in our mailbox. The title article – Where Are the Women? in huge letters on a red background grabbed my attention and I began reading immediately on my walk back to our house. I told Ted he could have it later 🙂

This article doesn’t seem to be on-line yet so I’ve typed some quotes (out of context a bit, yes) below. Many of the women interviewed have left the executive track, not opting out, but sometimes creating their own companies or serving on boards, still working but in their own ways, in the ways they want to work.

I found this discussion fascinating and I’d recommend reading the entire article – in print or whenever it comes on line….for now here are some excerpts:

“When you talk about those big jobs, those CEO jobs, you just have to give them your life,” she says. “You can’t alter them to make them accommodate women any better than men. It’s just the way it is.” The Woman Who Walked Away [a.k.a. Brenda Barnes]

…as she watched her second-grader blow out the candles on her birthday cake, Cabrera had an unsettling realization: She didn’t know her own child as well as most of the friends and family who had gathered to celebrate the big event….”I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing?” Then she thought about her job. To walk away would mean upheaval. Plus, there was a principle at stake: “I had the sense I was letting down my sex by leaving.” [Marta Cabrera]

…She [Cabrera] was doing what women often do: scaling back on work for the sake of family, with a clear-eyed realization that she was, simultaneously, torpedoing her chances for a climb up the ladder. What’s more, she didn’t care. It’s a choice women often make, with no particular social sanctions. For some, it’s even an easy and convenient way to escape an increasingly hostile and unfriendly work world, an out that men simply don’t have. But it’s also the reason women may be stalled at the lower rungs in organizations and men may continue to rule.

…In 1986 he [Stanford Business School’s Charles A. O’ Reilly III] began following a goupr of Berkeley MBAs to see if he could isolate those qualities that lead to a corner office. His conclusion is starkly simple: Success in a corporation is less a function of gender discrimination than of how hard a person chooses to compete. And the folks who tend to compete the hardest are generally the stereotypical manly men.

…”I’ve made choices all through my career…I’ve not pursued promotions in the same way I might have had I not been trying to balance other things in my life. It’s been important to me to be home and have dinner with my family. You can’t do that and move up the ladder.” [Diane Brandt]

…”I’ve worked closely with 20 CEOs over the past decade – both men and women,” he says. “All of them are characterized by being driven. Something in them says, “This is important enough for me to make the sacrifices that are inherent with the job.” [David Nadler, chairman of Mercer Delta Consulting]

…Asked what advice she would give a daughter, M.R.C. Greenwood, chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, warns, “Remember that the assumption that one’s marriage will remain intact as she moves up is a false assumption. You really have to know yourself and know it will take a toll.”

…”When a woman gets near the top, she starts asking herself the most intelligent questions..Women haven’t learned to get their love by being president of a company…” [Warren Farrell, author]… Free of the ego needs driving male colleagues, they’re likelier to weigh the trade-offs and opt for saner lives.

…”The reason a lot of women aren’t shooting for the corner office is that they’ve seen it up close and it’s not a pretty scene.” [Mary Lou Quinlan]

…”…but in practice, the higher up you go, by and large, jobs get greedier and greedier…” [Catherine Hakim, sociologist]

…”How much this generation is willing to give to any enterprise is a totally different ballgame.” [Brenda Barnes, speaking from her experience teaching at Kellogg].

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Mercurial // Aug 27, 2004 at 7:37 am

    Job satisfaction

    With the recognition of women in the formerly male-dominated workplace, came the issue of balancing careers and families. Julie Leung…