I’ve read several articles and books recently that purport to tell women what they need to do and what they shouldn’t do to be successful in the business, especially the corporate, environment.
Not much seems to have changed over the years regarding the advice that women are given.
It’s Not (Just) a Man’s World Any More
Despite the progress we have made regarding the appreciation of what women can and do bring to the table, we still seem to think that women should act more like men.
Now, it is true that the business world has been developed primarily by men, so the norms have been based on male styles of behavior.
However, there has been a lot of research lately that shows that a lot of people really like and respond well to the feminine ways of interacting and leading, for example, John Gerzema’s “The Athena Doctrine: How Women [and the Men Who Think Like Them] Will Rule the Future”.
These recent articles and books that I’ve been reading warn women that if they talk too much, nod their heads, don’t stand a certain way, or sit a certain way, (read – act too much like women) they will never be successful. And, yes, there are certainly guidelines for showing up professionally in a business setting that are appropriate. But these pieces, many aimed at young women just starting out their in their careers, tell young women that they are pretty much doomed by the unconscious bias that is out there (it is out there) and that we are not on pace to achieve gender parity in the American business/corporate world for another hundred years.
Were I a younger woman, I might just be inclined to throw in the towel and hang up my corporate careers goals after reading all this gloom and doom.
Write a New Story
I would like to tell the 40 million-plus US Millennial women that they can create a different story – with as many words as they would like to use and go a head and nod while doing it!
If we invite, with great enthusiasm, these women (those of them that want a career in the corporate world in any industry) into the corporate/scientific/academic worlds and allow them to be who they naturally are as women, we will see happier, more productive, more financially stable companies who do good in the world.
And these women, along with their male counterparts, will make the world a better place for them, for us and for their children.
I believe that women are great leaders. What about you?