I have worked in the business world for more than 25 years and I am tired of seeing mostly men in the high paying jobs. Is it the system or should we be blaming ourselves?
By: Christine Brown
I have worked in the business world for more than 25 years and I am tired of seeing mostly men in the high paying jobs. Many capable women are out there working just as hard but are not getting the break they deserve. Is it the system or should we be blaming ourselves?
The recent shift in the job market to tech jobs is doing nothing to help the fairer sex, since everyone is more more comfortable seeing young men as the leaders in the technology industry.
We need more women role models, whether they be at the start-up stage or high-level corporate execs. Whenever I hear of a woman being promoted, particularly in the high tech sector, I want to get up and cheer.
Many women think technology and engineering are for men.
Do we really believe that we lose our femininity if we show interest in these fields? Both require skills in areas in which women excel: attention to detail and patience. That’s why we have traditionally been so good in support roles. Bright ideas would never get off the ground if someone didn’t attend to the small items, one piece at a time. You don’t become nerdy or unattractive just by taking charge.
Women have been taught that it’s not “ladylike” to boast.
Although no one likes a braggart, there are times to step up to the plate and promote yourself. “Modesty”, our mothers would say “has its own rewards”. So, we stand around waiting for someone to recognize us. Not in business; you can bet the men are out there pushing themselves with everything they can muster.
Women lack confidence in their ability.
We’re afraid to present an idea, no matter how good it is because it’s not perfect. Someone might point out a flaw and we’ll feel ridiculed. How many suggestions are faultless? They are only the beginning and evolve into a plan after careful consideration and input from others. Let’s stop riding shot-gun and take hold of the reins!
We aren’t willing to take a risk.
This one falls fast on the heels of the lack of confidence idea. We take risks every day of our lives. Many of us married, bought property, changed jobs or became mothers. All of these were done weighing the risks involved. Why should we be afraid to take a chance on furthering our careers? If we aren’t willing to fail, then we will never truly achieve greatness. How many dot-com businesses, in which people invested tens of millions of dollars have failed. Most were led by bright young male entrepreneurs who are out there looking for new funding to start another one.
Women think success destroys quality of life.
I have many women friends who work long hours and still bring work home. They get up at the crack of dawn to attend breakfast meetings or catch an early flight. What makes you think your boss works any harder? In fact, you have more control when you’re in charge. Meetings can often be arranged to suit your plans and everyone else has to fit in. What you end up with is more time, freedom to be with your family or to pursue other interests. The compensation that comes with a better position allows you to enjoy a comfortable life and save for retirement.
Women are not good at promoting each other.
The only way women are going to catch up in the tech industry — or any other part of the economy, for that matter — is if we begin to do business with each other and support each other’s successes. All around me I see women who have “made it”, work very hard to please their male counterparts. It was such a struggle to climb the ladder that they are nervous about losing their foothold. Being a “token female” and owing her success to a male mentor, doesn’t allow much freedom to promote other women.
So, if you happen to be in a position to further the cause of women, play an active roll. The next time you need a vendor or a service, look for a qualified woman first. Be on the lookout and support companies that recognize and promote women. Vote for women and men political candidates that support women and family issues.
How often do we see a big-named, woman-focused business run by men, when there are many bright, educated women looking for the opportunity?