My friend Lisa Petrilli tweeted out an article from the Wall Street Journal today. It’s called Women Lag Further in Reaching Executive Ranks. The article reports that there are actually fewer women working as CEOs than there were a couple of years ago even though women are ahead of men educationally. Women are also earning less money. In the social world, women tend to have fewer Twitter followers and less pull in the business niche, by the way.
As these things roll around in your head, consider the blog post written earlier this week (I refuse to send traffic its way) that noted that to be a truly successful PR professional, women need to know when to “show a little bra strap.” The male counterpart? Touch an elbow.
So what’s going on here, folks?
Divide and Conquer
Let me put this hypothesis out there for you.
Whereas men in the business world have set role models and rules of etiquette (or lack thereof) to follow, women are not a cohesive sisterhood when it comes to the same issues. As my friend Daria (@mominmanagement) so aptly showed through her “executive image” series, women can’t even agree on how best to dress for success in the business world.
There are other divisions out there, too. For example:
• Some of the most prominent women in the business world who work online tend to use a lot of swear words in their blog posts and tweets. Have you noticed that? Whereas other women stray as far away from vulgar language as possible. Why? To both modes of behavior.
• Some women define themselves first as mothers, then as business women. Other women turn that order around.
• Some women go out of their way to network with other women. Some women go out of their way to network with men. Still other women try to network with everybody equally.
• Some women argue that the glass ceiling is broken. Other women argue that the ceiling is made of granite.
And of course, then there is the ultimate division that men may not realize goes on in the world of women. There are some women who believe that the woman’s ultimate and best place is at home as a mother. Other women believe that the best place for a woman is in the professional, cut-throat world. And other women try to do it all at the same time.
Women are certainly divided. Are we on our way to being conquered?
Not a League, but Maybe a Team
Not too long ago, I wrote a post saying that I didn’t think stashing women away into a league of our own is the answer. I still believe that. However, maybe women do need to start thinking in more of a team mentality. Maybe women need to depend on each other more to build each other up. Maybe women need to actively support each other. This isn’t to say that women can no longer compete against each other, but if you look at successful men in the online business world, they tend to have support networks. If one man tweets out a post, you can usually bank on certain other men retweeting that post.
Does the same dynamic exist on the female side of the fence? I don’t see it as readily.
Is there something that can be done about that?
Are women so anxious to compete against men that we are all stomping on top of each other to get to the “big leagues?” Are we being sexist ourselves?
What do you think?
image by Muriel Miralles de Sawicki. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/murielle