Today, Carol Roth wrote an incredible, blunt, truthful post about the status of women in the world of entrepreneurship, business, and Social Media. It’s called At the Business Table, Where Are the Ladies? One of the key questions Carol asks is, “Why is there a TED for women?
There was a time in our country when the general philosophy regarding racing relations was summarized by the statement, “Separate but equal.” Of course, the “separate” rang a lot more true than the “equal.” Now, we look back on those times and think, “Man, how could our nation have ever gone there?”
And yet, in so many cases, “separate but equal” still summarizes the situation that exists between men and women.
If your gut instinct is to say, “That’s hogwash,” consider the following:
Women’s collegiate teams versus men’s
Women’s high school teams versus men’s
and, as Carol mentions, TED for women.
This is not the 1940s
I suppose it’s easy to think that all of these female-specific leagues and groups are progress. After all, when we watch a movie like A League of Their Own, we see how happy women were to have their own baseball league.
There’s just a couple of little problems with this line of thinking. First, that story takes place in the 1940s, during World War II. And second, the only reason THAT league formed was because the men were off fighting the Fascists, which took a higher priority (thank goodness).
We’re into a whole new century now, not to mention several decades away from those times. Isn’t it time we move beyond a league of our own?
Women and Social Media
There are so many amazing, strong, genius women online right now that it’s truly hard to mention just a few. In addition to Carol, my days are filled with the intelligence and leadership epitomized by women like Liz Strauss, Lisa Petrilli, Amber Naslund, Marsha Collier, Ann Handley, Beth Harte, Mari Smith, Denise Wakeman, Jill Manty, Debra Leitl, Kristi Hines, and tons more. And yet, as Carol points out, if you ask who the “big names” are in Social Media, it’s mostly men who will be mentioned. Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Brian Solis. The women seem kind of pushed over to the side. There are lists that focus exclusively on women, but seldom are women equally applauded with men. Seldom are women rewarded with the same respect and pull.
Maybe we need to make it happen
Maybe women aren’t getting the same kind of respect because we aren’t demanding it. I would say that it’s hard for a woman to aggressively demand respect. It is so easy in our society to call such women bad names or to attribute their ambition to “that time of the month.” But maybe we just need to keep enduring the insults. Maybe we just need to change the conversation. Maybe we need to say “no thanks” to a group slotted out for “us types.” Mix us in, please.
What do you think?
Are we stuck in a 1940s mentality, where a “league” or “group” created for women is thought to be equality? Is something else afoot?
Let’s continue the conversation.