On a panel of authors, each of us spoke about the passion that drove us to write, the process of writing and the publishing process. The passion that drove me to write was that I wanted to change the shape of corporate America (more women at the top); to help men and women see why the needle has moved so slowly in getting more women to the top – and what it will take to achieve true gender diversity; and to make the path easier for women. Writing it was easy and fun. Publishing it was scary and hard at times. I birthed the book. It has made a difference. Should I birth more?
In celebrating the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, I reflect on the dream of having people judged on their contributions, not on how they look. My dream is a world where leadership and success are based on talent and contribution, not on how we look or on gendered definitions of leadership. We have come a long way but have far to go.
Generations are created and influenced by experiences in the formative years. They are shaped by ongoing change. Traditionals’ world view and values were shaped by World War II. In their lifetimes, the views of women’s roles have undergone dramatic change. “Retirement” has been redefined. They have seen and been affected by unprecedented technological change. Many women Traditionals today are actively involved, working and contributing. What changes will affect women now in their 20’s?
The proximity of three big holidays makes me reflect on the mission of Difference WORKS — helping create workplaces that value, in both men and women, both masculine and feminine ways of thinking, working and leading. This is a niche in the broader field of diversity and inclusion and the issues related to women’s rights. Thanksgiving makes me grateful that American women have made more advances than in many areas of the world. For the season of giving, I give you my holiday greetings and a commitment to keep at my mission. For New Year’s, I hope anything negative for your in 2014 is left behind and that 2015 is great.
The CNN Series on The Sixties chronicles all kinds of changes that occurred five decades ago. There has been remarkable progress in terms of seeing women in positions of power and authority. Images of what women can do and where they belong are changing. Are we there yet? Women represent nearly 47% of the Fortune 500 workforce yet only 4.8% of CEO’s We are not “there” until women and men compete on a level field and we value masculine and feminine approaches equally.
While there are many successful women in sales, proportionally fewer are good at selling themselves (e.g., as a provider of professional services). Both older and younger women have a hard time “tooting their own horn.” Women find it easier, in general, to sell others and may do a “soft sell.” Reluctance to sell oneself is deeply rooted in nature (brain structure and hormones) and nurture. The “confidence gap” may affect some women’s ability to sell themselves.