I believe some women shy away from leadership roles because they want to be true leaders; this is because sometimes in their day to day work lives they see male counterpart not exhibiting true leadership. What they see are authority figures and watch as co-workers “follow” these so called “leaders” by doing exactly what they are told to do. No one is truly following. It was said that women sometime feel like imposters, waiting to be found out. As a black woman in Corporate America I never felt like an imposter or fearful of being found out. But I think my male counterparts and superiors felt like imposters, not wanting to be found out.
It seems to me they don’t want to lead, they just want the authority to be able to control. Most of them had personal agendas and were only looking out for themselves. In doing this they don’t want real leadership to be shown, so they try and change women to lead by their definition or keep them out altogether. A woman showing real leadership is a threat to male supremacy and authority. I think Corporate America has lost touch with the true meaning of leadership. Maybe the men are keeping women out of leadership roles so they won’t be found out, showing them to be the real imposters. If women in these roles show true leadership then the men will be seen for who they really are. In Corporate America, are men leaders or authority figures? What do you think?
Women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, and there still is a lot of work to be done regarding equal pay and opportunity. Even though women hold many of the same jobs as men, women’s wages are typically 17% lower than men. This is what prompted me to leave a company after working there for thirty-one years. I did this because I realized I had accepted lateral movements disguised as promotions. I also began to notice that the company was not coming up with any strategies to promote women to key leadership positions. The calculated smoke and mirror “career” movements were designed to keep me feeling as if I did have a chance to grow in my position. But one day I realized the glass ceiling and walls were staring me in the face. The only thing different was my career was turning into a job. The company was taking me in a direction I did not want to go, basically no direction at all. I had to take control of my own career. I am not saying you should make abrupt decisions but plan and workout a good strategy to take you closer to the successes and goals you see for yourself. So, are you defining your own success concerning your career? Do you feel as if the company you are with is a good fit for you and your career goals? With the ending of 2013, going into 2014 what career changes would you like to make in the New Year? Are you holding on to a job in lieu of a career? So ask yourself, when it comes to your current career situation are you going someplace slow and nowhere fast?
The wage gap between men and women is a well-documented fact. But new research shows this gap is attributed in part to the way women are perceived in the workplace. This study showed that when managers knew they could blame the company’s financial position for their pay decisions, they were more likely to give women smaller raises than men. It was said that women may be more readily appeased by this excuse than men. Findings from an experiment of 184 male and female managers with an average of 13.5 years of experience gave 71% of the money available for raises to men and only allocated 29% of the money for women. Some of this disparity was blamed on the differences in men’s and women’s willingness or skill in negotiating pay. But if you are giving 71% of the money to men, why would they need to negotiate?
It also showed that managers who gave women explanations or excuses for smaller raises felt they were treating women fairly because they could explain the differences. When managers could not explain their decisions, they gave equal raises to men and women. It is amazing how little we have progressed in the last 100 years. How much longer are we going to allow ourselves to be discriminated against? Why are we doing the same jobs with less pay? Why are we settling for less?
As the Olympic games come to an end we can look back and see the accomplishments made by women. But what did we really accomplish? Gabby Douglas was the first African-American to win the gymnastic all around gold medal as well as the gold for the USA gymnastics team. But all we heard about was her hair. The two women from Saudi Arabia were the first women to participate in the Olympics. But they were called #prostituteoftheOlympics on Twitter even before competing. Allison Schmitt won a gold medal for swimming but was criticized for not being sexy enough and Lolo Jones was criticized for being too sexy. Lolo blamed this kind of talk for her lack luster performance in the Olympics. Serena Williams won two gold medals in the Olympics for tennis, having won the most Golden Grand Slams, man or women in both singles and doubles. But all they could talk about was her “crip walk” victory dance. I read an article in the New York Times where the writer said, “Hey, girls, you can play, but only under these rules”:
- Be pretty, but not too pretty
- Celebrate but only in approved ways
- And by all means, when breaking down huge color barriers, make sure your hair is styled in a way that is pleasing to everybody
And women, let’s stop being our own worst enemy by contributing to the double standards in the Olympics. We should be looking at accomplishments of women in the Olympics, not their hair, clothes and looks. If we don’t support one another, how can we expect to get the respect we deserve? When we stand by and allow the criticism of these women we are creating discrimination for women everywhere. So let’s go get the gold but don’t forget the respect.
Congress will soon be going on a break in August and the House of Representatives are deciding which bills they will pass before they leave. One of the bills up for reauthorization is the “Violence Against Women Act”, the landmark 1994 law that strengthened the nation’s efforts against domestic violence, sexual assaults and stalking. In May, fifteen Republican Senators joined with Democratic Senators to approve a strong reauthorization bill. Instead of supporting their Senators hard work the House Republicans pushed to pass their own watered down version, ignoring President Obama’s veto threat. Unless change happens, the Republicans will be responsible for blocking the renewal of a popular lifesaving bill.
Ladies, I think it is time we vote for the issues that affect women and not a person or a party. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, we have to show these politicians that if they want our vote they need to take women’s issues very seriously. The negotiations on the final bill are in limbo and it is time to speak out. I say if these candidates and politicians want my vote, this is surely not the way to do it. As we go into the fall campaign season with elections just around the corner, does it seem like these politicians value our vote? Do they want our vote or does it seem like we are a low priority on their list of agendas? Let’s let them know what we think by raising our voices and voting the issues at the polls.
On May 29th I volunteered at the YWCA front desk. I was greeted by a nice lady named Maureen, who is in charge of fundraising. She showed me the things needed to be done, answering the phones, letting people in the secured facility, greeting people and directing them to the correct personnel. I watched as mother’s brought their children to the Child Development Center and the workers take the children to the onsite playground.
I decided to volunteer for this organization because their mission is near and dear to my heart. They work to meet the needs of women in their communities. The YWCA supports programs that include child care, rape crisis intervention, domestic violence assistance (shelters for victims and family), and career counseling. Their national priorities are elimination of racism, affirmative action, hate crimes, violence against women, increasing women’s income, welfare reform and early childhood education. Because the YWCA does so much to help others I decided to ask them how I may help you.
I spent three hours at the front desk and wished I could have given more of my time that day. But for me I know this will not be the last time I volunteer here. During this election year we are seeing more and more of rights gained by women erode. Healthcare and salary are still a major issue and struggle for women. What have you done lately to help further cause and issues for women?
The first article I read in The New York Times was by Mayim Bialik, an actress who is currently starring in the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” and the author of “Beyond the Sling”. She also has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. The name of her article is “Attachment Parenting is Feminism”. In her article she defined what attachment parenting is, “an umbrella term” coined by pediatrician William Sears. He described it as a style of parenting that embraces the normal biology of pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding and bonding that ensure raising children who demonstrate the psychological classification of being securely attached. Mayim stated that by definition this type of parenting is not perfect but instead seeks to educate women and families about natural, organic and normal ways our bodies were made and how to maximize the potential for securely attached children. The harmony exists for children with parents who are not afraid to be imperfect.
She states mothers who practice attached parenting are concerned about what hormonal contraceptives do to your body and your brain. Why doctors prescribe birth control to teenagers and adults who don’t have “regular” menstrual cycles. Along with the intervention of Pitocin during labor, the belief that breast milk is biologically and nutritionally superior to formula and that sleeping next to your baby releases positive hormones that facilitates bonding. At the end Mayim asked the question, now tell me how attachment parenting is inconsistent with feminism? How would you answer this question?