Just yesterday on BNET both Kimberly Weisul blogged about people still discriminating against women when they make investment and leadership decisions and Margaret Heffernan blogged about bias blinding us to being more successful by incorporating that which is unfamiliar into our decision-making process. Margaret is encouraging us to embrace, hire, and work with whomever and whatever is different from us. I’m throwing my two cents in as well to add to this discussion, as the timing is right and we are ripe for change. I am a former Marine Corps officer, who also happens to have a master degree in counseling. I have lived the experience of being in a male-dominated world. I also have the knowledge base from counseling that most problems, whether they are personal or related to work, are caused by a failure in communication due to unrealistic expectations and unexamined assumptions. With that being said, one of the major areas I work with people on now as a Mars Venus Success Coach is helping people communicate more effectively to improve both their professional and personal relationships. Articles abound with what is unfair and wrong about why women are not being slotted in top executive positions. There are still ceilings to break so we can build a stronger, more efficient, more balanced workforce. We’ve gotten this far operating on the premise (which is both an unrealistic expectation and unexamined assumption) that men and women are equal, deserve the same opportunities, and should be treated the same way. Women with their degrees not too long ago stepped up to the plate to take on executive positions. Many wondered why it was so difficult to be promoted or to be paid an equivalent wage. The world they were operating in was one created by men. Unfortunately, this is still the case in most industries. Most of the corporate world still operates in a system gender-biased to men’s style of communicating. Women are now and have been in the workplace since our first world war, and the phenomena being discussed centers around the shift that has occurred with more and more women being in the workforce. Countless studies now show women seek and obtain BOTH undergraduate and graduate degrees at unprecedented levels. With the slip in the economy, more women have also hung up their hats and returned to raising their kids, because the climate in corporate was not habitable for long-term residency. It is intolerable that we continue to operate from the prejudice that women should fit into this concept of “corporate” that was designed by and for men.
Men and women are in fact different. It's time we learn how to apply this positively to our lives.
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