“FINALLY! I hear we’re all living in a women’s world now.” So begins the Joanne Lippman article “The Mismeasure of Woman.” On the most e-mailed list at the New York Times for three days, this article states simply that all of the progress made by women may not be as much as people had thought. I encourage you to click on the link and read the article. Here are a couple of excerpts:
For the first time, women make up half the work force. The Shriver Report, out just last week, found that mothers are the major breadwinners in 40 percent of families. We have a female speaker of the House and a female secretary of state. Thirty-two women have served as governors. Thirty-eight have served as senators. Four out of eight Ivy League presidents are women.
Women do have a different culture from men. And that can give us some tremendous advantages. Women are built to withstand hardship and pain. (Anyone who has given birth knows what I’m talking about.) That’s a big benefit at a time like this, with the unemployment rate at 9.8 percent and rising.
Women define success differently; for some it may be a career, for others the ability to stay home with children. They also define themselves differently. I’m in the unfortunate position of witnessing many friends and colleagues laid off over the past year. But the women are less apt to fall apart — and this goes even for the primary breadwinners — because they are less likely to define themselves by their job in the first place.
But evidence is mounting that women have not found the flexibility and advancement that they had hoped for within the corporate world. More and more have to carve out their own entrepreneurially driven companies to really get what they want.
But one specific that really struck me in the article was this:
We can begin by telling girls to have confidence in themselves, to not always feel the need to be the passive “good girl.” In my time as an editor, many, many men have come through my door asking for a raise or demanding a promotion. Guess how many women have ever asked me for a promotion?
I’ll tell you. Exactly … zero.
It is proof of the contention in the terrific book by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide. Here’s a quote from the book:
Women don’t ask. They don’t ask for raises and promotions and better job opportunities. They don’t ask for recognition for the good work they do. They don’t ask for more help at home. In other words, women are much less likely than men to use negotiation to get what they want.
I think the question is very much still an ongoing one – what do women need in the workplace? But this I think I know – as they figure it out, they need to learn to actually ask for what they want and need.
To purchase my synopsis of Women Don’t Ask, with audio + handout), and to purchase the synopsis of their follow up book, Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want, presented by my colleague Karl Krayer, go to our companion web site 15minutebusinessbooks.com.