In The New York Times article “Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were,”by Susan Chira. I was moved by this quote that has summed up my beliefs in the struggle for true feminine power within most women. According to interviews with nearly two dozen female chief executives, would-be chief executives, headhunters, business school deans and human resources professionals, here are their insights.
“What they say: Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary. Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight. Men remain threatened by assertive women. Most women are not socialized to be unapologetically competitive. Some women get discouraged and drop out along the way. And many are disproportionately penalized for stumbles.” Wow! This is the wholehearted truth! I feel the need to break this down.
“Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary.” 'Often' is the key word here. None of this pertains to all women, but so many women truly are visionaries and they don't even feel it. I was once one of these women. I happen to marry a visionary artist. I've always seen him as a visionary. He sees things I don't see. He creates things out of thin air. It was so easy to see him or other creative icons and visionaries but never myself? What the hell was I envisioning? Over time, I cleared out the cobwebs and now I see clearly. This was a false belief and just wasn't true. I was living out the life I envisioned and others around me did think some of my actions and projects were visionary. I didn't think in that way. More confidence back in the day could've led to a different trajectory when I look back. But everything happens for a reason. Today there is more possibility and my visionary tendencies are evolving. This I think is possible for all women. It just takes commitment to self. By the way, aren't we sick of being so responsible and dependable? There is much more to the feminine than that.
“Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight.” I for sure was not socialized to be 'unapologetically competitive' or to be 'comfortable with self-promotion.' It has taken me years to post photos of myself via social media. It's just not how I was raised. I was verbally assaulted by peers my entire life for just being with comments like“oh, she thinks she's all that.” There are many women that hide their beauty & brains for fear of retaliation by jealous females or annoying machismo men. Trust me, I know. I see it all the time. Now that I'm raising a girl, I see the challenges from a mom's viewpoint and it is not pretty. I wrote an article about this for Beyond Mom, "Empowering Our Girls. Yes, You Are All That and Then Some."
“Men remain threatened by assertive women.” This is precisely the reason for those rumors that men should watch out from marrying professional women. I see this stereotype played out in the black community when an inordinate amount of professional black women remain single. They just can't win because when they date blue collar men, these men become intimidated by the women's success and then jet. I've seen this happen to friends for years! Look at what happened to Hilary Clinton! Our society of gender discrimination needs to shift dramatically.
Don't give up girls! Men, support the women in your life to keep it moving. I do believe it is possible for women to be strong, confident visionaries and still have a flourishing love & family life. Nothing is perfect, but with patience and diligence, life balance is possible. I support women get to this point...of loving themselves enough to where their confidence is shining and their reasons to hide vanish. We all deserve the injustice to fade into the sunsets. I know that's a bit dreamy, but keeping the conversations and intentions alive is one step in women rising to the top of whatever ladder they decide to climb. We just have to take one step at a time.
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