I’m often amused at “Women in the Workplace!” articles that always strike the chord between silly and purely offensive. The recent article by author, Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell, PhD is no different.
Did you know that women are actually in leadership positions? This article explains that while they are in positions, they aren’t represented as they should be. This is probably the only truth in the entire piece. How many women are in executive roles? Women on Business proclaims the ratio is 10-1, (10 being males in the role, women being 1.) In a recent study for the State of California, the following was found:
- Women hold only 10.4% of the board seats and highest-paid executive officer positions. That’s one woman for every nine men in the top leadership roles at these 400 high-profile public companies.
- 122 (more than 30%) of California’s 400 largest public companies have no women in a top executive position or on the board of directors.
- Half of the 400 companies have no woman among their executive officers.
- 47% percent have no woman in the boardroom.
- Only 13 of these 400 companies have a woman CEO.
Results are similar across the national landscape. Dozens after dozens of articles have focused on the lack of women in leadership roles. Someday, one of these articles might sink in, but until then, we have gems like Ms. Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell, PhD, to remind us about how, “backstabbing” and “throat slashing,” us women can be. (Yes, she really said that.) To me this is equal to saying, “Like, women should be allowed to be like, leaders… but like… they twirl their hair and like, they’re just pretty… you know?” What good to we do for females or males to perpetuate myths that women are backstabbers and throat slashers and men are not?
Women’s brains are wired to communicate. However, good business leaders excel not because of their sexual wiring, but because of their ability to run corporations. To literally state that it’s WOMEN’S work to bring our corporations back to “kumbaya,” is not only sexist, it’s just plain offensive. Why do we always assume that a woman has to ‘act’ like a woman to be successful? The same holds true for those that say to be in a man’s role, a woman must act like a ‘man.’ How about, a woman acts like a fantastic business leader? In fact, I just wrote a piece for international company, CRAVE focusing on the role of sex and leadership. The more we perpetuate the sexist claims that only women are good at communicating and only men can bring out their balls in the boardroom, the farther back we place ourselves from the ultimate goal of equality. And really, do we need to use strong language for men and softer language like this for women?
“So what does this mean for the corporate culture and the nature of work with more women in the workplace than ever? Will we see a feminist Nirvana, filled with benevolent leaders? Will the new workplace be more “kumbaya” and less “off with their heads?” (Women Leaders In The Workplace, Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell, PhD)
Everytime we write the sentance, “women leaders proved they can be as tough, decisive and competitive as men,” a feminist foremother rolls over in her grave. Why? Because we no longer need to explain that we are ‘good enough’ and will measure up to male culture. The clincher was this paragraph:
“We have to be careful. Men used to be the ones slumped over their desks, dead of heart attacks at 50. Will women become the new men? What are the consequences for women as we careen back and forth between the personal and professional? Studies show that women at every level still leave the office and work a “second shift” at home, caring for husbands and children (if they have them) and doing the lion’s share of the housework and looking after elder relatives. The downsides to women’s new workforce power are: Stress, pressure, exhaustion, burn out and heart attacks — exactly what used to kill hard-driving corporate men and sometimes still does. (Women Leaders In The Workplace, Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell, PhD)
Did you know that it’s a man’s world to have a heart attack at 50? Apparently Dr. Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell never heard the staggering statistics on women and heart disease. Did you also know that only women care for their children and ‘elder relatives?’ I found it surprising that in today’s day and age, she is still perpetuating the myth that it’s a woman’s job to care for her family. How can we make women equal in the boardroom and leadership if we do not acknowledge the growing role and presence of men in caretaking roles? Though neither statistic, (men at home or women at work,) are where they should be, to ignore growing trends is careless. If you asked the good doctor today, I wonder if she’d stand by her notion that by women taking on more leadership roles, it opens them to early deaths. That’s a myth that a woman is perpetuating, herself and one that harms the cause.
For shame. At least I’ll have plenty of time to ponder the term, ‘mancession.’ You know, because only men caused the recession. Great work, Dr. Bell.