Being a working woman, off late I have had one question constantly nagging me... Today the world as a whole has progressed quite a bit... compared to let's say two hundred years ago. Even in countries with some of the lowest percentage of literacy women are getting educated and are striving to make a living on their own (at varying levels and degrees ofcourse)
All this said, why is statistics still showing women as a minority in leading roles (CEOs, COOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs) ?
This is true even in some of the most progressive European countries like Sweden, Norway etc where it is even reported that their population is dimishing because women have put forth their career as the most important aspect of their lives and don't see any need to procreate or let anything else come in the way!
Is there a difference between what women have to offer versus men when it comes to a position with power, control and loads of accountability?
If so, what is it?
This is where some of the theories of how men and women have evolved over so many hundreds of years makes sense.
During the primitive age theory of evolution describes men to have been 'hunters' who actually got out, fought unfriendly environmental (and many other kinds of) battles to bring back all that is needed to support his 'dependents'
On the other hand women were said to be 'gatherers' or 'nurturers' who were known to survive with their social skills of negotiating with other women and nurturing the household by effectively utilizing the resources given to them by their 'bread-winner'
How is this relevant today? Well, I think all these centuries of evolution is noteworthy but as human beings we do carry on all the goods and bads of the past and take a while (or never) to shirk off all that is not so relevant today as they were during the cave days!
I say this because how else can we explain that even in the poorest of nations people have started thinking about and acknowledging the power of women in the work force and still women are also struggling to crack the glass ceiling?
Even in the United States where a woman stood for presidency in 2009, just 50 years ago women could not even vote!
So one thing that stands out is, are women unintentionally undermining their true potential?
Men are taught to work,survive and compete like there is no tomorrow right from they are born.
For women (in some cultures) working and/or being financially independent is optional.
Is there a constant reminder and satisfaction that we have already come so far ahead compared to our moms and grandmoms that anything beyond this is just bonus?
Another thing that seems plausible is women are wired a particular way (probably from all the age old conditioning), one stark example is how women perceive things like schedule, accountability, hard work and so forth at work.
By perception I mean women are known to be extremely meticulous, diligent, emotional beings. This causes to take a lot of things too personally at work... and at the end of the day are women working more 'hard' than 'smart'?
Don't get me wrong, some of these traits like how attentive and disciplined women are can be their biggest strengths when compared to their male counterparts... however are we bogged down by this rather than making it a resource that works to our advantage?
There is another disturbing factor that may be a contributor... I have always heard people mention the term 'old boys network' how come there is never a mention of an 'old gals network'?
I am personally experiencing (and probably guilty of) the following claim: As women grow older, why are their relationships with other women so complicated? I mean men have brutal fights, they are petty and can experience relationship fall-outs with other men for the silliest of things ... but somehow it is very sad to quote that complications seem to be more commonly occuring between women friends, roommates, collegues, relatives...
Is there a fundamental problem here about how women choose to treat and respect other women? If this can be turned around this may work like a charm professionally when women have a network, when women support and act on the progress of other women like a lot of men do. If women can let go of minor things and befriend other women outside of their man or kids... imagine how much relief our moms would have had in their 20s if they had women friends they could trust when life was a lot more claustrophobic than today?
These theories have nothing to do with the 'conscious' choices some women make about wanting a big family, wanting to 'be there' for their children when they most need them... all these explanations are not pointing to evidence that women can't play a powerful role in their professions because of wanting a quality family life also... men want that too and they somehow manage to achieve both!
The theory of evolution also leads to the belief that because of years of honing people and social skills women are excellent judges of character, have some amazing vision and pragmatism when men struggle...
Maybe this will just take time... we are talking of about 21 centuries of conditioning, it's all not going to vanish in to thin air!
Just that is it not disheartening to see women with so much potential still not being able to bring all that with full force and not just dent but actually break that darn glass ceiling?