Can Moms Be CEOs?

Lots of good facts in Amy Joyce's recent Washington Post column about the ongoing dearth of top female executives in Fortune 500 companies, Her No. 1 Problem. The article recaps the results of a Catalyst study analyzing the number of women in corporate officer positions in 2005.

The news is not good. Catalyst, the nonprofit research and women's advocacy group, has created a pyramid to demonstrate women's representation at work compared to men. The large bottom section: 46.4 percent women, 53.6 percent men. Women in management: 50.6 percent. Fortune 500 top earners: 6.4 percent women. Female chief executives: 1.6 percent.

Catalyst president Ilene Lang sums up the past decade succinctly: "progress has almost come to a standstill." Amy Joyce makes the same point: "If things keep growing at the rate they have for the past decade (0.82 percentage points per year), it would take 40 years for there to be an equal number of women and men in Fortune 500 corporate officer ranks."

The article gives equal ink to the following arguments about factors holding women back: lack of role models and networks benefitting women, gender discrimination, women keeping themselves down with self-imposed fears and insecurities. Whatever the causes, corporate America is driving working women at all levels out in droves. More than 6.5 million women in America own their own businesses, coincidentally about the same number of stay-at-home moms in the country. Women-owned businesses grew a dramatic 20 percent from 1997 to 2002, according to U.S. Census figures cited in Amy's piece, during the time that corporate promotion of women stalled.

Just yesterday, Amy Joyce reported a postcript in Fortune 500 Gains Female CEO. PepsiCo Inc. annointed Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, a 50-year old Yale-educated native of India who joined Pepsi in 1994, to the corporation's top slot, bringing the number of Fortune 500 female chief executives up to 2.2 percent or a whopping eleven women.

Catalyst's study doesn't break out which Fortune 500 executives have children or the role motherhood plays in top executives' success, but according to my research, Nooyi has two daughters. Thanks, Indra -- and thanks Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon and mother of two; thanks Patricia Russo, CEO of Lucent and stepmother of two; thanks Anne Mulcahy, CEO of IBM and mother of two; thanks Mary Sammons, CEO of Rite Aid and mother of one; and thanks to all the other working moms, at all levels, for proving yet again and again and again and again that work and motherhood don't have to be mutually exclusive.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 16, 2006; 7:16 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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Data looking a male and female academic achievement suggests patterns that contribute to this finding in CEO leadership.

Girls and women -- on average! -- are outpacing boys and men in areas like
high school gradation
test scores
college matriculation and graduation
internships and placements

BUT, at the highest levels, we still see phenomenal performance by some highly-competent boys and men.

This is born out by my more than 12 years experience teaching TERPS. Women push the class average. But at the most significant levels of achievement in the classroom setting, I often see the accomplished male student way-out-front.

In the sciences, engineering, math, and other highly numerical/logical/computation areas, the picture shifts: male achievement -- on average -- is higher

Posted by: College Parkian | August 16, 2006 7:59 AM

I'm sure there are fewer women than men in these positions for all of the reasons cited in the article. But maybe an overlooked factor (and perhaps a big one?) is that women simply don't want these jobs. Maybe keeping jobs that entail fewer hours enable some of us to have more of the balance we prize (which does not necessarily indicate fear or insecurity). Perhaps we could look at the number of applicants vs. the rate of hire?

Posted by: Just a thought... | August 16, 2006 8:19 AM

Maybe, being a CEO takes certain qualities that are more natural for a man. I don't think you have to seek out the same number of women in a certain job to consider it equality. I think it helps to work to the strengths of a person.

Ie, why are not complaining about the same # of women fire and police officers????

There are some roles that come more naturally for men and the same goes for women. I don't see it as a negative thing at all.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 8:26 AM

I work at a very success computer hardware & engineering company. Our CEO, a great guy, as worked it such that he spends about half the week in the office, and half at home with his family.

I think it comes down to setting the rules and hiring the right people who will support you.

Work smarter, not harder...
I think you can join a level of the workforce where there's the opportunity to always work more, and try to get ahead somehow. But there's also a point of diminishing returns on your hours invested to the return of whatever metric you use to measure success. ( I think a lot of the readers/contributers to this forum are guilty with their 40-60+ hour weeks).

Find that point, don't go over it, and spend as much time possible with your family!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 8:42 AM

No, Lou. No, no, no. Why are you going there today?

Yes, women are complaining about the dearth of female cops and fire fighters. And when women are in these jobs, they can often catch hell.

Now, what qualities in a CEO are more natural to men than women, pray tell (with specifics)?

You stuff-starter, you.

Posted by: momoftwo | August 16, 2006 8:43 AM

Two quick things:
First: Lou, that's an awful thing to write. Take it back and start looking at women as equals. Thank you.
Second: Hours are hours. It takes a tremendous amount of time to be super-successful at anything, including big business and motherhood. So if women feel they are expected to fulfill all of the duties that accompany family life, they won't have much time to bust through some glass ceilings in the workplace. Equality, as many others have pointed out before me, means equality in all places, including the home. When men and women act as equals in all job descriptions (including parenting and housekeeping) there will be equality in all places.

Posted by: Professor Mom | August 16, 2006 8:49 AM

My experience is that it is a pretty cut throat environment, and people aren't always very nice. More suitable to men, don't you think? ;)

I'm not trying to start stuff, but I am also not trying to get men to act like women and women to act like men. I think there are some people who want to take masculinity out of men and feminity out of women and have it be undistiguishable. I don't agree with that.

We are different, for very good reason. Bottom line.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 8:53 AM

Hey, is it relevant how many of the female CEOs (or future female CEOs) will have YOUNG children when they are up for those jobs?

I think both my wife and myself (WOHs)have CEO skills and temperament, but neither one of us can commit the time/effort necessary to be a CEO because our baby is little right now.

Remember what being a Fortune 500 CEO entails. You literally have the lives (work life balance, retirement plans, day-to-day satisfaction) of thousands of people under your control, and you are responsible for providing a good environment for them (while maintaining shareholder value, bla bla bla).

Regardless of gender don't think either my wife or I are in position to balance the needs of those thousands against the needs of our son. Our son would have to win, and that's not fair to the company.

Maybe women CEOs have to get to a position where they have grown up kids or SAHDs (still pretty rare) or nannys?

Posted by: Proud Papa | August 16, 2006 8:54 AM

I read an article about Meg Whitman years ago and was absolutely riveted. Here is a mom with two kids and her husband is head of neurosurgery at Mass General Hospital. And the entire family uproots for her to take a job as the president of an internet company no one had heard of. She turned the company into eBay and has achieved unbelievable success. I know women uproot their lives all the time to follow the careeers of their husbands but it seems to be less common for men to do this for their wives. So while I applaud Meg Whitman for her incredible acheivement I also think her husband deserves a lot of credit for setting such a great example. I have never read or seen an interview with him but I would be interested in what he has to say.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | August 16, 2006 8:54 AM

At the level of a Fortune 500 company, I don't think anyone with children still at home can be a CEO unless the partner is at home. There is just no way to balance the amount of work a Fortune 500 CEO does with a 2 working parent household. I would bet that the 489 male Fortune 500 CEOs either have stay at home wives, or no children left in the nest.

Posted by: 2 kids and work | August 16, 2006 8:56 AM

Actually, I don't know why men or women would want to be a CEO of a large company. In order to be that sucessful in the business world, you have to give up a lot of personal time. At some point, the money is irrelevant. Of course you can always find examples of smaller companies that technically have a CEO and the CEO does not spend an enormous amount of time at work. And certainly some lesser paid professionals, spend 50+ hours a week at work. But overall, I think women are smarter to be opting out of those high powered professional jobs. Who would want to work that hard if you could provide a comfortable lifestyle with out working that hard? Is driving around in a brand new sports car versus a Lexus or a mini van really worth it?

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 8:57 AM

There are differences between the sexes, I agree with that. However, I think the point is that those differences should not be the things that keep women from achieving higher success. And as for the "it is a pretty cut throat environment, and people aren't always very nice. More suitable to men, don't you think?" comment: Well...I guess Lou has never experienced how women can treat each other. At it's worst...I can't think of anything more cut-throat.

There are many women in my company that I would walk through fire to avoid irratating, because they could make or break my career on a whim...

Posted by: differences | August 16, 2006 8:58 AM

Agree with 2 kids. Equality at home won't do it, if you have kids you can't do an even half of the home stuff (split with husband) and be CEO of a Fortune 500. You need a full-time at-home spouse and a staff. But there are only 500 of these jobs in the country--what about CEO of local companies, non-public companies, etc. My firm has only about 150 people, no shareholders, etc. Even there it is hard for the president and division heads to work less than 60 hours a week, and the jobs are incompatible with having a family (tons of travel, etc.) I don't see myself on that career path, although I'm capable of doing it (Lou is talking out his a**) and in fact would probably be good at it, because I would never, ever see my family.

Posted by: Arlmom | August 16, 2006 9:04 AM

Okay, Lou, if women aren't suited to be CEO's, what are women better suited to do?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 9:05 AM

"I'm not trying to start stuff, but I am also not trying to get men to act like women and women to act like men. I think there are some people who want to take masculinity out of men and feminity out of women and have it be undistiguishable."

Oooo, what an ignorant thing to say! I'm guessing you are uneducated and a SAH. As one other poster wanted to know, what makes being a CEO a job for men? There is no inherent reason that only men can lead a company. Women most certainly can be and are effective leaders. I guess you missed the part about 6.5 million women owning their own businesses. What that says to me is that women CAN lead businesses, these women just want to do it on their own terms.

And one thing I've noticed is that there are a number of men in the workplace who are threatened by smart successful women and some of these men will do what they can to "bring them down". Boys many be socialized to be more competitive and to win at any cost. There is a lot of discrimination against women in the workplace and women cannot advance as long as those in power choose to look over talented women. And I agree with one of the writers that more men need to support their wives in their careers by doing their fair share at home. While there may be some women who don't want to go for senior level positions, there are as many or more who do.

And to College Parkian--thanks for your anecdotal experience. It's b*llsh*t and shame on you!

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 9:09 AM

"I'm guessing you are uneducated and SAH . . " Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I"m not smart enough to understand the sentence. I wasn't aware there was a correlation between the two?

As compared to you "smart, successful" working women? I'm a SAH and I have a Ph.D. and consider myself smart and successful. REally, lady. Lighten up!

Posted by: Huh? | August 16, 2006 9:13 AM

Actually, do any of you know really how many hours a CEO works? I've worked in large companies where the CEO works 9-5. It seems to me that the higher up you go, the better the hours. It may be the getting there that costs a lot of personal time.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 9:14 AM

Didn't mean to insult SAH people. But you are ignorant. And I guess it proves that anyone can get a PhD

Posted by: To Huh? | August 16, 2006 9:19 AM

I didn't say are not suited. I was speaking generally, that men are better suited. That is why there are only 2% female CEO's. There's my proof right there. Because men are better suited than MOST women.

I was thinking, why aren't there men picketing to have "equal rights" in the nursing or teaching field?

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 9:21 AM

I'm guessing you are uneducated and a SAH.

Posted by: not nice | August 16, 2006 9:24 AM

Because those jobs pay shiggity, as they say. On average, you make more as a laborer than a nurse.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 9:26 AM

And to College Parkian--thanks for your anecdotal experience. It's b*llsh*t and shame on you!
Ouch! What about asking me what I meant? Or telling me that my post is unclear or implies a stand that I might not actually hold? (I am not sure I will stay with this forum given the click-click anonymous rudeness that abounds, as well as the difficulty I find in commucating on complex topics in a narrow-column web format....)

I see that my post -- too quick -- missed this important piece:

Women are also way-out-in-front, achievement-wise. What I wanted to suggest is that that pattern of higher achievement of women, on average, is interesting against losses in male achievement, on average. Yet men at the highest levels of achievement are on par with high-achieving women and in some analysis outpace them at the highest levels. This difference is true especially in technical fields. Culture may very well, drive this.

See Freeman (2003 on women taking more placements in Universities, exhibiting higher graduation rates and earning high gpas.

See Nyborg and Deary (circa 200-forward) writing about the preponderance of males at highest end of achievement (professorships, Nobel prizes, article citations, CEO berths, etc.).

See Rogers and Wilgash writing about what might be an opting FOR more balance in women as they structure professional and personal lives.

Perhaps in person, you would deliver your barb with a wink and tone that suggest passion only, and not incivility.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 16, 2006 9:28 AM

"I think both my wife and myself (WOHs)have CEO skills and temperament, but neither one of us can commit the time/effort necessary to be a CEO because our baby is little right now.
Remember what being a Fortune 500 CEO entails. You literally have the lives (work life balance, retirement plans, day-to-day satisfaction) of thousands of people under your control, and you are responsible for providing a good environment for them (while maintaining shareholder value, bla bla bla)."

Not a criticism, Proud Papa, but your statement indicates you are NOT qualified to be a CEO. Trust me, today's CEOs are NOT thinking about work life balance and retirement plans first, and shareholder value blah, blah, blah, second.

Again not a criticism.

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 9:29 AM

What the heck is going on today, let's all take a deep breath.

And, no not everyone can get a PhD and why is she ignorant for thinking the comment was offensive even if it wasn't meant to be that way. I think maybe the SAHM thing was meant to mean the poster values traditional roles and the uneducated part was meant as an insult. I don't think it was meant to read all SAHM are uneducated.

As far as the CEO thing goes, I think it is evident why women don't succeed as well as men do, as evidence by the way we treat each other on this blog, me included sometimes.

Posted by: scarry | August 16, 2006 9:29 AM

I think people were trying to point out there is a difference between being a CEO and a fortune 500 CEO. Many companies with CEOs are not necessarily jet setting all over the world and on call 24-7. And unfortunately, many lower paid professionals and non professionals work 50-60+ hours a week. Lou-my guess is most of the fortune 500 CEOs do not have children at home. Just given their age brackets, I bet they are closer to 45+ years or even older. Again, I don't know why anyone would want to do that with their life. I will take my little 36 hour a week job and upper middle class lifestyle then be a slave to the job any day.

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 9:30 AM

All other things being equal, there still will be few F500 CEOs who are mothers because, as a group, men are more willing to leave the raising of their children to others. It really is that simple.

Since my second child was born, I have turned down more than one promotion opportunity because the amount of travel it entailed was unacceptable.

Posted by: Susan | August 16, 2006 9:31 AM

I didn't know that the amount of money changes if something is to be fought for or not. I thought we were talking about equality in the workplace. Re: nursing or teaching jobs. I am just saying why aren't people upset that those jobs aren't equal in men:women ratios??

Why are they only worried about the Fortune 500 high-power, high-paying jobs??? Seems unfair to me......Just a thought.

Working mother - "Huh?" is not me. They were just calling you out on your "I'm guessing you are uneducated and a SAH." statement that was certainly rude. Figure out who you are calling ignorant before you do so.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 9:39 AM

As far as the CEO thing goes, I think it is evident why women don't succeed as well as men do, as evidence by the way we treat each other on this blog, me included sometimes.

Thank you for your honesty. Reminds me of the _Mean Girls_ movie.

Web-based,quick-time, anonymous (cloaked?) communication does expose a human tendancy to critize without thought for civility.

I am not sure the blog works as a forum for problem-solving. Yet, personalities emerge, many presenting practical tips and some wise observations. I appreciate your humility. I am trying to recall today, the kindness of posters a few weeks back to Glover Park who apologized for her prickliness.

Would love to see this forum be more civil. We have such work to do and community could help. But community won't happen unless civility here trumps crabbiness (and crappiness).

Posted by: College Parkian | August 16, 2006 9:42 AM

Actually, do any of you know really how many hours a CEO works? I've worked in large companies where the CEO works 9-5. It seems to me that the higher up you go, the better the hours. It may be the getting there that costs a lot of personal time.

Posted by: | August 16, 2006 09:14 AM

The article was about Fortune 500 CEOs. Those folks DO put in hours, even if to some of us those hours seem to consist mainly of shaking hands. Most of them work 3-5 years at a place (busting arse), make a ton of ca$h, then move on.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 9:45 AM

Does anyone actually know a Fortune 500 CEO? My college roommate's father was one back in the day (he's retired now). When she was growing up, he was not home. Period. He left for the office around 7 am, got home around 8 pm, grabbed a drink, and went to his home office for another four hours of work. That is on the days he was home. He was traveling a lot most of the time. Needless to say, her mom did not work, so there were no nannies, but were maids, aides,etc. to maintain the estate etc.

The reason there aren't more mom CEOS of Fortune 500 companies is that there aren't many moms who are willing to spend that much time away from their kids. Not a slap on working moms (I'm one), but (1) there aren't many CEOS to begin with-- not everyone can be a top dog, and (2) most of those slots will be filled with people who can do the job and have the time/energy/wherewithal/support system in place to do the job.

Posted by: Fairfax | August 16, 2006 9:46 AM

I totally agree with Fairfax! That is all that I was saying this whole time!

It's not that women couldn't (they obviously do!) and it's not that I would like to see the doors of opportunity closed to them at all. It's just that somethings are a more natural fit. Fight it all you want, but it's proved itself time and time again.

Now, that is not to say that I don't think both partners role in a marriage is equal. It's just that I don't think you have to keep a spreadsheet of what the other does-making sure it's split evenly down the middle- to properly regard the person's significance as equal in a family.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 9:48 AM

To sooze,

We are talking about Fortune 500 companies here. Not small businesses. Not the same and not what I am discussing. So your need to justify yourself is falling on deaf ears.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 9:51 AM

"Yet men at the highest levels of achievement are on par with high-achieving women and in some analysis outpace them at the highest levels"

You may be right that your post was misunderstood, but reread it and then you'll understand why it is so inflammatory. What you said was that women are high achievers, but that men are at the highest end and that they are better in math and science....You could have been clearer even on a blog.

The concern in science is that boys/men are mentored along and even at the lower levels get encouragement that women don't get. I am in a science field and I see this all the time. Women are excluded from the study groups and research teams. Men then get published and promoted and women leave. And it is my anecdotal experience that many women are more creative and do come up with great research ideas but it is these affinity groups that are so important for advancement that exclude them. Try getting grant funding if you cannot get a senior scientist to take an interest in you.

So this is a touch subject for me. Although as a more junior person I was always considered "brillant", I was excluded from these groups (as well as my female colleagues, not just me). I've been told things like "well..Dr. X and I play tennis together so I thought I'd include him on my study" and other stupid things like that. It's hard when there are so few women at the top to mentor the junior women and provide affinity groups for them. Women are just as bright as men and even more motivated, but it's disheartening to be discriminated against and so we leave the field. This perpetuates the notion that men/boys are better at math and science.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 9:52 AM

Um, Lou, perhaps the reason that there are not more women CEOs of major companies is not that women are not suited for the job, but that such jobs have been an entitlement for men for lo these many centuries, and hey, who ever wants to give up an entitlement? I mean, *really*!

The increasing number and success of woman-owned companies demonstrates that indeed women *are* suited to the role. And so long as the men, still entitlement-wise, get to have others take care of the family stuff, they will still be much more comfortable to work with others like them.

Yeah, go ahead, Lou, tell me (a attorney/business owner) all about how a man is much better suited to be the head of a business, while I'll tell you about all those arrogant (male) attorneys, who think they're such hot stuff, I've beaten in my practice.

And to all the women on this blog, the best place to be is to be underestimated -- they never see you coming, because they're not looking for you. Works every time.

Posted by: sooze | August 16, 2006 9:54 AM

"Figure out who you are calling ignorant before you do so"

Ok Lou, you are ignorant.

Posted by: Working mother | August 16, 2006 9:54 AM

The posts pointing out the difference between a "mom and pop" CEO and a Fortune 500 CEO. My belief -- when a job has a LOT of power, a certain few work to keep that power. In other words, you have some behind-the-scenes power players who make sure their "boys" get the high-powered CEO jobs. That's partly because the upper echelons of corporate power are mostly male (and white) already, so they want one of their own in the top slots to continue to wield the power. That's a tough nut for a woman to crack. I'm not talking about intellect, education, job experience. I'm talking power and money.

Lou, a woman doesn't need to emasculate herself or don a strap-on to be a CEO. She needs to find a way to get into the power circle, work smart and be ready to sacrifice.

Now, another reason a lot of women may not want a CEO job is because to them, it's just not all that. Period.

Today's blog is deteriorating fast. So here's today's word to describe the situation -- Snarkylicious.

Posted by: momoftwo | August 16, 2006 9:55 AM

My husband is a CEO of a small non-profit agency. I am a supervisor at a government agency. He moved up the ranks much more quickly than I, despite the longer hours I work and my higher level of education. He does network more on the golf course, in his charity work, and during social event, I have to admit. It's simply a fact that those things factor into advancement.

But, I believe that more men are CEOs overall because men are more likely to have SAH wives who make up the slack at home. Women are less likely to have SAH husbands. My husband and I have extremely hectic lives because we both work and we won't let our children NOT be a priority in our lives. Almost all of my husband's counterparts have SAH wives. Almost all of my managers have SAH wives. Of the two women executives here - one has a SAH husband and the other openly admits her husband picked up the slack while she was moving up the ranks.

I'd like to know, of the women CEOs, how many have children, and of those who do, how many have similarly performing husbands or have nannies who care for their children so they and their husbands don't have to worry about "being there" for the kids.

Posted by: Mom of 2 | August 16, 2006 9:56 AM

College Parkian,

On a good day on this blog you get and give practical advice about parenting and work life balance. On a bad day, even the well mannered nice people get annoyed and angry with each other and the dreaded anonymous posters, who love to chime in without care or consequence for anyone being able to recognize them. Try to hang in for the good advice and friendly chatter on the blog; it is also a nice distraction from work or kids when you need a break.

On topic, how many CEOs do you guys think have time to blog.

Posted by: scarry | August 16, 2006 9:56 AM

"Not a criticism, Proud Papa, but your statement indicates you are NOT qualified to be a CEO. Trust me, today's CEOs are NOT thinking about work life balance and retirement plans first, and shareholder value blah, blah, blah, second."

No offense taken. I agree that F500 CEOs are thinking about maximizing shareholder value first. Didn't mean to imply otherwise.

I used to have a professor in B-school who used to ask us at the beginning of every case study, "what is the goal of this case?" and would expect the class to answer "make money!" in unison. From there we'd move on to "how do we accomplish the secondary goals while still making money?" I had it beaten into me. I wouldn't forget. :-)

Posted by: Proud Papa | August 16, 2006 9:56 AM

What I've been saying for years:

typically, women CEOs are unmarried, while male CEOs are married with SAH spouses.

Seems to be a small slice of the world.
Until there are more SAHDs - there won't be more women CEOs. It's quite simple.
Yes, there are plenty of people who want those jobs, but that is not everyone.

And no, I don't see entitlement, so I don't think that's the issue.

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 10:01 AM

Sooze is right on target. There are many male leaders who are less than qualified, but get their positions because of entitlement. Think about who the president of the US is....

I refuse to believe that the whole reason that there are not more women CEOs is that women don't want these jobs. As Sooze said so well and I said before, there are millions of women running their own businesses. As an example, my sister owns a multimillion dollar business. She has two elementary age children and works ridiculous hours. Certainly the fact that millions of women own their own businesses and work these hours is testament to the fact that women are capable of being Fortune 500 CEOs and are willing to work the hours. Women are just not given the opportunities.

Posted by: Working mother | August 16, 2006 10:02 AM

And I was ready to respond back that how different (read: improved) things would be if more CEOs DID think that way (see: Enron) in order to put out the fire when you inevitably (so I thought) fired back angrily...:)

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 10:08 AM

Its a matter of aplication. If women could train themselves to stop spending hours and hours of each day shopping at walmart or other stores, in the beauty salon, watching soap operas and Dr. Phil or complaining about being abused by men they could eaisly rise to the top as men do.

Posted by: mcewen | August 16, 2006 10:16 AM

Mom of 2 nailed it I think. CEOs put tremdendous time in, but it's not office time. The networking and deal making takes place over evening cocktails and dinners, and especially the golf course.
I took up golf only so I wouldn't miss out.
And unfortunately, I do see much less woman on the course than other places.

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 10:16 AM

Working mother - Why all the nastiness?

Posted by: wondering . . . | August 16, 2006 10:16 AM

To Working mother -- you're last line is interesting and hits it right on the head. You say that "Women are just not given the opportunities." Let's analyze this. For all the rhetoric out there that we all must *work* and *work hard* for what we want, the truth of the matter is that for all the tremendously hard work women put in, the men still get the goods because they are, alas, *given* the opportunities. Women (and, of course, minorities) have discovered early on in life that you have to be at least twice as smart and work at least twice as long and twice as hard to get to where the majority (white and male) are, only to be paid half as much.

It's, well, a *given* -- isn't it???

Posted by: sooze | August 16, 2006 10:16 AM

Someone else posted as Just a thought earlier, but it wasn't me. Anyway, ATLTmom is right on target - until women expect their husbands to support their careers and intellectual promise just as women have done for men ad infinitum, there won't be many mom CEOs in the boardroom. I think many women have kids and end up sliding into doing motherhood/work/housework/everything else as evidenced by the blog yesterday. From Day 1 of your child's life, if you expected your husband not to pick up the slack, but to actually do as much as you do (and for those who think categorizing how much each person does is a recipie for divorce, feel free to stop reading the post now), then maybe down the road, they won't have gone so far down the professional highway that there is no reason or cause for you to catch up.

And Lou, Lou, Lou. You are such a rabble-rouser, aren't you? You can't really believe women are less suited to be CEO's than men - particularly on the basis that there aren't that many of them....If that were true, then black men and hispanic men, etc. just "wouldn't be AS cut out for it as white men" because there just aren't as many of them. And then, if you believed that, well...........

Posted by: Just a thought | August 16, 2006 10:17 AM

Because it is a white male thing...doesn't mean ALL white males, but white males do have an advantage since they dominate the power structure here. I'm married to a white male and he acknowledges their advantage....

Posted by: To Scarry | August 16, 2006 10:21 AM

Fine, i'll bite. My husband is white and he has worked just as hard as anyone else to get to where he is, so why does it have to be a white male thing.

Posted by: scarry | August 16, 2006 10:21 AM

The CEO of the mid-sized company I work for is an older woman. At the time she was building the company (10-20 years ago), she was divorced and had 3 shifts of nannies to raise her children. She is trying to make up for her absence of mothering now by being a more involved grandmother.

Posted by: Silver Spring | August 16, 2006 10:22 AM

Scarry - are you talking to me? Sorry, if you were, I really, really wasn't meaning to pick a fight with anyone but Lou.....

Posted by: Just a thought | August 16, 2006 10:27 AM

A lot of people are making the argument that moms simply don't want to put in the hours/work required to be CEOs. That may or may not true. But let's not forget not all women are mothers.

According to Washington Monthly: "Now, 20 percent of baby boomer women are childless and likely to remain so, and demographers predict that as much as a quarter of American women born between 1956 and 1972 will never have children. The numbers go up with education and income levels."

So even if we accept that Mom's don't want to be CEOs, why aren't 20% of CEOs childless women?

Posted by: Not a mom but a woman | August 16, 2006 10:27 AM

I agree with you 100% Sooze.
I've lived it and have seen it. I would have denied this could be 15 years ago, but I'm at a point in my career where I've hit that glass ceiling. Now I understand why women go into business for themselves and "opt out". I'd venture to say they'd be less "opting out" if there were more fair opportunities for advancement. (I know there are those of you who don't want to advance....)

And I don't just complain about these issues. I am currently mentoring younger women in my field and I hope one day they can advance based on their skills and desire and not be shut out.

Posted by: Working mother | August 16, 2006 10:28 AM

I don't think they always have an advantage. How does putting yourself through school working 12 hours a day in a factory give you an advantage? Anyone can put their selves through school if they really want to, and, if you think that they always have an advantage during hiring situations that is just wrong too. Just because you are white doesn't mean you were born upper middle class and have had everything handed to you? I have successful black friends who had more opportunities than me and my husband. I just don't think it's fair to say it's a white thing..

Posted by: scarry | August 16, 2006 10:30 AM

Zoinks, starting off with a bang today eh? There was an interesting article in the NYT a few weeks ago along the lines of College Parkian's post, might be an interesting read if you want more background on his/her point(sorry I can't remember which you are, and wouldn't want to assume ;))

I think the most interesting stat here is the dramatic increase in women-owned business - 20% increase in five years is amazing. I know at a policy level it's important for women to reach the top ranks of the big-dog companies for a lot of reasons, but in my heart I think -who wants to work for those chumps anyway? Rock on to women striking out on their own and leaving the discrimination and testosterone-laden politiking behind! I think those women are contributing to social change in their own way and deserve a lot of credit.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 10:30 AM

I really hope you don't have children, particularly daughters, because you're sending out a very dangerous message: that women can't "naturally" achive what men can. The toxic corralary to that message is that they shouldn't even try.

Maybe you shouldn't have kids if you can't respect other people's world view.

Posted by: shecanraise her kids as she wants | August 16, 2006 10:32 AM

In regards to Lou's original comment, I have to say I sort of agree... and before someone decides to jump down my throat, I'm a twenty-three year old female professional working in politics, so please don't go thinking I'm a man trying to down women and their abilities. There are a lot of qualities needed in a leader of any sort, not just a CEO. However, the stress and demands of being a CEO can be handled only by individuals with certain talents which often seem to develop more often in men than women. I'm not saying women can't be CEOs and leaders, because they can and are just as successful at it as men.

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 10:33 AM


What you are calling "natural" divisions in gender behavior and outcomes are the result of socialization. It's a process that tricks you into thinking everything around you is "natural" and unchangable, when in reality is quite felxible, given the right environmental conditions. After all, it was once considered unnatural for women to participate in sports, but as the social environment, and subsequently socialization, has changed, that's not the case any more. For more evidence, look at gendered behaviors in other times and cultures. If all of this was "natural" every culture over every time period would look exactly the same with regard to gender and gendered behavior, which is simply not the case.

I really hope you don't have children, particularly daughters, because you're sending out a very dangerous message: that women can't "naturally" achive what men can. The toxic corralary to that message is that they shouldn't even try.

Posted by: nokids4lou | August 16, 2006 10:33 AM

"I'm married to a white male and he acknowledges their advantage....

Posted by: To Scarry | August 16, 2006 10:21 AM"

's good to be the King!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 16, 2006 10:37 AM

Talents occur in people regardless of gender for the most part... and skills can be learned throughout life. I believe that men, in general, are more agressive and that can definitely be an advantage in becoming a CEO. That's no to say that women are passive by any means, but we have different methods and ways of going about obtaining the same results. Men can be more intimidating and forceful, which garners them more fear, but often times more respect as well. Whether that's fair or not or even logical is another discussion. It pretty much all boils down to sterotypes in the end.

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 10:38 AM

By the way, Lou, my understanding is that men have actually been very successful breaking into traditionally female professions such as nursing, flight attendant, teaching, etc. I recall reading an article to the effect that its been much easier for men to break into those fields than for women to break into traditionally male fields.

Having been the first female employee in one business (which had been around for 100 years when I started) and worked in other male-dominated offices and fields, my experience is that you do indeed have to be twice as good to be given the same credit as your male counterparts. I remember seeing a great cartoon once about how men and women are viewed differently at an interview - the man is ambitious, the woman is pushy, the man is clever, the woman is manipulative, stuff like that. Gender stereotypes go a long way in shaping people's views of men and women and their abilities, and it takes a long to break those down.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 10:40 AM

And those women who are rewarded are typically the ones who are NOT married and don't have children.
How many MALE CEOs are single? Why don't they ever ask THAT question?
That's one reason it really irks me when successful men divorce their wives and then want to leave them with nothing - one reason they got there was because of their wives, yet they can (sometimes, certainly NOT always) just dismiss that - oh, you were *just* a housewife...

My husband was plenty happy when I was home and could do the laundry/cook/go shopping/etc and he wasn't as responsible for all of that.

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 10:44 AM

Not trying to be an @ss or a snark. I am ok with different genders having different roles, that's all. Not that women can't or shouldn't be given fair opportunities, at the same pay, etc. Just that I think we are naturally (read: innately, NOT read: only to make babies) suited for different positions.

Typically, women-nurture, care for, teach, micro-manage, repect men in their lives etc. Men-protect, macro-manage, respect women in their lives.

You know, before anyone was educated people did divide up roles to what suited them. I am not calling for a return to the Neanderthals, I am just saying somethings are better suited for one and not the other.

Btw, I am a female, in a corporate position, with a college degree and credentials that fend for themselves.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 10:45 AM

I think it's a whole set of reasons together.

First, today's CEOs are mostly older than I am. When I was in high school girls were still being steered away from the hard sciences and business and into liberal arts and the caring professions. That was a big hurdle. I myself didn't cross the barrier and I work in an arts-related field. I'm happy with the results, but at one point I might well have gone another way and didn't because of a chemistry and a math teacher. Yes, you can say I wasn't determined enough, at 16, and I wasn't. There it is. :-)

In my university cohort a number of young women dropped out because their families weren't able to finance everyone's education (or everyone's loans) and it was often the boys in the family that got the limited education dollars. This was in the 80s - you would think that feminism had changed that by then, but it had not where I was, which was a more rural setting.

Then even assuming that women are equally well positioned by education as men - I do think overall women still have to be at least slightly better than men (often lots better) in order to be recognized for promotion to very high level jobs. The default perception is that they will mommy-track (or aging-parent track). So we have to put in extra hours to prove we're not. Which can be tiring and lead to burnout.

Also, the networking is so important and a lot of the networking still happens in traditionally male space - change rooms after a round of squash, etc.

You add that kind of hurdle to the pressure on women to manage their homes and children and family in addition to their work and I do think a lot of women make the decision to drop out of the race to the top. Whether that's a choice or not, I can't say. Certainly I think I have made a deliberate choice and I'm happy with it - but I won't be getting any medals for raising the lot of women and being a leader.

I'm not sure what I think about that. I really am not - I don't personally want to be an iconic leader for all women, but I recognize the need for some women to do it and "if not me, then who?"

I would be interested to know the percentages in high-but-not-top positions - CFOs, VPs, etc.

Posted by: Shandra | August 16, 2006 10:54 AM

to Lou:

HOWEVER, some of the more 'feminine' traits would actually be a breath of fresh air in the boardroom - you actually make the point of the other side.
We've had white males in positions of power, and they seem to abuse that and promote those who shouldn't be promoted, they seem to be involved in the corporate scandals, etc.
Why not have different points of view at the top? If you don't you are only running a stagnant company.
And, sure, I'd LOVE to be making $10 million - and run a company into the ground. I'm SURE I could accomplish *that* goal. And then be paid $50 million to leave? I could take on the responsibility that comes with *that*, too.
Wait, maybe I'd do it for half that...

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 10:55 AM


I work for a non-profit and almost all of middle managemnet is female. There are two female VPs and the top position is almost always filled by a very succesful female. Think high powered, high profile women who you see on the news.

Posted by: scarry | August 16, 2006 10:56 AM

Until as many men give birth to their children as women do, there will never be any such thing as "gender equality" in the workplace.

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 16, 2006 11:02 AM

Why do people want these CEO positions? Power, Status, and Money. Really, there is no other reason to be a CEO, and I say this without judgment - a CEO's power can be used for good or bad. These motivations are transparent and assumed with male CEOs. Assign these motivations to a woman and suddenly they become very unflattering. A woman motiviated by power, status and money? Many people would use this as a slur!

I think there are so few woman CEOs because of two factors: 1) Many opt or out or take the mommy track; 2) Management assumes that those women remaining in the workforce seek balance instead of opportunity. I'm a woman and I noticed that management seemed to think they were doing me a favor by offering me balance. Then they hired a younger guy and went out of their way to assign him to a variety of assignements and give him exposure to senior management. There was definitely a lot more mentoring and long-term planning with regards to his career than mine. I met with my boss and told him that we needed to focus more on my opportunities and long-term career and he actually was surprised that I was thinking about these things!

Posted by: AB | August 16, 2006 11:03 AM

Scarry, I believe that your husband and most other people, regardless of race, work hard. But my points focus squarely on power, who has had it traditionally and who wants to keep in. In this country, it has been white men. I don't see them wanting to cede that power easily. One has to grab it and push one's way in, if you can.

You likely weren't responding to me. But I wanted to clarify and expand on my point. Hard work does not necessarily a CEO make.

Dad of 2 -- it's good to be the King, eh? Ask Kenneth Lay about that, although you may have to use a seance to do so.

Posted by: momoftwo | August 16, 2006 11:04 AM

Thank you 215. I was starting to feel a little beat up.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 11:04 AM

>>I have successful black friends who had more opportunities than me and my husband. I just don't think it's fair to say it's a white thing..

But statistics are about (among other things) averages. And on average....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:11 AM

Great, so now we have Phyllis Schlafly on the board posting as "Lou...." Oy.

Posted by: Just a thought | August 16, 2006 11:21 AM

yes, and poor white people that are poor deserve it and poor minorities are disadvataged.

Posted by: as usual | August 16, 2006 11:21 AM

To deny white men have a built-in advantage is to deny a glass ceiling exists for women. And I'm not picking a fight, but your "successful black friends" comment reeks of tokenism. You're a long time poster--you know that anecodotal evidence is no evidence at all. If anything, your friends are the exception to the rule. I'm a white male american (WMA to Pearl Jam) as Eddy Veder sings "he won the lottery by being born....white man took his mother's breast to his tongue..."
(I guess we know where PJ stands on the whole breast feeding thing) And to atlmom, white men do not hold the monopoly on abuse of power--see Jack Johnson, Marion Barry, etc. Power itself is the corrupting element I think.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:25 AM

11:25 post to Scarry is me. Sorry forgot to sign

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 11:28 AM

As one of the outnumbered males on this board, boy am I happy Lou is a woman. Thought "he'd" get us banned, for a minute there.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:28 AM

What percentage of the workforce is made up of CEOs? Let's say 0.1%.
The majority of workers, women included, do not aspire to that position. They are happy with the home/workplace balance and are not willing to sacrifice their family for the rigors of a CEO life.

I would like my kids to remember the times I taught them to ride their bike, went to swimming practice, played in the park, went fishing, did homework, went shopping, birthday parties, helped them through difficult times. I don't want the babysitter being their parent and them remembering me for boosting company earnings 20% this quarter and raising the stock price to a 52-week high.

Posted by: MaytagMan | August 16, 2006 11:29 AM

Had to look Phyllis Schafly up on Wikipedia, because as it goes, I am also only 28 and have never heard of her before.

Seems her biggest stink was the opposition to women being drafted. Can't say I disagree....sorry.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 11:29 AM

I guess Lou is one of those ambigous names. I thought Lou was guy too.

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 11:31 AM

Not exactly on topic but is related.

The data on achievement for girls and wowen is (as Martha once opined) "a good thing." On average (whoa Nelly on the difference between averages and individuals) female achievement by so many measures is UP!

I believe we have expanded opportunities for women and girls, with educational achievement as important in itself and as a building block for professional achievements.

Are we there yet? No. Does culture interfere? Yes. Is gender-limited socialization a problem? Yes.

Even given that we have problems with statistical measures, like averages. Lake Woe-be-gon's famous children who are "all, above average.": THE NEWS ABOUT ADVANCES FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS IS GOOD.

Male achievement -- especially at lower income levels and clustered in minority groups -- is the elephant on the table.

We need to care about all the children. We all have brothers, sons, fathers...

And the choice of "opt out" deserves serious consideration for us all.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 16, 2006 11:33 AM

Just a note that I found the headline on this article, "Can Moms Be CEOs?" shocking and offensive. I realize that a headline is a peripheral issue to this discussion, but still, that one certainly has the ring of closing off options and condeming a class of people as inherently not able.

How about "Mom and CEO?"

Posted by: Larry Yates | August 16, 2006 11:33 AM

Frankly, I used to be ambitious, and a lot of that ambition was zapped out of me when I had kids. I've refrained from putting in for promotions or special assignments because I didn't want to lose family time. Now I just want interesting work and a secure life. Can't say for sure whether this is a male/female thing. My husband has also turned down opportunities because they would have involved extensive travel. (But he was losing interest in his job even before we had kids.) Of course you can't take just one example and assume everyone has the same motivations, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that less women are interested in advancing once they become mothers.

Posted by: Sam | August 16, 2006 11:35 AM

yes, and poor white people that are poor deserve it and poor minorities are disadvataged.

Posted by: as usual | August 16, 2006 11:21 AM

Talk about apples and oranges! ALL poor white people do not deserve it. (Some political beliefs hold that no one deserves to be poor.) But ALL minorities have a disadvantage in the corporate world.

Yes, some black people deserve to be poor (assuming they aren't making an effort to change their lot in life). But NO, the majority does not "deserve" an advantage in the corporate world.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:35 AM

No, Megan.....NOT THE LITTLE MERMAID........Auuuuuuughhhhhhh.........

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 16, 2006 11:37 AM

Life's not fair, that's the way it goes. There are plenty of people of all colors and races, etc who are in power, and plenty (more) who are not.
The way to counteract what is going on in the corporation is already happening - people who can be successful leave if they are not getting what they want/need and they are starting their own companies. Certainly, the corporations *could* have benefited from them staying, but they chose to allow them to leave instead.
Corporations rarely work as they should, i.e., in the best interest of the shareholder. More often than not, people want to just keep their jobs - so sometimes they surround themselves by people who aren't so competent, and that makes them look better, sometimes they promote people like themselves, without necessarily knowing that they are doing it, etc.
In any event, life is NOT fair - that's the way it goes.
But in the US, realistically, we have abundant opportunities for everyone. I do believe that, actually. Everyone has the chance to go to college, if they so choose - no, no one is going to PAY for it *for* you, but the opportunity is there.
Unfortunately, the way the status quo is, indicates that companies are NOT working in their best interest - as they are seeing people LEAVE rather than play by the rules...

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 11:37 AM

If you believe that women have certain innate abilities that are different from men's, and that those differences explain the reason why women can't be CEOs, then how do you explain the other tremendous leaps made by women in the last 30 years. Half of all new lawyers are women now, we were able to get accepted to law school, and we did just fine there. If this discussion would have been taking place, say in 1955, would you have been saying that, well, maybe a few women can go to law school and do OK but men are more suited to it and that's why there are so many men in law school and so few women?

I think it's shortsighted to argue that there is any "natural" order of things, when careers and family roles have changed so much even during our own lifetimes. It reminds me of the statement made by the U.S. Patent Office in 1899 stating that he expected the Patent Office would soon become obsolete because "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

Posted by: YWA | August 16, 2006 11:38 AM

I think 215 and AB put it together nicely - when a woman is ambitious and driven, she's given a lot of negative labels; when a man is ambitious and driven, he's just that and its a good thing. Being aggressive is not looked upon well in women in our culture, and it's often held against us. Not unlike Ursula's song in The Little Mermaid - "yes on land its much preferred for ladies not to say a word..." I think that does contribute to women not rising through the ranks, but I attribute that to society's sexist attitudes, not what is "natural" for women.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 11:40 AM

Lou - while it's true that women are more likely than men to be "nurturing" and "cooperative", I'd be extremely careful about attributing those behaviors to nature.

I'm competitive and (admittedly) egotistical by nature, but suppress those behaviors socially because women who don't are punished for it, sometimes terribly.

I have a theory of why mothers aren't better represented among F500 CEOs. It's because we reject the inefficiencies that have become inherent to a lot of top-level jobs. These include make-work, travel and, yes, playing *gaggg* golf. As it happens, these inefficiencies were introduced by and for men.

No wonder so many moms prefer to run their own businesses.

Posted by: Susan | August 16, 2006 11:42 AM

I'm not saying that some white males do not have an advantage. I'm saying they all don't have an advantage. And, there is no way in hell that my black friends are tokens. (That in itself is a stereotype) One is a professor whose parents worked their ass off so that he could go to a good school and the other is a manager whose father taught him that the way out of poverty and racism is through education. They are both in positions that they earned, not handed because of their skin color. And, yes, I have more than two black friends before anyone asks.

I'm not picking a fight with you either; I guess the main thing that irks me is that people confuse race with social status. Believe me; my nephews have no advantages over anyone just because they are white. Everyone in my family, me included has had a hard life. I am hoping to change that through mentoring and education of my nephews and nieces.

Posted by: scarry | August 16, 2006 11:43 AM

Susan, you're sure that "make-work" and "travel" were "introduced by and for men"?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:45 AM

to Lou and 215 - I think people aren't getting it because they aren't trying to get it.

No one is saying that women are not capable of being CEO's - only that there are many factors involved and gender does play a part.

In my experience, FWIW, women I know including myself are not able to compartmentalize our lives as easily as men. I work with men who are able to focus on work without interruption for many hours at a time. I can only go for a little while before my brain turns away from work toward family matters. For example, did the kids eat their lunch today, what is for dinner and who is cooking, do I need to stop at the store on the way home, etc. Who needs to be where tonight?

My husband will do anything asked of him re: household and children, but I can guarantee that he rarely thinks about these things while at work. He is in a much better position mentally to be able to take on extra career duties and responsibilities than I am. And, I really don't care. I'm happy with my life as it is.

I agree that women who rise to those ranks are either childless, or have others (whether SAH spouse, nannies, or staff) who are handling the personal sides of their lives.

Posted by: noname | August 16, 2006 11:49 AM

I'm reasonably sure that the inefficiencies built into CEO-level jobs, which frequently manifest as make-work, travel and golf, were introduced by men, yes.

Posted by: Susan | August 16, 2006 11:51 AM

How many CEOs of the really BIG companies reach that point while at the age to have young children at home? Unless they start the company and grow with it, I imagine most have grown children that don't need as much daily attention.

Posted by: SEP | August 16, 2006 11:51 AM

>>>Believe me; my nephews have no advantages over anyone just because they are white. >>>

Some of us will respectfully disagree with you. And, we will then feel free to assert that in turn, we then have no advantages over you just because we are male. Ta-da! No glass ceiling. Shut the blog down.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:56 AM

I work in a top fortune 500 company/conglomerate. While the chief CEO is a man, the path up from me is:

woman (manager)
man (CIO)
woman (CEO - subbusiness - ~$500 M rev)
woman (CEO - subsidiary ~$25 B rev)
man (CEO - overall company - ~$150 Trillion rev)

One of the reasons I like this company is that women are promoted into the CEO realm. They may not be the absolute top (yet), but they're getting there.

Oh yeah, and all the women listed above except my manager have at least 2 children, and none of their husbands are stay at home. One woman lived apart from her husband and children for 18 months to further her career. Overall, 5 of the top 26 slots (CEO & sub CEOs) are women. Still not great, but that shows that it can be done here. I'll take 20% of 2% anyday.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:56 AM

I am looking for honest answers. I am a happy stay-at-home, part time worker, former social worker. My sister is an ambitious, smart, top MBA looking for lots of success in the business world.

As of now she does not have kids. What kind of advice would you all give her about achieving great success in corporate America and having children. I keep telling her that I am sure it can be done but I am not trying to do it. What would your advice be on when to have kids, how to balance these kids and corporate ladder climbing etc. Is it feasible for both parents to have demanding careers or will one inevitably have to sacrifice?

Posted by: Raising One of Each | August 16, 2006 11:56 AM

Interesting posts today. Someone referenced a NYT article: it was "Fork in the Road: Can Women and Wall Street Live Together," published Aug. 6. The crux of the article: Women get to Wall Street and don't stay because the environment is not conducive to nurturing talented women. That includes many of the issues brought up today: insane hours that make it impossible to have a family; power circles that are closed to women (another article was written on women being shut out of business meetings conducted at strip clubs); and simple gender bias.

The part of the article that interested me most: it's the younger generation of women who are pushing for a change. They are arriving on Wall Street with their Ivy League MBAs and they are working toward change that will ultimately benefit all.

Fortunately, many of these younger women don't have Lou's attitude. Sorry, Lou, but I am 41 years old, and I grew up in the wake of the women's movement. Many under-30 women take for granted so much that your grandmothers worked for...such as freedom from having their breasts and rear ends grabbed by their bosses. Women in the '60s and '70s had to take that sort of treatment or quit their jobs (this still holds true for many women in low-skilled jobs, such as waitressing). My own grandmother, born in 1902, was one of the first generation of women who were able to vote.

And Phyllis Schlaffley's agenda was much more than a stand against women being drafted. That woman would fit in well with the Taliban and have us all back in the stone age.

Posted by: single western mom | August 16, 2006 11:56 AM

To noname- Thank you. I am being sincere and reasonable and I think people just see "women" and "different" in the same sentence and freak out.

That's modern feminism I guess......

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 11:57 AM

Lou, if you: a) don't know who Phyllis Schlafly is, and b) think her biggest stink was opposition to "women being drafted," then I'm not sure I'll deign even to respond.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:58 AM

I know it is only 2 women in their 20s who are saying these things (Lou and 215), but it is sad that our predecessors worked so hard to get us our rights and now this generation is ready to throw them away.

Since you are young and apparently don't know much history (e.g. who Phyllis Schafly is), women at one time were thought too frail to vote. Women were not allowed to own property. Women could not play sports (they were thought too frail and fragile). Women were kept out of colleges. Women couldn't go to law school or medical school. So many rights were denied to women and I maintain still are. We still have those in power who believe that women belong at home or who are just plain uncomfortable with women in power (or blacks and hispanics in power, similar issue). By the way, Phyllis Schafly was against any rights for women. She is/was a far right wing advocate for women being housewives.

Sure we now see that girls are achieving as College Parkian has pointed out. But there is a HUGE gap between academic achievement among women and their ability ot achieve power in the workplace and in government. It's not that men are "more aggressive" and so make better leaders (I'd venture to say that this is not a great characteristic in a leader). It's that women with the same traits as men are perceived poorly. And if a woman retains her "womanly" attributes, she doesn't have what it takes to lead.

I was told by a "higher up" in my organization that he chose my male colleague for an opportunity despite the fact that I was better suited because "you have to understand, we play tennis together, we are friends". I almost fell out of my chair. He articulated something that many men think on a daily basis. "He is more like me so I'll promote him". It's not a joke that women have to be 2-3x better than a man to get ahead.

And this is not class issue. In the blue collar areas it's more overt. Women who enter male blue collar fields are ostricized and treated badly. This is really a gender issue at all levels.

And I agree with the poster who thought the title of today's blog was a bit offensive. Geez, do we wonder if fathers can do the job?

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 11:59 AM

I agreee completely with the 1955/law school analogy mentioned above. According to Leslie's sources, 50% of women are in management positions. How many were 20/30 years ago? Someone else mentioned the number of women owning/running their own companies. Again, how many were 30 years ago? This is clearly progress. I think as we get used to seeing women in these roles, women will continue to take on these roles and move up. The woman who starts as mid-level manager today moves up to senior-level manager tomorrow.

Posted by: bd | August 16, 2006 12:01 PM

I'm 50 and don't know who Phyllis is.

Posted by: ??? | August 16, 2006 12:02 PM

I think that the whole argument is a bit moot--with all of the Moms who are starting their own companies we're witnessing the Fortune 500s of tomorrow. Organic change is not sexy to watch, but it is effective!

Posted by: PTJobFTMom | August 16, 2006 12:02 PM

Yesterday was all about how mother's don't have time to maintain friendships. Now today is about how we should all be able to be CEO's.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:05 PM

Without women, we wouldn't have:
1) Mixers
2) Stoves, ovens
3) Steam cookers
4) Boilers for heating homes
5) Canned food
6) Dried food
7) anti-itch ointments
8) Sterilization techniques for hospitals
9) Medical beds and chairs
10)Ambulances and stretchers
11)The intravenous drip
12) Cryogenic therapy to destroy cancer cells
13) Watches and typewriters for the blind
14) Trashcans you can open by stepping on the lever
15) Moveable type
16) The cotton gyn
17) The electric motor
18) The sewing machine
19) Powered dishwashers
20) Fat-bottomed paper bags

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:05 PM

Just to clarify, I wasn't calling your friends tokens, but said your statement reeks of tokenism. I completely accept what you are saying--I was only commenting how many ppl seem to go the "I have XXXX friends card."
Thanks for a civil response.

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 12:05 PM

Lou - I couldn't possibly read all the shrill comments but ERA types on your post, but you are right. Many women want equality at all costs such as "women in combat." There is a reason a MAJORITY of cops and firemen are men, there are fewer women that can actually do the job. According to some though, we must lower the standards to make it EQUAL so that citizens safety is compromised.

Makes no sense. Don't back down on your statement.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 12:08 PM

Yes, women and men are different. No dispute. That does NOT mean that they couldn't or shouldn't acheive the same things.
Certainly, 20 years ago, there were few if any women in upper level management, but having gotten the experience in the last 20 years, there are more.
It would be beautiful if in 20 years, we are wondering why there are so few men as CEOs of corporations, but I doubt that.
In any event, more women are getting more and more educated every year, so if it doesn't happen that women begin acheiving more than men, it will look strange, at least one paper.

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 12:10 PM

I didn't realize I would have to be so well read to have an opinion here. I looked the lady up. There are a lot of women who think that modern feminism has gone too far. And if you're all open-minded (like you say you are) you will be at peace with another person's point of view.

In no way do I want a backwards role for women. Chill out!

Lots of women my age just want to stay home and raise their kids. Oh yeah and they all have college degrees. So I am not alone.

Also, my gma was a nurse and gpa was a cop, "naturally". ;)

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 12:10 PM

"Geez, do we wonder if fathers can do the job?"

Only every day.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:10 PM

Great discussion. Achieving a CEO job entails many years of productive work, smart decisions, some lucky breaks and usually very long hours. Anyone, male or female, with children at home, sacrifices time with them to climb the corporate or academic ladder. Twenty years ago, a colleague was involved in a series of meetings with top execs to set up a new program. Close to 6pm one evening, she said she had to leave to pick up her children at daycare nearby, because they closed at that time, and spouse was traveling. Execs response? "They should stay open later than 6pm." That mind set is at odds with those who want both a family and homelife with kids.

If you can afford live in care or a spouse that is home makes climbing the ladder more comfortable in a career when you have kids. Certainly women (and moms) can be CEO's - and if that is what they want, go for it! Create the home environment to support the career path.

It's all about choices. I'd love to see more women in CEO jobs!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:12 PM

We've gotten sidetracked by Lou's natural ability topic. Whether it's true or not, the fact remains that opportunities SHOULD be open based on your abilities and preferences regardless of gender. Everyone's an individual, not an average, and I should have the same chance for a position, promotion, or project as a man of the same qualifications. If that were true, we'd see who was rising to the top and be asking entirely different questions. But right now, the issues of natural ability, taught expectations, lingering prejudice, and time lag between "the workforce" and "upper management" all are intertwined and can't be separated to come up with a single conclusion without considering all the other factors.

Posted by: SEP | August 16, 2006 12:14 PM

Lou, I think the reason people got upset isn't because of some horrible incarnation of "modern feminism", it's because you implied in your first post that women are somehow inherently incapable of fulfilling CEO duties. That's a pretty big thing to say, and sound pretty much the same as saying we are too dumb to vote. It seems now that your argument is more nuanced, but don't act like we are out of line in rebutting your initial implied assertion that we are all incapable of doing something simply because of our sex.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 12:15 PM

And on the topic of male nurses and teachers - I've definitely heard people frustrated that they can't get enough men interested. I think having male teachers is great - the more good male role models young kids have the better - but I'm sure they're not trusted the way women are. Some people never trust a man with their kids. And nurses - ever notice in the J&J TV commercial about "a nurse's touch" that the female nurses are comforting people and taking care of babies and the single male nurse is running sophisticated equipment? (Yes now I'm off topic)

Posted by: SEP | August 16, 2006 12:18 PM

>>>>Yesterday was all about how mother's don't have time to maintain friendships. Now today is about how we should all be able to be CEO's.>>>

Friday free-for-all will be about whether CEOs can maintain friendships. So It'll all make sense then.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:20 PM

*I was told by a "higher up" in my organization that he chose my male colleague for an opportunity despite the fact that I was better suited because "you have to understand, we play tennis together, we are friends". I almost fell out of my chair. He articulated something that many men think on a daily basis. "He is more like me so I'll promote him". It's not a joke that women have to be 2-3x better than a man to get ahead.*

It's not "he is more like me so I'll promote him", it's, "he's my friend so I'll promote him" -- and this happens all the time with women bosses promoting friends - not just male bosses. I've seen it happen many times over my adult working life of 30+ years. I can't speak of this at CEO levels, because I have no experience there, but it is definitely true of and lower- and mid-level management positions who promote friends.

Posted by: noname | August 16, 2006 12:20 PM

" I think maybe the SAHM thing was meant to mean the poster values traditional roles and the uneducated part was meant as an insult. I don't think it was meant to read all SAHM are uneducated."

Maybe so. But it did also suggest that if you are a SAHM and you value traditional roles that you must by default be uneducated. At the risk of having my education be bashed as "oh, anyone can do that", we all know that there are millions of educated women who have chosen to put their families first and their careers on hold for at least a few years.

Working mom also took a big leap when she assumed that Lou is a SAH just because she doesn't think women are naturally suited to the demands of being a CEO of a large company.

Posted by: to scarry | August 16, 2006 12:22 PM

"ERA types on your post"

cmac's post is laughable. How do you win points when you say something so extreme as to be nonsense. There are women who most certainly are suited to be soldiers, firefighters, etc. It's the explicit rules or prejudices that keep women from being in these positions that us "ERA types" are against. And FYI--ERA stands for Equal Rights Amendment. And it is just as it says. It didn't ask for more rights for women or to change the workplace or put citizens at risk to accomodate women. All it mandated (oooo so radical) is that women be given an equal chance to attain the same rights as men.

And no one is advocating that "all" women should be given a chance to be CEO. It's that there exists prejudices and obstacles to capable women to achieving the highest levels of power. Sure there will be unambitous women such as Lou and men as well. It's not those people we are talking about. It's the dearth of women in leadership positions, despite women's equal capablities and ambition that's at issue.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 12:23 PM


Regarding women in public safety positions, your comments are pretty ugly if not completely ignorant. I work public affairs: I spent five years working public affairs for the fire service, now I work public affairs for law enforcement and prosecution. Along the way I have met some outstanding women working in both fields. They must pass a physical ability test before they are hired. There are a lot of men who cannot pass the nationally approved firefighters Candidate Physical Ability Test (I worked for one of the two the organizations that developed it). The candidates train eight to twelve weeks before taking the test.

Fairfax County Fire Rescue and Prince William County Fire Rescue women have competed in and done well in the Firefighters' Combat Challenge (sort of like the Olympics for firefighters). NoVa is well-protected by the women who serve in local fire departments there.

Posted by: single western mom | August 16, 2006 12:24 PM

You are taking loads of heat. Your response is a model for how we should talk about difficult subjects.

I detect more civility in the posts since the morning. *claps hands and resist emailing Miss Manners with the news*

I think I might disagree with you about core assumptions. I suspect we do have common ground, though.

Would be happy to be your neighbor. Glad to buy you a beer at Frankin's (Route One Hyattsville) or a iced green tea smoothie at College PERK in CP.

And to all: Unless we look at the data, being sure to uncover assumptions and account for cultural/social bias -- we won't really know how to change ourselves and our institutions.

BTW: this is what I teach your young adult children in my advanced comp class at UMCP.

(Now the meanies will correct my writing -- here in rapid-response-I- gotcha-land; The nicies will do nothing or even better, keep the civil convo (yes, that is a word in web-speak) going.

Posted by: CollegeParking | August 16, 2006 12:25 PM

People promote their friends, and hire people they like, etc.
Of course, also, when there are layoffs, the managers who are responsible for putting names on the list also take into account people's situations, not just whether or not they are the best worker. They take into account all sorts of things. If they like you, better off for you...

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 12:25 PM

"it's because you implied in your first post that women are somehow inherently incapable of fulfilling CEO duties."

You read what you chose to read into Lou's statement. I read that men and women have different qualities that come more naturally to each, not that either was incapable of being a CEO. So, Lou apparently is capable of implying different things to different people in one statement.

And I don't want to argue whether it's nurture or nature, but I think all of us will agree that differences between the sexes do exist.

Just think of the housework battles. Women and men tend to have different levels of what is acceptable - doesn't mean that they aren't capable of having the same level. My husband doesn't even see some of the things that I think should be done.

Posted by: to megan | August 16, 2006 12:29 PM

"if you are a SAHM and you value traditional roles that you must by default be uneducated"

No, I just feel that she is uneducated as in ignorant, not uneducated as she didn't go to school. And I assumed SAH (which is a good assumption) because she seems to advocate that women should stick to what they were "bred for". You know, we are biologically suited for only certain things. I can't imagine a stupid comment like that could come from someone who is a working mother.

And FYI---you are making an ugly assumption that working women do not value their families as much as SAHMs because we do not "put them first" (so not true). It would be like me saying that SAHM are lazy and can't make the effort to be productive in society. How's that?

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 12:29 PM

My friends and I were looking at our high school year books; we grew up in the '50s and '60s model some folks think was so great. For my high school-

Girls outranked boys in every field of scholarship 2 to 1.

Girls graduated from high school at a higher rate than boys (not necessarily for financial reasons).

Girls were not permitted to take "shop" classes.

Boys only ran for Class President, girls ran for Vice Class President.

On and on, do any of these facts reflect a "natural tendency" ?

Posted by: Dawn | August 16, 2006 12:30 PM

I'm not particulary ambitious and I've never wanted to be a CEO, but I get a little touchy when folks start telling me that women are more "naturally" suited to certain roles. I'm in my early 40s and remember as a young girl reading our local newspaper (I was looking for a puppy for sale) and seeing the employment want adds. At that time jobs were still broken down into separate listings for men and women. Guess which list had the better paying jobs. It particulary galls me to see young educated women like Lou and some of the other posters presume to know which roles women are better suited to. Don't you know that not very long ago you wouldn't have had the oportunities for education and employment that you enjoy now if it weren't for women questioning what roles we're "naturally" suited to? And to the lady who gets distracted at work thinking about what she's going to cook for dinner; You think about those things because you've assumed primary responsibility for them. When I was married I never thought about car maintenance because my husband had assumed responsibility for it. Now that I'm single I worry about the car. I've know plenty of single dads (military ones at that)who quickly learn to think about the day to day details of rearing children and caring for home when there is now one else to do it.

Posted by: Military Mom | August 16, 2006 12:38 PM

"Of course, also, when there are layoffs, the managers who are responsible for putting names on the list also take into account people's situations, not just whether or not they are the best worker. They take into account all sorts of things. If they like you, better off for you..."

It's a problem when it's predominately men in power and they choose to promote their friends, predominately men. As others have said, women are not offered the same networking opportunities as men (their buddies). And it's an even bigger problem when less than capable men are promoted over more than capable women. This is called discrimination and it's against the law.

And think about this---men can take off in the middle of the day for a golf game and it's ok, but a woman decides to go to one of their kid's events and she is not taken seriously. When I need to take off for stuff like this, I tell my boss that I've got a golf game (well something like that) and it's ok.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 12:38 PM

Back to topic--

"Can moms be CEO's?" Followed by a ton of evidence showing that not many are.

Of course, mom's CAN be CEO's. No one questions that.

I guess my comment was in reference to WHY there are many more men and very few women. I think the job is better suited to a man's innate characteristics. Not smarts, savvy, or ability etc. I mean thick-skin, competitiveness, etc.

I stand by that for other occupations. Ie, fireman, policeman, bodyguard, etc.

Now if I said, men are better than women across they board, ok, spew at me. But that is not what I said.

Women are more patient, better at multi-tasking etc.

I think it's because we are talking about a high powered, high paying job that people are so up in arms. Take money and power out of the equation-which is what I am doing-and who is better at it?

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 12:39 PM

Not to get off-topic, but if "equality at all costs" comes in the form of "women in combat" then the Israelis must be way ahead of the curve. They draft women for the armed forces, and they have one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world. Don't think they lowered any standards.

As an aside - what is the male corollary to "shrill?" Articulate? Well-reasoned? Workingmother, you seem smart, help me out here....

Posted by: Just a thought | August 16, 2006 12:41 PM

Why is thick skin or competitveness a desirable characteristic for a CEO?
Why isn't patience or multitasking?

Posted by: bd | August 16, 2006 12:41 PM

It doesn't matter if you take money and power out of the equation, it's still prejudice. Read militarymom's post. She said it very well.

And it's ok to change your mind that men and women are better suited to different jobs. You're still young and hopefully if and when you become a mother, you won't pass along your prejudices to your children.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:43 PM

"You think about those things because you've assumed primary responsibility for them."

This is true, but my point was that I think about them during work when I should be thinking about work. I am not able to separate my personal life during the business day the same way my male colleagues and my husband do. My husband has things that are his primary responsibility (car maintenance a good example), but his thoughts of those things don't intrude during the work day. He is much more capable of compartmentalizing his life than I am.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:46 PM

if lou would substitue "race" for "gender" and "black" and "white" for "female" and "male" then maybe she would see how offensive her comments are. let's try it -

i think whites are more naturally suited to be ceos than blacks.

pretty offensive and very wrong.

Posted by: quark | August 16, 2006 12:48 PM

I remember Phyllis Schlafly from the late '70s, when she was shilling for some of the special interests who were opposed to the equal rights amendment.

Specifically, I remember her lucid, well-reasoned argument that the ERA would force men and women to share public restrooms.

Talk about "shrill". Ol' Phyllis set the standard.

Posted by: Susan | August 16, 2006 12:50 PM

Very good point quark.

And to anonymous poster at 12:46, thinking about issues at work and not being able to "comparmentalize" your life is probably not a female thing. You are stereotyping based on your own life. And if those in power believe what you assert (and many do), this may be one reason why women cannot get ahead. We need to get rid of these unfair stereotypes.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:50 PM

"He is much more capable of compartmentalizing his life than I am."

Maybe that's not because you're female but just because you're you.

Posted by: yo | August 16, 2006 12:54 PM

The bathroom thing is too funny. I mean geez, we share bathrooms at home, right? Schafly was a crazy loon and attention seeker.

And regarding the compartmentalizing thing--my two worst employees for "thinking about" and doing home related things were men. They whined and whined too. I think it may be a generational thing. They were the most junior.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 12:54 PM

To: can't compartmentalize. I don't think that distractability thing is related to gender. After all isn't it boys who are more likely to be diagnosed as ADHD and isn't that the height of distractability? But maybe you're right I'm being distracted from my work right now by this post. Maybe it's because I'm a girl.

Posted by: Military Mom | August 16, 2006 12:56 PM

"You read what you chose to read into Lou's statement. I read that men and women have different qualities that come more naturally to each, not that either was incapable of being a CEO. So, Lou apparently is capable of implying different things to different people in one statement."

Exactly - if you don't state your point clearly, people won't always understand what you mean. Therefore, either state your point clearly or don't get all worked up when people misunderstand you (although I think it's fair to take issue with the tone of some of the responses). And apparently my interpretation was not so far off base given Lou's most recent post that the "job is better suited to a man's innate characteristics." Just as people a few generations back thought that voting was more appropriate for a man's innate characteristics.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 12:56 PM

OK, I am not going to debate whether men or women are better suited to be a CEO. Because in my book it is not a gender issues. But no one is making the logical conclusion from Lou's first post. If girl/women are out pacing boys/men academically and not out pacing them in the CEO positions. Isn't it a logical conclusion that the skill necessary, for both boys and girls (men and women), to suceed in the academic world are different then the skills needed to succeed in the board room. I bet if you polled the F500 CEOs, they were probably not the best students academically. Probably pretty decent but not necessarily the upper echelon. At some point traditional education does not translate to extreme job success.

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 12:59 PM

can moms be CEOs? Yes they can. No more discussion needed.

Posted by: who cares | August 16, 2006 1:00 PM

Whew! It just doesn't stop. College parkian, you spoke too soon about it getting better in here.

I don't know where to start but--

to quark--there is nothing inherantly different about a white man and a black man. There is for a man and a woman. Thanks for trying to label me as racist. It doesn't hold up.

Working mom-calling me unambitious. That was really sweet of you. My patience is being rewarded with lots of name calling.

So just because I am not ambitious about the same thing as you---I am unambitious. Way to go. Now that is ignorant. Not to mention you don't know me.

Moving on-I think equal rights are a great thing. I don't need another history lesson on what previous generations have done for me. I am thankful. I just don't think I want to spend my life trying to be a man (achieve the same exact thing that men do). Instead, I would like be the best I can be in what I am passionate about--which is not making boatloads of money and heading a F500 company. Different strokes for different folks.

Also, I already mentioned, "naturally" does not translate to "biologically" (read: popping out babies).

Lastly, college parkian, thanks for the thoughts. I am sure most people here wouldn't have ranted like this to my face. Which is another reason why I only write what I would say to someone's face. And I would have gotten along with most if not all. Too bad they have exposed themselves for what they really are.

I'd rather be an "unambitious" housewife (which I am not, if you read my earlier posts), than a mean uber-feminist CEO!

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 1:01 PM

Is 40 years really that long when you're talking total cultural shift from a few percent to 50? I think that's actually pretty darn good numbers.

Posted by: Liz | August 16, 2006 1:01 PM

"I bet if you polled the F500 CEOs, they were probably not the best students academically. Probably pretty decent but not necessarily the upper echelon. At some point traditional education does not translate to extreme job success"

Heck, our President was a C student and is proud of it, so there ya go...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 1:02 PM

"Some of us will respectfully disagree with you. And, we will then feel free to assert that in turn, we then have no advantages over you just because we are male. Ta-da! No glass ceiling. Shut the blog down."

You are right, I don't think you have any advantages over me because you are male. If I want a job you have, I'll work hard for it, go to school for it, and get it. I just really have no desire to be a CEO. :)

Also, Micheal, you are welcome and I know that my post can't reek of tokinism because I don't think of people in those terms, I wish everyone else could feel that way. I just see people, black/white, etc, etc. I was just using my friends as an example, that if you want something and work hard for it, you can do it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 1:04 PM

"you are making an ugly assumption that working women do not value their families as much as SAHMs because we do not "put them first" (so not true)"

I said nothing about whether or not you value your family.

But I'm sorry....when you make a conscious choice (not one based on financial necessity) to take your child to daycare or leave her in the care of a nanny or babysitter or other family member and go to your office, you are in fact putting something other than your child first. It doesn't mean that you don't value your family or that you're not helping your family by contributing to the finances, but it does mean that you're choosing your career over your child.

Re: something you said about "unambitious women like Lou" (paraphrased)....there are many types of ambition. Lou is likely just as "ambitious" as you are - she just chooses to direct her ambitions toward other things.

Posted by: to working mom | August 16, 2006 1:04 PM

Lou, to answer your question, I have to ask another: chicken or egg?

There power structure that chooses and maintains and supports CEOs is male-dominated and male-centered. This structure strongly encourages and holds the status quo with an iron fist. Which came first, this structure or male CEOs? If you change the power structure to one which encourages diversity and sharing of power, then you will see CEOs change. In other words, the power structure dictates who sits in that big chair and ensures the continuation of power and control for a select group of people. IMHO, the corporate power structure is probably the biggest clique to crack.

Posted by: momoftwo | August 16, 2006 1:05 PM

"I think having male teachers is great - the more good male role models young kids have the better - but I'm sure they're not trusted the way women are. Some people never trust a man with their kids."

This is such a sad statement. The lack of trust toward males because of the overwhelming minority of abusive men is definitely out of proportion. Protect your children, but not trusting any male teacher is ridiculous. Teachers seldom have opportunity to be alone with the children these days. Just use common sense.

BTW, I am female and wish that my children were exposed to more male teachers.

Posted by: Slightly off topic | August 16, 2006 1:13 PM

sorry working mother, you ask for the responses you are getting from the SAHM. Don't act like they are attacking working mothers. you started it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 1:13 PM

Hmmm... I worked for a publishing company where a woman and mother of one child was the CEO. Her husband was very wealthy and had established the company, however, so she was basically "appointed" CEO on limited experience. (She didn't work her way up.) They also had a nanny for the one child and her husband was running for state senate.

The last company I worked for had a female CEO but she had no children (she's about 50) and her husband was older and retired and stayed home painting. She DID work her way up and was quite cut-throat about getting the CEO job. After 3 years, she's being ousted by the board of directors for doing a pretty lousy job.

So? Well, just two examples of female CEOs I've known personally. Like men, the experience of female CEOs will vary widely. I think there are good real-world examples out there of women who are CEOs while also being wives and mothers. But ultimately, I'm not sure many women have the drive and desire to give up so much personal time to a job. They may when they first begin the real climb up the corporate ladder, but I think a great number re-evaluate their decisions once they're near the top.

Posted by: Constance | August 16, 2006 1:14 PM

Do you consider working fathers put their profession over their children if their wives are the primary caregivers?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 1:15 PM

"it does mean that you're choosing your career over your child."

Ok, let's look at this carefully. Saying we chose our career over our child is inflammatory and self-rightous. I believe that women who stay at home are not doing their children any favors. Sure, you feed them do car pool etc., but it is my belief that the message you are sending is that you are only good enough to be at home. And that it is the mother who is the primary caretaker.

I believe that I put my children first by being a great example of what someone can accomplish. I also do well financially and so am able to give them all that they need. I provide for them and it is obvious they know this. Most women would be unhappy being at home 24/7 and just because some of you are so happy doing it, doesn't mean it is the best thing for the rest of us or our children.

An anecdote--my sister in law quit work as soon as she got pregnant with #1. When her daughter was a young teen, she wanted me to talk to her about how "women can do anything". Well after years enduring her stupid "I'm doing what is best for my kids comments and "I don't have to work" idiocy, I told her that typically the best example is one's mother and she should have been that example.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 1:16 PM

Whew...a lot of reading to get to the end.

My 2 cents about the topic is that most of these opinions are right from various perspectives including the limited perspective views like Lou's and cmac's.

We are derived from a society where only white males had all advantages and power. We are moving towards a more equitable meritocracy. However, advances always take time and those who make those advances are frequently looked down upon while they fight the good fight and mostly only lauded after the next achievement has been attained. For those fighting for those achievements, you have to be prepared for the inertia of resistance to change (the perspective of natural tendancies or certain jobs being a better fit, etc).

It would be nice if we could all be valued based on our merits and not on external criteria, and many advances will come in the future, but they'll come slowly. I work very hard to advance myself and represent myself and my race well so that my children and future generations of Asian Americans will have more opportunities than I have. My parents did that as well and I do have more opportunities than they did. But there are still major glass ceilings in place that bar my way. You think women have a problem. Of the Fortune 500, 11 are women, 3 are Asians. Asians have the lowest per capita representation of any ethnic group in management, tenured professiorships, executive positions and any of the other top-level "merit" achievement jobs. This despite the highest level of average post-collegiate education including MBA's, Masters and PhDs.

And for those who think that they don't have an advantage because they are white males, you don't see the effect because you are in the protected majority. You get where you are based on your hard work. By statistical evidence, we in the minority, for the same statistics and hard work, will achieve a lower level of reward over time. I cannot complain, I have been promoted quite a lot and well over my 19 year work life. However, I have watched white males who have less experience than I, work fewer hours than I, have lower annual performance reviews than I, get better opportunities for achievement than I. After you notice the trend that their 110% work is rewarded better than my 120% work, you understand the phenomenum better. It isn't that they don't deserve it. It's that I deserved it too (or more) and they got it. When they get two opportunities for my one, does that mean that I wasn't given opportunities? No. But does it mean that I am disadvantaged? Yes. And just as many women in "non-traditional roles" are setting the path now for younger women to have a better chance at achieving by merit what they can and deserve, so do my achievements now help to pave that road for younger Asians.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 1:18 PM

so you believe that fathers who work are putting their work first and not their families?

And women who do not aspire to be more than they can be are unambitious. That's tough, can't have it both ways. If you choose to stay at home then you are not ambitious, period.

Posted by: And... | August 16, 2006 1:19 PM

There is a girl on my son's football team this year. When I watch the team practice, i encourage my son to "stick em good" and "good hit". However, when he was matched up against the girl, I couldn't yell "pop her a good one"! I just couldn't do it. I mean, i would be ashamed if words like that ever came out of my mouth.

Now, I know all you ERA types are looking down on me for treating boys different than girls, but I would rather maintain my own personal dignity than seek your approval.

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 16, 2006 1:20 PM

I am not trying to get into a "what's better, SAH or WOH" war with you. I have my opinion and you have yours.

When I say "put my children first" I am talking from a strictly logistical (? I'm not sure if that's the right word, but what do I know, I'm just a SAHM) point of view.

If I choose to go to a movie instead of to work, I'm putting my entertainment needs first and my commitment to my job second.

If I choose to have cake instead of chicken for dinner, I'm putting my sweet tooth first and my health second.

If I choose to drive my car instead of walk 5 blocks to my kids' school, I'm putting my need to get their quickly first and the environment and exercise second.

And (if I have a choice) and I choose to go to work to fulfill my own needs instead of spend time caring for and being with my child, I'm putting work first and my child second.

Posted by: to working mother | August 16, 2006 1:22 PM

Lou, I don't think ambitious women want to be men (I'm guessing here as I've already said I'm not ambitious). But, it is troubling to suggest that women who do want those things are trying to be masculine. Maybe they're just talented women who enjoy that sort of challenge. When you make statements that seem to suggest that certain career choices are exclusively male or female, your education and sex (female) seem to give credence to your opinions and that in turn gives aid and comfort to people who do support limiting women's roles. I've assumed many roles in life that were traditionally male. I assumed them out of necessity. I've never wanted to be a man and would have been happy staying at home to raise my son if that had ever been a possibility.

Posted by: Military Mom | August 16, 2006 1:24 PM

Very nice comments "Dadwannabe".
It's a struggle for anyone not represented in the power structure. And I feel your pain. I've seen guys promoted over women and everyone scratches their heads. I admit I have left a place where this was common. This may seem cowardly, but I didn't think it would help me personally to "fight the fight". Hopefully our children will see more open minded working conditions.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 1:26 PM

Sometimes I think it's like when women were getting into management positions in the '80s and they started wearing those awful "skirt suits" with big "bow ties" because they were trying to look like men in order to get the same jobs as men. Soon enough women got into those positions that they could change the fashion and start wearing business clothes that weren't so much like men's suits and were more flattering while still being businesslike.

As soon as enough women are in the VP and CFO and CEO roles, they will change the corporate cultures and, I hope, bring more balance into their roles, putting an end to unnecessary travel and other inefficient practices.

Posted by: TR | August 16, 2006 1:27 PM

To the 1:22 poster, this is not a rhetorical question. If you "choose to go to work to fulfill [your] own needs instead of spend time caring for and being with [your]child, [you're] putting work first and [the] child second," have you told your husband you think he, in order to fulfill his needs, is putting work first and your child second? More importantly - are you going to tell this to your CHILD? Daddy puts his work first and you second. I think you should. I think this is an important lesson for people to learn early on. You certainly seem to think it is.

Posted by: Just a thought | August 16, 2006 1:29 PM

so you feel the same way about fathers?

I'm guessing not.

And if someone goes to the movies instead of work may for that one moment put entertainment above their work. However they still can be putting work first in their lives. And I'm not playing which is best WOH or SAH. I'm just offended by people who self rightously believe that they are better and that they are putting their children first because they stay at home.

Posted by: to to working mother | August 16, 2006 1:29 PM

Let's stop arguing about whether men or women have "natural abilities" more suited to top corporate positions. It's irrelevant. Anyone who thinks that the top managers in big corporations got there solely through their "abilities" is drinking too much corporate kool-aid.

The social/networking factor plays at least as big a role, and at the moment, it tends to favor men. (No "second shift" doing housework instead of playing golf with the boss, etc.)

I do think that women can get into the networks, but it takes a lot of effort, and many women don't understand its importance. (And a man who can't do the networking thing is also not going to advance, whatever his abilities are.)

Posted by: randommom | August 16, 2006 1:30 PM

ToDAdwannabe: I am Asian too. An Asian female to boot. While I agree with your numbers, in the case of Asians, I think time will tell the story. Our story is still unfolding. Asians are the highest educated ethnic/racial group in this country. They also have the highest median income and highest median business income. The have huge percentage of self employed compared to other race/ethnic groups. Eventually, that will go upwards. But again, back to my initial argument, academic success does not equal extreme job success. If you define job success as CEO, president, Supreme court justice etc... it does not mean the top students will end up in those jobs. Give Asians some time. They are fast growing groups and their hard work and education is paying off. I actually like that it is paying off in larger numbers then a few small top positions.

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 1:31 PM

"so you believe that fathers who work are putting their work first and not their families? "

No, but I believe that couples who make the choice for both parents to work when it's not a financial necessity are putting their own needs first and their children's needs second.

"nd women who do not aspire to be more than they can be are unambitious. That's tough, can't have it both ways. If you choose to stay at home then you are not ambitious, period."

Well first of all, I don't care if you think I'm not ambitious.

But second of all - what about people who choose to work part time or in careers that are less stressful so that they can have more balance in their lives....they're also (possibly) not living up to their abilities.....are they also unambitious?

Posted by: to And.... | August 16, 2006 1:31 PM

And... wrote: "And women who do not aspire to be more than they can be are unambitious."

Wow, who made you God? Does everyone on the planet really aspire to be "more than they can be"? No. Most of us aspire to have a good life and be decent people. And that is enough. There are others out there who have zero aspiration, due to mental health issues or I don't know what. And there are others out there who have an innate drive to be "the best ever!" But that doesn't mean that somehow the average folks in the middle are less worthy.

Aspiration and ambition are not the same, by the way.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 1:33 PM

"But second of all - what about people who choose to work part time or in careers that are less stressful so that they can have more balance in their lives....they're also (possibly) not living up to their abilities.....are they also unambitious?"

Perhaps part-timers will choose one day to want to advance, but part time workers tend not to want to move up the corporate ladder. Not everyone is ambitious and I'm not saying you are a bad person for choosing to "have balance" or whatever. But then you can't expect accolades for achievement if you haven't achieved.

Posted by: To to and... | August 16, 2006 1:36 PM

If you think the greatest accomplishment in life has something to do with your career, then I guess, yes, if you don't aspire to be "more than you can be" (dumb phrase) in the work world, you are not ambitious.

Not everyone aspires to be a CEO. What a dull life that would be for me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 1:37 PM

WHAT is up with everyone today? I see that I am not the only one who is hormonal. Good god dam! This is a hot topic, but I can't sit and catch up and see who said what to whom because I have to go buy school supplies for my kids and take the cat to the vet. Go on with yourselves and be a CEO if you want. I just don't have that kind of energy. Plus I get so emotional 5 days a month that I wouldn't want to be the boss of anyone. I work, I take care of my family, I wonder if I am living right, if my values are in the right place and if I will have any regrets. I regret I didn't have more children. I guess I was just one of the women born to carry on the DNA of the species. Carry on.

Posted by: parttimer | August 16, 2006 1:38 PM

"Choice feminism" is exactly why we need to revise the alimony laws. If you "choose" to stay home, why should you ever be entitled to alimony if you ever get divorced? Obviously, for folks who don't know, child support is a separate issue.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 1:38 PM

In reference to being a man, I think that men and women are different, right? Ok.

Both have great qualities that make them unique from one another (not all, but some, obvious qualities), right?

So why waste your time as a woman trying to compete with a man, at what he's better suited for, whether it be natural, social, etc.

Forget CEO, lets talk wrestling or football. Let them have it! No need break into that.

Now I am not saying that women shouldn't aspire to be CEO's. Some should and some will. Good for them!

Just as men make better wrestlers/linebackers, GENERALLY speaking, so too, in my opinion, they are better at dropping everything, using cut throat techniques to increase business, and are more thick skinned, and less concerned with the emotional side of things than the average female. Therefore, more men will "naturally" be CEO's.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 1:43 PM

(Working Mom) - And think about this---men can take off in the middle of the day for a golf game and it's ok, but a woman decides to go to one of their kid's events and she is not taken seriously. When I need to take off for stuff like this, I tell my boss that I've got a golf game (well something like that) and it's ok.

I had to jump in here. Do you realize that some of you are coming off as unbelievably over-the-top in your analysis of how [all] men have it? Yes, we all have anecdotes. But if you are suggesting that it is routine and acceptable for high-ranking men to simply abdicate their responsibilities whenever they want because they are "friends" of the CEO or are of the same gender, you are simply showing ignorance of the breadth of corporate america.

How does your 'leave to go golfing whenever' notion synch up with the criticisms dads received a few days ago for working while on vacation? I have no problem stipulating to a general notion that white males have advantages. But when you start asserting that in general white men can just leave the office to go play golf, it's easy to write you off as someone who is too bitter to have a real grasp of today's climate.

Posted by: Really | August 16, 2006 1:45 PM

Found this article on CNN today - lightweight and kind of funny, but has one or two interesting ideas on today's topic:

Posted by: SEP | August 16, 2006 1:49 PM

Lou-just a small word of advice. You should stop while your ahead. You clearly are never going to justify your position to some of the people on this blog.

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 1:54 PM

Ouch, Lou. I can't even respond to your last post other than to say, duck! I'm afraid you're going to get your feelings hurt by some of the other posters.

Posted by: Military Mom | August 16, 2006 1:56 PM

To Liz,

Thank you for putting it so succinctly. As much as I would like conditions to be better for both race and gender equality, I think that we are moving along pretty quickly in changing long-term societal mores and stereotypes.

To Lieu,

I agree with you that our story is unfolding. One point of clarification. The Asian median income may be higher, but only if you look in the full aggregate of all Asians vs all in other racial categories. The Asian median income is still the lowest racial category if you plot based on years of education or even of years of experience. Basically, the meritocracy is not level and Asians are usually have higher incomes based on more education or more experience, not on equivalent numbers.

I agree that we need time to achieve the status quo of those that are meritorious achieving what we can. However, it is important to continually strive for that equality. The important thing is to change (over time) the perceptions so that those of different races have an equal chance to attain what they can and want to attain. And right now, that isn't the case. For example, despite having close to a dozen qualified candidates for the two recent Supreme Court nominations, no Asians were even on the current administrations long list let alone their short list or their interview list. The point is that although we have made strides in the past, we have made fewer strides and are moving slower than other minorities and that we need to understand the situation and work towards improving it. The typical Asian mentality that if you work hard, you will achieve, makes us achieve slower than others and we have to combat that to ensure that our children and their children have all the opportunities that they can.

Back on-topic, it's the same fight that women started for equality in the work place, but it has moved slower. Women also still have a long way to go, but should be appreciative of the advances made while still respecting that they have to be that extra bit better so that societal and business perceptions will be more equal for future generations of women. It's not inherent in women or's inherent on how people perceive or think about women and minorities.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 1:56 PM

"Both have great qualities that make them unique from one another (not all, but some, obvious qualities), right?"

Is it really a male quality to "drop everything, use cut throat techniques, be more thick skinned, and less concerned with the emotional side of things".
They are human qualities, aren't they?
I bet if you were to list some of the qualities you feel are "obviously" male/female, you'd get replies from females/males saying that they, too, have these qualities.

Posted by: but... | August 16, 2006 1:59 PM

Here's the opinion of a corporate black mother:
1. It does look better when you say you have to leave early to play golf than to pick up your kids especially when you're leaving to play golf with your boss
2. White men have it easier in the corporate world than any other group because the upper echelon are white males and it is natural to connect better with people like you
3. Mothers can definitely be CEOs but it comes at a price that most mothers are unwilling to pay. I was as ambitious as they come but I've changed A LOT since having a child. I've seen the same thing happen to a lot of my friends.
4. If more women stayed in the workforce, there would be hope for change in the corporate workforce to be more balanced and family friendly. As it stands, women in high positions are leaving in droves (it is not just hype) and that does not give me much hope of change
5. I am NOT putting my job ahead of my child by working. Instead I am showing him that women can be successful and industrious and provide for their family. Completely dropping out of the workforce would send a message to my child that I don't want him to have - that women are predominantly there to care for children and husband and nothing else.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | August 16, 2006 1:59 PM

Lou: Your comment about how women micro-manage while males macro-manage is entirely off-base. My experience in the workplace and in the home is entirely he opposite. The men I have encountered have wanted to micromanage every aspect of a project without thinking about the overall picture or costs involved. In my experience it has been my self or another women who has had to point out the long term consiquences.

Posted by: dcdesigner | August 16, 2006 2:04 PM

ToDADwannabe:OK, I work with economic data and I used to work on hhld level data. Where are you pulling your numbers from? The ones I am referring to is the one that they have lowest salary by years of education and experience. I am not doubting you, I would just be curious where you are getting that data. Please post a link. Again, clearly working hard and academic achievement has paid off for Asians-having the highest median income compared to any racial group and the highest median business income compared to other racial groups. I am not at all saying there are still battles to be won. But you must applaud the success that has occurred. I believe that success has come through hard work and ingenuity. As far as supreme court justices go, there wasn't any Muslims, Hindus, or Aethists on their list either. Again success for the majority is a stronger sign of change then a few "token" at the top. BTW, Sect Mineta was certainly a sign of upper level Asian advancement.

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 2:07 PM

YWA -- the biggest reason why there are so many women in law school over the past couple of decades is that *suddenly* (*gasp*), law schools finally realized that they could take money from women, as well. Purely venal.

Lou, I just don't know what to say. Don't know how old you are, but I see a complete disconnect with reality. Men as protectors? Like those women in the news lately recovering from being doused with gasoline and set on fire by their husbands/significant others? Uh-huh. Like the women in the military, fighting the (arguably, but let's not go there) good fight around the world being raped by their fellow (really *fellow*) soldiers? Like all the sexual harassment that continuously goes on in the corporate (and legal) areas?

The ability to nurture is taught, as well. Some wonderful, fabulous men in my life (and there are many around the world) are brilliant, strong, intellectual, funny, sweet and incredibly nurturing. Those are my basic requirements, and to my joy and sometimes amazement, most of them step up to the challenge, even those in the face of cultural (developing country cultural) misgivings. The innateness of a lot of qualities may or may not be there at the beginning.

Break out of your box, Lou.

Posted by: sooze | August 16, 2006 2:10 PM

Well said sooze.

Posted by: dcdesigner | August 16, 2006 2:16 PM

To all those ladies out there who are saying we (the younger, in-their-twenties generation of females) think we're taking what our mothers and grandmothers worked so hard for... I beg to differ. Sexual harrassment is still a problem in the work place. Both my female roommate and I work in male-dominated places. My roommate suffered through sexual harrassment by her boss, the VP of the company. I, for one, am not taking anything for granted. As I said in my second post, it all boils down to sterotypes. I think some of the older women in this chat are playing the feminist/women's movement card, and that's not fair. Pure equality is an ideal which will never be realized no matter how hard we try, however we can work to get as close to perfect balance as possible. I know exactly how hard my mother and my grandmother worked, and how difficult a time of it they had. I myself have to deal with many of the same judgements and issues. I've actually had people ask me whether I was hired at my organization to try and appeal to a broader demographic because we're male-dominated in both our employees and our members. They seem to think that because I'm young, female, and not too hard on they eyes that I was hired for those attributes alone and not for anything deeper and more substantial, such as my professional achievements, education, and experience. I have to work twice as hard as the men in my same position to prove I deserve to be here. So, before anyone starts thinking that I'm taking all this for granted, please stop and take a moment to reconsider. Yes, the work of my mom, my grandmother, and many other women like them helped give me greater opportunities... but I made it to where I am on my own efforts and work, too, and I'm proud of that.

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 2:18 PM

Lieu--I have to admit that I haven't done as much of the research myself (recently) as I used to. However, some statistics that were found by the 80-20 committee are included in the link below. Their findings are based on statistics from the EEOC and they have a link to some of the data that was used in their stances. I do understand that 80-20 is a racially-based PAC for racial equality and hence may be spinning their position, but I still believe that the conclusion is important.

And I agree with you position that Sec Mineta was an important political appointment. As was Elaine Chao, Sec of Labor. However, the point about highlighting a few key people in higher positions is not for the prestige, but to make it more commonplace and acceptable to see any minority whether it be women, blacks, hispanics, Asians, etc in key visible positions. That is one of the ways to change the imbalance of white males in the networking part of the equation. Until society and the people who are in the positions of power start recognizing that minorities are not just qualified, but also inherently acceptable, it will still be easier for white males to be accepted as candidates. Frequently, it's not even that a boss is consciously making decisions based on race or gender, but just what they are comfortable with or their "instincts" which prefer white males to others. And that is the underlying perception that can be affected when it becomes more visible to be a minority of any sort (race or gender) in a highly visible position.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 2:23 PM

Wow, I wonder if the post keep tracks on blog response counts. This is a hot topic, however how ridiculous.

Of course women can be a CEO/Mom/Wife.

Just as a man can be a CEO/Dad/Husband.

Posted by: Frankey | August 16, 2006 2:24 PM

Sorry, but I've got to jump into this working mom vice stay at home mom thing. I've worked since I was 17 with an 18 month break (got out of the military, came back in, long story) when my son was born. I probably would have stayed home longer if I could have. I've always been a bit uncomfortable with the idea of child care for very young infants, but having said that I've known some great, smart, well adjusted kids who were in daycare from 6-weeks on. Parents have some tough choices to make. My husband and I were poor and not working was not an option. We tried to juggle our shifts so that my son was not in day care for more than a few hours a day. If you decide to stay home for long you also have to consider what would happen if your husband were no longer there to support you. If I hadn't worked all those years, I wouldn't have the good job now that allows me to pay my son's college tuition. Both working outside the home or staying at home to raise kids full time can have unexpected consequences and positive and negative ramifications, but a lot of us simply have no choice.

Posted by: Military Mom | August 16, 2006 2:25 PM

To those who say that we should stop debating Lou's comments because they are irrelevant or off-topic, I respectfully disagree. Lou is not alone in her beliefs, they are shared by some very powerful people (remember the Lawrence Summers debacle?). And some of those people (though I am sure not Lou herself) may feel perfectly justified in making their hiring/promotion decisions based not on the actual abilities and performance of the people involved, but based on their belief that a man is just innately better for the job. And that, in turn, is one of the many reasons that women have trouble moving up beyond a certain level.

Though I will agree that the debate has not been entirely productive and perhaps should stop for that reason, it is definitely not irrelevant. And Lou, even though I so strongly disagree with you on substance, I admire your persistence and civility in defending your views.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 2:28 PM

"No, but I believe that couples who make the choice for both parents to work when it's not a financial necessity are putting their own needs first and their children's needs second."

And who are YOU to decide for OTHERS what is financial necessity? Where do you get the audacity to think you know what other people need or don't need. I can't even tell you how much is wrong with your post!!!
How about: a parent who is healthier - is better off for the kids.
A parent who spends every waking moment with his or her children only dreaming of when they will nap is not doing anyone any good, should that parent be home with the children?
How judgemental of you!!

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 2:36 PM

ToDAdwannabe:I don't have the time to look into the data but I will look at it at some point. My point is that large scale data bases do not exist to really show what I think you want to show. That is an Asian JD or MD or MBA or engineer or whatever profession is paid less then any other race JD, MD etc... Because in order to show they are further behind based on education, you need to really look at it by degree and occupation. A PhD in educational linguistic with 15 years experience will still make less then an incoming mechanical engineer of any race or gender. I am just saying I wasn't familiar with any survey that could really tell you that. The only large scale surveys, would not essential answer that question. Even in economic data, there is not enough data out there to say an 15 year old Asian cleaning business is more likely to fail (go out of business) or is less profitable then a non Asian 15 year old cleaning business. The problem with these statistics is that generally, there is not enough data to really tell the whole story. Your talking to a statistician by the way.

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 2:37 PM

Read an article in Chemical and Engineering News a month or two ago about a transgender individual. He'd had a sex change and become a woman. She overheard a couple of colleagues discussing a presentation she'd given, saying that "her brother's work is so much better than hers." The work the commentor was comparing came from the SAME PERSON, the only thing that had changed was the commentor's PERCEPTION of the person.

Posted by: jen | August 16, 2006 2:39 PM

Well said, Megan.

I also disagree with Lou, but I think her perspective is important. This perspective is shared by many in positions of power in the work world. As such, it makes it easier for someone to use instincts and sometimes unconscious external factors in making hiring, firing and or layoff situations. This perspective promotes the white male dominance in the work world and their advantage in the working world.

As I said before, the perspective often leads to white males giving 110% and achieving more than those giving 120%. It is a societal standard that needs to be changed in mindsets throughout the work world over time. And highlighting that this is a common perspective that exists is one of the ways to deal with it. Too many people deny that this perspective exists merely because it is un-PC to acknowledge it. You can't change this type of perspective by insulting it. Even today's blog should show that. You have to change this by hard working minorities (including women) achieving and succeeding in non-traditional roles and jobs. That type of change takes time and as Liz pointed out so well, it comes slowly, but it comes. Don't shoot the messenger because you don't like the message. Lou has a fairly common perception. Work to change that perception--don't just insult the messanger.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 2:40 PM

Let me make it clear: I don't think women are inferior to men. To reiterate, I am a woman, and don't wish to be inferior.

Is it ok that people are different? That is celebrated all over the world.

A slightly different topic: How are women different that men in the CEO position?? Things they do better or worse??

Let's be honest and not bash people for their opinions.

Posted by: Lou | August 16, 2006 2:41 PM

Tojen:I heard that too. I thought I heard that from the actual scientist on this blog. Or maybe I read it in an article. Sad, isn't?

Posted by: Lieu | August 16, 2006 2:42 PM

Lieu--I respectfully yield. I am *NOT* a statistician. I don't even play one on TV. :-) I just know that the limited information and statistics that I see, show an existing imbalance between experience vs achievement based on race. I'd be interested in hearing from you once you've had a chance to look over the data to hear your conclusions. It is a topic that interests me.

And now--back to your regularly scheduled program--already in progress.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 2:45 PM

Megan-- I bestow a Miss Manner-escue award on you, too.

These conversations should be in the open, marked by civility.

We should look at the data. Notice how two responders looked to the data on earnings as one measure of Asian American achievement.

And we should look critically at the data, checking especially for faulty assumptions, missing data, ambitious causality when correlation is more likely. Be prepared for people of good will and fine intellect to disagree over what the numbers mean. Be triple-ly prepared to see difference in what we should do about the findings, policy-wise.

I continue to be sad about the sh*t flung here about the moral correctness of working-with-children and staying-at-home-with children.
Cut it out.
Bite your tongue.
Count to ten.
Be kind.
Put yourself in the other's shoes.

We need a blog entry on net manners.

And, perhaps a blog entry on moms working in "blue" settings; paired with a blog on "dads" working in "pink" settings.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 16, 2006 2:45 PM

Yes, what are the differences between male and female CEOs? It's general accepted that minds of men and women function differently in certain areas. So what about abilities and talents?

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 2:46 PM

Brief thought on the "nature vs. nurture," "chicken vs egg" issue. There was a really interesting article in the NY Times a month or two ago by the Freakanomics guy, looking at why professional soccer players (I believe in Europe) were overwhelmingly born in the winter (i.e., Jan-March). He relates this to the age cutoff dates for the early rec leagues (Dec. 31): in the early years, a kid who is 5 years and 11 months is, on average, going to be bigger and stronger and more coordinated than a kid who is 5 years and 1 month old. The coaches identify these kids as having great innate abilities/natural talent, and then attempt to develop that talent -- more attention, more time, more skill-building, etc. And surprise, after 15 years of this, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The discussion today reminds me of this. How many of the "innate characteristics" of women and men are nature vs. nurture? How many of those CEO qualities were the result of natural talent, instead of simply being identified early on by someone as a "superstar" and therefore given great opportunities, training, and mentoring?

This is why the stories about women not being given the same mentoring, being automatically viewed as seeking balance, being presumed to lack the "edge" needed to succeed in business, really bother me. Yes, women have amazing opportunities now compared to when my mother was growing up and was told she could be a teacher, nurse, or secretary -- and even when I was growing up and faced a chemistry professor who had never given a woman an A in his entire career (1980s, I might add, not the Dark Ages). And yes, a large number of women (me included) don't aspire to being CEO. But it seems to me if you start with the assumption that women, on average, aren't cut out to be CEO (or scientists, or engineers, or whatever), that there are certain "male" qualities inherent to those jobs that most women don't (and shouldn't) have, then you effectively make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not that women can't succeed in that situation (just like not all pro soccer players are born in winter), but that they have to really stand head and shoulders above the rest to be given the same opportunities. The comment earlier about "my 120%" vs. "their 110%" seemed appropriate -- not that the men aren't qualified, but that in a lot of situations, women have to be notably more qualified to be viewed the same way.

One Fortune 500 anecdote (yes, not data, anecdote). My stepmom was second in line to be General Counsel of a Fortune 500 company. She was definitely a corporate climber; never had kids, worked her butt off 60-70 hrs/wk on average, won big cases, always got rave reviews from everyone she worked with/for. She was told that the two concerns about her were that she didn't have operations experience, and she didn't have experience with the company's foreign operations. So they sent her abroad on a 3-5 year stint to fill both of those "holes," with the promise that when the general counsel retired at the end of that time, she could step into his role. Two years into her stint, despite great numbers and glowing reviews all around, they promoted SIX middle-aged white men above her -- none of whom had ever worked in operations or been anywhere other than corporate HQ (I guess only women actually had to be well-rounded and have experience in all of the company's operations). Not surprisingly, she left the company -- a company that still has never had a woman or minority CEO or General Counsel, btw (big shock there, eh?).

Posted by: Laura | August 16, 2006 2:47 PM

College Parkian, I second that. I grant that this is a very emotional topic (I have yet to see a subject on this blog not taken emotionally), but decorum and civility should be the norm. There's a sad lack of good manners and objectivity both online and off.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 2:55 PM

I'm coming into this late today, but enjoyed reading everyone's different views regarding CEOs and the glass ceiling. I am still relativly new to my career and haven't come up against any glas ceiling antics from a boss, but I know I wouldn't want to be a CEO. I just wouldn't want to spend that much time away from my kids or family, but that's just my opinion.
And to the poster at 12:05 who posted the list of things women did don't forget white-out. We wouldn't have that unless it was for a woman. :+)

Posted by: Melissa | August 16, 2006 2:55 PM

Wow, lots of comments on this topic. Just a few ideas. First off, both men AND women will promote people who are like them. For example, I know of a woman who owns an engineering firm who once told a friend of mine that she would give women an extra advantage when hiring. My friend (also a woman) seemed to be completely fine with this because as she said "men were doing so we can too". Yeah, that makes it right. Everyone else is doing it so its ok.

It's too bad that the best person for whatever doesn't get the position. But, just because someone is the more qualified doesn't mean they have to get the job. There could be an added quality and that is their ability to work with the people at that area. People are more comfortable and able to work with people like themselves. So, that goes for any applicant. Women need to show they can work with men and the same goes with a man trying to get a job in a woman owned company.

The last point I want to try and make is that our culture is hell bent on telling people that everyone is capable of everything. That no one is better than any one else as far as ability is concerned. Yes, there is a first place. First place is the winner, everyone else lost. Get over it. Some people are better than others at certain things. so what! Now, the question is, are men better at some things than women? Of course. The same is true that women are better at some things than men. so what!
Now whether men are better suited to being a CEO is entirely too difficult to answer because there are just so many qualities that makes a good CEO (not to mention there are really no set qualities that make a good CEO). But, the fact is that women are making huge advances in management and to me that says that women are just as capable as men at the CEO position as long as a person (man or woman) who wants the job is willing to mold their life into the CEO position.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:06 PM

"First off, both men AND women will promote people who are like them." I agree that that often happens. It's called "cloning" -- and it's considered a bad management practice. The female CEO of our organization did this from the moment she got the job. She now has all these clones of herself in key positions, often without regard for whether they were best for the position. She very clearly wanted to promote more women, but it seems she went about it in the wrong way.

Posted by: Kim | August 16, 2006 3:13 PM

i didn't call you racist. you were just scratching your head wondering why your statement that there are "natural" differences between men and women was offensive. i was just trying to help you see why some of us found it offensive. there are plenty of people out there who will say that there are "natural" differences between black & whites.

i have read that in japan the culture emphasized that men did not handle money. handling money was beneath them. samuris & the men in power didn't touch money. it was women's work. needless to say, in japan the women do better at math. there are plenty of remedial math classes for boys because they just don't get math. gee what happen to the "natural" difference between men & women. i guess white men can do math but asian men can't. is that racist or is that a cultural stigma that has persisted through generations?

Posted by: quark | August 16, 2006 3:21 PM

Single Western Mom - Where did I say that women who met all criteria could NOT be in Law Enforcement or Firefighting? I also never said women could NOT be in the Armed Services, however combat duty is different.

What is ugly is when standards are compromised and a community suffers due to "equality". I have MANY women friends that are in law enforcement, they are exceptional and RARE and I could not do what they do - at least I admit that. Some would rather water down the process so that all are accepted - a 50/50 split men vs women in every occupation.

Women in Law Enforement have already proven themselves by getting hired and suceeding at their jobs. Not every woman can do that, I will say a majority can not.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:23 PM

"Different but equally special" historically got women in the U.S.: no vote, no earning potential, no inherent political/individual value (property distributed to men following the dissolution of marriage), etc. "Different but equally special" currently gets women even worse problems in developing countries where some: can't drive/own property, etc. much less vote. One of the reasons why "separarte but equal" didn't cut it legally was because, in practice, separate means different and different nearly always means lesser.

Posted by: JAT | August 16, 2006 3:31 PM

Actually, I think Lawrence Summers had it right - he was castigated and didn't really get to finish his thoughts.
I think men and women LEARN differently - and that our curriculums, especially in math and science, are completely geared towards the way that men learn. So you teach things in a way that men learn better - and tada! they excel in math and science. Wow, what have you proven?

This comes from a female who majored in Mathematics (two degrees), but I began in the engineering school. It was quite sexist there, and I found that I enjoyed pure math better, as well as doing better there, so I switched. But really, I do think men and women are DIFFERENT - but they both have the capabilities to learn math and science, they just do it differently.
Just like men and women have different characteristics - and they would both make great CEOs, they would just do it differently.

Posted by: atlmom | August 16, 2006 3:42 PM


Men and women ARE different in some ways, and there's no way around that point. Men and women, rich and poor, young and old, etc. all deserve equal respect as human beings. They shouldn't be TREATED differently, but that doesn't mean they aren't different from one another.

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 3:44 PM

Let's also not lose sight of the issue of competence. After all, wasn't it Ken Lay who essentially said that he wasn't in the loop? The CEO didn't know what others in management were doing??? Perhaps the requirements for "successful" CEOs are to be uninformed, not at all curious and abundantly stupid, and yet you still get to do huge stuff at your company and on a worldwide basis, get bazillions of dollars to spend lavishly, at least until you get caught with your hand in the till (include Bernard Ebbers from Worldcom who will die in prison). Wasn't Ken Lay called "Kenny Boy" by the President (whom I call "little boy") until things went south?

I think women have an enormous amount of capability to lead organizations, both large and small. Good grief, many of them lead families, for crying out loud. Hmmm, hard work and organization skills at the very least define motherhood and homemaking (what an anachronistic word!). But leadership and the actuality of running companies do not often coincide -- remember (particularly in regard to Bush), if you have to tell people you're a leader, you *aren't* one. If you have to have other people tell you that you're a leader, you *still* aren't one.

This still goes all the way back to the entitlement issue -- and Lay, Skilling, Ebbers and, regrettably, so many others (outside of Leona Helmsley, all of them men), demonstrate that on a continual basis. It's a sandbox where only boys are allowed to play. And that's why women-owned businesses are on the increase.

Posted by: sooze | August 16, 2006 3:47 PM

I actually agree with ALTMOM. While, I think that Larry Summers really messed up by throwing a straw men out (to be disproven) in such a public forum (he did it in a way which was inartful and stupid), I actually don't believe he thinks that men are superier to women in science-- he was trying to get the audience to tear down his hypothesis.

He chose the wrong situation to try this-- silly. Sorry-a side note...

Posted by: UP | August 16, 2006 3:51 PM

215, you didn't read the last line of my post. Different, in practice, nearly always means lesser. That's why "women's work" and pink collar jobs get paid less than blue collar factory/men's jobs (and before you say anything about a 'danger' factor - how about being a nurse and being stuck repeatedly in the course of a year with syringes?) "They shouldn't be TREATED differently, but that doesn't mean they aren't different from one another." I applaud your idealism, but here you are again missing my earlier point. Groups seen as different (even in their "own special way") are usually, especially in the case of gender, in practice, treated differently. Initially (except in Wyoming, where women could vote since the late 19th C), the movement to federalize a woman's right to vote was opposed on the grounds that women are too delicate, they should care for hearth and home and not get dragged into dirty politics. Then, when women tried to turn this around, arguing that their "purity" would perhaps improve the state of politics, opponents claimed women themselves only know hearth and home and shouldn't be "trusted" with voting unless they voted in step with their husbands. This is why separate but equal, different-but special in their own way classifications are almost uniformly bad. Because in practice it leads to discrimination.

Posted by: JAT | August 16, 2006 3:56 PM

"Women in Law Enforement have already proven themselves by getting hired and suceeding at their jobs. Not every woman can do that, I will say a majority can not."

I'd say a majority of men can't either. You don't make a convincing argument.

Posted by: to 3:23 | August 16, 2006 3:56 PM

Yea to fabworkingmom and wannabedad. Excellent points.

Lieu said to Lou "You should stop while your ahead." She's ahead??

I think it is Lou who has been inflammatory and set the tone from the beginning. If you're going to make sexist comments, then you need to be able to take the criticism. Sexist meaning that you assert that there are differences inherent in the sexes which accounts for the lack of female leaders compared to men despite women being just as capable and willing. Obviously you have one of those feminine traits--you're too sensitive (I'm kidding about the feminine trait).

And with regard to the poster who did not like the comment about leaving for golf---it actually was a comment from my husband. He used to work at a big law firm and noted that people could leave mid day for a golf game, but godforbid if anyone left for a family reason. This is a male's observation. I've learned from it and don't give reasons for why I need the time off. This is good advice for men or women. It's just assumed women are leaving for family reasons.

And a couple of posters above stated that women need to get in on the networking and socializing that goes on and is necessary to advance. I've found that women are often excluded from these opportunities as opposed to refusing them. When my male colleagues are buddy buddy with the boss and play golf or go out drinking, the women are not invited. So if this is how people get ahead, I'd say it is discriminatory.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 3:59 PM

To Lieu:

The perception issue in the sciences is VERY bad, and I'm sure it applies to many other professions. Another person in the same article was a woman who had observed that the acceptance rate for her papers in peer-reviewed journals was much higher if she used her first initial (not revealing her gender) rather than her full name (thereby identifying herself as a woman).

So, if the job requirements are physical I can accept that there may be differences. Otherwise, I believe it's all a matter of perception.

Posted by: Jen | August 16, 2006 4:06 PM

A couple of examples to give. I knew a guy, in his early 50s who is pretty high up in a natural gas firm. His day is basically, get to work at 7am and get home at about 7pm or later. Some work on weekends as well. He works hard and has advanced because of this. there's no way at all he would have gotten as far as he has without those hours. no way. In addition, he was willing to work over seas for sometime, without his family to advance his career (while his wife stayed in the states and took care of their kids). Who is willing to do that?
another example comes from a woman who has a child and is trying to climb the ladder. She is new to the company. Basically, almost every night, many weekends where there is some kind of function. In the end she must choose to either go to these functions (where she will network and get ahead in the company) or spend time with her family. Without the social functions and the networking she will NEVER get ahead. Therefore, it becomes a choice. The choice is hers. She is finding this choice very difficult. What would you do?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:08 PM

JAT: are you implying that nursing is women's work?

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:09 PM

"Some would rather water down the process so that all are accepted - a 50/50 split men vs women in every occupation."

Like who? You are making this up to substantiate a poor argument. No one would say that we should hire less than qualified people for the military, for firefighters, etc so that there is gender balance. Where do you people get this stuff?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:13 PM

I appreciate your cuteness to cover up your illiteracy. Nursing belongs, broadly, to the group of professions identified by economists as "pink collar" or women's work (which initially was a women's studies word, but it has evolved to hold categorial usefulness when economists study across industries). Teaching, elder care, nursing, etc. fall into the pink collar/women's work category. I didn't create it, I didn't define it, I was using it to prove a point to someone who mis-read an earlier post. I actually don't think there is a "category" of women's work. Israel has proven women serve well in the military, in the last 30 years women have made great strides in traditionally male fields, including law enforcement, and it has only been in the last 10 years that women were open to apply to the Citadel, etc. So I have hope. I use words like "women's work" when I am debating with people who assume that such things exist so they can understand me. But with you, it's obviously a lost cause.

Posted by: JAT | August 16, 2006 4:16 PM

What it frequently boils down to is various ways that the "haves" always try to protect their advantages over the "have-nots" and the "haves" finding ways to justify that they have advantages over the "have-nots". It doesn't matter why, but if you have it and they want it, you fight to make sure that you have the advantage. Check out the arguments from a couple of days ago about working class mothers and the class war that was started. Now look into the gender war here about upper level opportunities.

The haves can always find ways to keep the advantages. It's just unfortunate that so many of the advantages fall in favor of the white males. Some people even agree that it is unfair, but we just have to learn to live with it because that's the way things are. If that attitude were the norm and only accepted way, we would all still be subjects of England, would not allowed to own our land, would pay taxes without representation that would go to pay for services abroad and would have to make do with what is left here, we would live in a nation where non-whites would have no voice, would not be allowed to hold jobs except for ones that whites did not want, would not be able to use public facilities that were used by whites, Asians would not be allowed to own land or vote, but would be required to pay taxes, women would not be allowed to vote or have any but a select few jobs.

The point is that being vocal, standing up for equality is the only way to promote a more equal society. I agree that we will never have a truly egalitarian society. It doesn't mean that I won't fight for as much equality as possible so that future generations will have as many options and choices as possible available to them, with as few external barriers to them as possible.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 4:16 PM

to 3:23 -
A Majority of men and women can not be in Law Enforcement - agreed. However if the population is roughly 50% women/50% men and 90% of Law Enforcement is men (just a guess), then I would have to say that there is much SMALLER minority of women that CAN work in Law Enforcement then men.

What is your arguement?

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 4:17 PM

On the subject of whether or not people are 'naturally suited' for one thing or another, I was wondering about a related question:

Generally speaking, the people who fare the best in any environment are those who do the best job of conforming to that environment and mimicking the characteristics of the successful actors in that environment. (Like evolution -- if you believe in all that . . )

Perhaps it's not that women are biologically unsuited to succed in certain feels as much as that they're uncomfortable conforming their behavior to certain standards in certain environments in order to fit in, succeed and lead. (Japanese salarymen getting drunk with their coworkers comes to mind. And unfortunately the only other example I can come up with is from my husband's workplace. He's an infantry officer and I just can't believe the profanity that gets used in his job. According to him it's de rigeur and you're penalized for not joining in. I don't think I'd be comfortable doing that.)

What do you all think of this analogy?

Posted by: Just Wondering | August 16, 2006 4:20 PM

Well then I think that if 90% of law enforcement officers are men (I doubt this statistic), then the field of law enforcement is not doing enough to recruit qualified women. Of which I'm sure there are plenty.

Posted by: to cmac | August 16, 2006 4:23 PM

"In reference to being a man, I think that men and women are different, right? Ok."

Where is all of this men and women are different coming from? Most of what I have seen on the subject says that there are greater personality, iq, physical ability, emotional differences within the sexes than between them.

For example, the men in my family are much more picky about a clean house than the women are. The men are much more interested in clothes than the women are.

My sister-in-law and I had to wait half an hour on my two brothers once while they went through each other's wardrobes to try on clothes and decide what to wear to a movie. And no, they are definitely not gay.

I get very tired of justifiying discrimination based on "differences between the sexes". In my work experience I have seen very blatant discrimination against both single women with no children and no intention of having them and against a married woman with a SOHD. In the second case, they had planned for him to stay at home because she was more interested in career and had better opportunities. Despite the fact that she was at least twice as good at the job as any of the men (and men and women who worked with and for her agreed) she was still held back because she was a mother. This was even though she was willing and able to work the extra long hours.

Posted by: KEP | August 16, 2006 4:23 PM

JAT: I wasn't being cute, I was asking a serious question. My grandfather was a male nurse and encountered some people who looked down on him because he was a man doing "women's work" so I was just asking your opinion. I'm sorry you think I'm a lost cause. I actual find your comments insightful and one of the reasons I enjoy reading this blog (even with all the bickering and drama) is because I get to hear/read different people's opinion and points-of-view. I don't think there is a such a thing as "women's work" or that there is any one profession that can only be done by members of one sex. I'm hear to express my opinion and learn from others. I'm sorry you're not more willing to teach.

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:30 PM

Ok, ok. Very sorry. Too much caffeine at 3 pm. I didn't mean to jump down your neck (well, I did, but I was obviously wrong). No, I don't think nursing or teaching are women's work. I really, REALLY wish more men would go into both fields. Many apologies for letting the snark fly on the earlier post. Will try to temper it in the future.

Posted by: JAT | August 16, 2006 4:31 PM

It takes two people to make a baby, so why is it any more the woman's responsibility to stay home with the children than the husband's?

There is definitely still a glass ceiling for women in this country. Even the most ambitious woman will have a more difficult time getting to the top than a comparable man (and obviously there are exceptions to every rule).

Posted by: Ruby | August 16, 2006 4:31 PM

Sorry for all the typos. That's what I get for typing too fast and not paying enough attention to what I'm writing! :)

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:31 PM

While in labor, I got a back rub from a really cute male nurse. Sadly, I was in to much pain to appreciate the experience:)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:32 PM

I've seen this type of behavior in the workplace too. Everytime a woman gets pregnant, my boss says "I bet she doesn't come back". It's assumed that women are not as serious as men about their jobs and I've found this is absolutely not true. Some of the posters here nonwithstanding.

The fact is, it's perception, assumptions, prejudice and withholding of opportunities that contribute to the dearth of women in leadership positions. People may personalize this and say that since they don't want it, then it's that women in general don't want it, but in my experience, we want it, but don't get it because of discrimination and lack of mentorship/affiliation.

Posted by: To Kep and others | August 16, 2006 4:32 PM

If a woman who's pregnant is thinking of not coming back, when do you think she should inform her employer?

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:38 PM

I work in law enforcement and I'm female. 12.4% of the nation's police officers are female, and 14% of federal law enforcement agents are females. It is widely acknowledged that federal law enforcement has higher standards than local agencies. The facts dispute your argument--if women aren't qualified to be in law enforcement, why are MORE women work in the field's highest levels? I agree with the poster who said it has to do with recruitment. It also has to do with the outright hostitlity many who work in law enforcement have toward women.

Take the flip side of your argument--only 24% of the nation's teachers are male. Does that mean that men aren't qualified to teach? Nope.

BTW, I got all my stats through simple googling. Love those investigative techniques.

Posted by: to Cmac | August 16, 2006 4:39 PM

JAT: thanks for understanding. One of the reasons communicating via internet is so hard is you miss out on things like facial expression and tone of voice that can give a deeper meaning to what someone says above and beyond the mere words. :)

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:41 PM

Not doing enought to recruit enough women for law enforcement? They can't recruit enough MEN to be in law enforcement, agencies in this area always looking for qualified applicants. There are so few with the desire that also meet the qualifications that there is constantly a shortfall. Don't women go to college recruitments? Don't women go to job fairs? Is is the department's fault that a majority of their applicants are men? Do they have to beat women over the head to fill out the application and go through a lenghty screening process. Yes, I see - it is the department's fault for not LOOKING hard enough for qualified women.

How many women do you know that even WANT to be in law enforcement?

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 4:42 PM

Women should inform their employer as soon as they know they aren't coming back. If they return from maternity leave and leave again, then they should have to pay back the time for their maternity leave (assuming it was paid).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:43 PM

My former supervisor basically did that. She had her baby, went on maternity leave, and then came back for a whole day to inform us she wasn't coming back. It kind of left us in the lurch because we could have been interviewing for her replacement while she was on leave and then have them start when her maternity leave was up. Of course, I understand that perhaps she wasn't sure what she wanted to do and was debating her options, but it definitely put our division in a tough spot.

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:43 PM

Okay, thank you. I'd like to take a mulligan for my 4:16 snark...

Posted by: JAT | August 16, 2006 4:44 PM

cmac: my question wasn't meant to comment on any earlier comments really. I just wanted others' opinions of when she should inform her employer.

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:45 PM

Now I'm confused: are you saying that there aren't more women in law enforcement because they don't want to be there or are you saying that they aren't qualified?

Posted by: to cmac | August 16, 2006 4:45 PM

Why do these studies alway focus on CEO of Fortune 500 companies as the measure of sucess. It seems to me that this is a very narrow focus. You're essentially only counting the segment of the population that are businessmen/women. I'll like to see a more balanced picture of success. Lets talk about the # of women lawyers who are partners in top law firms, physicians who head thier departments in top hospitals, the amount of research dollars going to women scientist vs men, the # of tenured professors at the top universities, the rate of publications in top professional journals. There are so many other ways to measure success...why must CEOs always be the focus?

Posted by: Tina | August 16, 2006 4:45 PM

Wow, the order of comments is getting a little mixed up. :)

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:46 PM

"If a woman who's pregnant is thinking of not coming back, when do you think she should inform her employer?"

Actually it was assumed by the male supervisors with no reason to believe it except that these were women having babies. All of them came back full time. It is insidious for people to believe that women should not be hired/advanced/invested in because they may have children.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 4:47 PM

Perhaps one of the impediments to men not being too eager to become teachers or nurses is that the pay is lousy? Because those careers get little respect (which leads to lousy pay)? Because these low-paying, low-respect jobs are full of women (who get low pay and grudging respect)?

Just saying. . . .

Posted by: sooze | August 16, 2006 4:48 PM

SoonToBeMommy, now you definitely have to go back. Proving them wrong will be the icing on the cake. :)

Posted by: 215 | August 16, 2006 4:49 PM

Previous post was to cmac, not from cmac.

Posted by: oops to cmac | August 16, 2006 4:50 PM

In the former Soviet Union, doctors were predominantly women -- who got not respect and lousy pay. In fact, the profession as a whole did not garner much respect (compare with over here). See a pattern here?

Posted by: sooze | August 16, 2006 4:50 PM

To the female cop:
Congratulations on your googling, I estimated 90% of police officer's are women and the reality is it is 87.60%. Geez - do I feel stupid. And are you saying the 2% difference in local vs federal is enough to constitute women working in "the highest levels?" What else could these departments do to recruit women? They got you - how did they do it? Doesn't the desire have to be there? I don't know too many of my friends that ever wanted to be cops. The women cops I do know through my husband are all exceptional but they want to be there. You are implying that men in law enforcement are bigoted and racist.

As for teachers, who knows. Most of the teachers I know do so because it is easy to raise kids and teach. Believe it or not, most men are still the breadwinners in families can't do so on a teacher's salary. I would never claim that schools aren't recruiting men hard enough, or that is was a racist environment. Both professions are hard to fill.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 4:50 PM

Well, to maybe lighten things up a bit, let's notice we only had a bit of mud-smearing over SAHM/WOHM today and no one yelling "You don't deserve to be CEO if you have kids! Breeders shouldn't be able to succeed, they don't work as hard as singles!" Maybe we are making progress here........

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:51 PM

sorry - 87.6% of cops are MEN, not women. Typo.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 4:51 PM

Wow - it would be interesting to hear more women in Sr. Mgmt comment on this. I am a VP and upon announcing my pregnancy, everyone just assumes I will quit when the baby arrives. This is going to be a major setback in my career no matter how I slice it just base don perception alone. I even ahve a husband who is willing to stay at home after my maternity leave and still no one believes me that I will be back...

Posted by: SoonToBeMommy | August 16, 2006 4:51 PM

cmac--the problem with your argument is that it ignores the problem that for years and years, women and minorities *WERE* discouraged from applying. At this point, it is still deemed a hostile environment. I personally think it is right for the law enforcement agencies who have since changed their policies to try to correct this trend by recruiting the very people that they spent years discouraging from entering. Otherwise, you perpetuate the "old boys school" perception even if you don't practice it any longer.

I do understand that most law enforcement agencies are recruiting anyone that is willing to go through the training, but they do have to make an extra effort to let minorities including women know that they are welcome and sought after.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 4:53 PM


Oh - I see - make apologies for past hiring practices - make it warm and fuzzy and the women will come. Listen, there are not alot of women that want to be cops, and it doesn't have to do with ancient hiring practices. Again, there are differences between men and women - shocking but true. Apologies and red carpets are unnecessary and frankly - so politically correct that is makes me want to puke.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 4:55 PM

Re: maternity leave

I think that maternity leave (if paid) should be treated just like company-paid training. Most companies have a policy that you sign either when you hire on or when you get approval for company-paid training. It states you promise to work X amount of time (usually a year) or pay back the tuition for the training to the company. For paid-maternity leave, the policy should be the same, you must come back and work X amount of time or you agree to pay back your salary for the maternity leave. And for those who think this isn't fair, you would still have had all the benefits for that time, medical/etc insurance, retirement accrual, paid leave accrual which the company already paid are only paying back your salary. Still quite a deal.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 4:56 PM

I never said women are not qualified to be cops - period. Percentage of women qualified that want to be cops vs same for men - women much lower.

Could I make it through the training? Probably. Do I want the job - No.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 5:00 PM

I'm new to this blog and loving it, sniping and all. Tempers do get high on this subject because frankly a lot of us are really pissed off at the status quo. For instance,I feel like I was sold a bill of goods when I worked hard at undergrad, then at law school, and promptly entered a man's world where one by one the women were derailed from the partner track (or derailed themselves, as I did for in-house work) because of the many factors you all have cited. Almost without exception, the women who "made partner" at the firm, as well as the C-level women execs at my new workplace, have no children. (Yes, I know, it's anecdotal evidence and it sucks). But I do agree with the poster who mentioned that men who leave mid-day to golf and women who leave to watch a school play are viewed very differently. (Except that men who leave for the school play are cited as paragons of fatherly virtue, even if they forfeit a promotion down the road for their dedication to family). AThe thought that haunts me endlessly -- why does it feel like the women of our generation were brought up to work, but the men were not brought up to support our working? Put another way, why did our world change radically and theirs did not?

Postscript: I will always ALWAYS work, even though it's difficult, because I want my daughters to see me do this. I also want the boys in the neighborhood, most of whom have SAHs, to see me do this. It's hard not to notice a woman in suit and heels pulling her trash cans up the drive...

Posted by: working mom too | August 16, 2006 5:00 PM

Seriously, why do you think women don't want to be cops? I am interested in your opinion, but so far I don't understand where you're coming from.

Posted by: to cmac | August 16, 2006 5:01 PM

"I'll like to see a more balanced picture of success. Lets talk about the # of women lawyers who are partners in top law firms, physicians who head thier departments in top hospitals"

Actually, I was wondering if anyone had information about gender issues among doctors. Seems like in that field, success depends at least in part on the choices of patients, who are of both genders and all races, and not just the opinions of the already powerful, and I wonder if that would make a difference.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 5:02 PM

Why aren't there more women CEOs?
Nothing more obvious to me than the fact that fewer women than men actually want these jobs.
I'm professional woman with a graduate degree and I have dozens of friends with similar backgrounds. We all know that we could grab ahold of that brass ring if we really wanted it, but none of my friends seem to be going that route.
I think women, either through socialization, biology, or a combination of both, tend to value personal matters i.e. family, friends, hobbies, community involvement, more than men do. The sacrifice that it takes to obtain a high level professional position just doesn't seem to be worth it. This is what a hear over and over again from my educated friends. I know this is a great disappointment to those who are intent on using professional status as a the only measure of success (and I'm speaking particularly of those so-called feminists who are so deeply attached to the traditional male model of success), but my opinion is that we are all better off defining success on our own terms. Who really wants to wake up 30 years into a career only to discover that they have acually lived somebody else's idea of a good life? Maybe the real job of feminism isn't to create more women CEOs but to convince men that their single-minded value system (money, status, power) isn't the end-all be-all.

Posted by: rumicat | August 16, 2006 5:02 PM

Always the perspective from the type that never had to fight against bias and unfair hiring practices. Once the playing field is unlevel and shows favoritism, then sure, open it up to everyone and let the disadvantaged fight equally for what they want. No need to change the perceptions of the establishment or the applicants...just let 'em join and if they can't stand the good ol' boy network, they don't deserve to be there. The good ol' boy attitude gives me the same reaction that the politically correcte attitude gives you.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 5:06 PM

cmac: "Listen, there are not alot of women that want to be cops, and it doesn't have to do with ancient hiring practices. Again, there are differences between men and women - shocking but true."

Yes, there may be differences in their preference or desire. But your original argument was there are differences in their ABILITIES and that this was "proven" just by the statistics on the number of female cops. And the other posters are simply pointing out that in fact, there are other things that account for the low number of cops, and that the numbers show nothing about their relative abilities.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 5:06 PM

Gee, cmac. DadWannabe is one of the most civil, articulate posters here. Why not respond to his well thought out post with the same civility he offered you? If your arguments are reasonable you should be able to make them in a reasonable manner without the snarky attitude.

Posted by: Military Mom | August 16, 2006 5:11 PM

Well, for one thing, there is not a flood of female applicants for any department so I don't think I am the only woman that won't consider law enforcment. It is dangerous work. I don't particularly think women like physical altercations.

Let's chalk it up to most little boys like to play cops and robbers and army men (if their parents let them anymore), little girls like to play dress up and tea party. How polically incorrect is that?

Again, how many women do you know that want to be cops? If they don't - ask them.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 5:11 PM

re: Megan's comment to cmac

Thank you, Megan. You said it very well

Posted by: Military Mom | August 16, 2006 5:13 PM

So which is it cmac? Women don't want to be cops or women don't have the ability to be cops?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 5:13 PM

Welcome "woking mom too". It's nice to finally have more of the I-love-working- and- it's- great- for- my- kids- that-way here. Too many anti-feminists on this blog today. I totally agree with you and dadwannabe as well.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 5:13 PM

The thought that haunts me endlessly -- why does it feel like the women of our generation were brought up to work, but the men were not brought up to support our working? Put another way, why did our world change radically and theirs did not?


working mom too--I agree with you. Warren Farrell makes reference to this in his great book "Father and Child Reunion." He says that the gender battle in the last half of the 20th century was over women achieving equality in the workplace and the gender battle in the first half of the 21st century will be men achieving equality in the home. Until perceptions change and SAHD are looked upon more positively, then they will not be as willing to be as fully supportive as women have traditionally. It's gradually changing, but we still have a ways to go. As I mentioned before, societal changes do happen, they just happen slowly and over years/decades. You see more as generations pass than you do within generations.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 5:21 PM

Ok, you opened me up. I am a doctor and my husband the lawyer has said he can't believe that doctors are even more vicious than lawyers. I agree.

In medical school, I can't count the number of times my butt got touched. One day on rounds I was reporting about a patient and the chief resident asked if I was a lesbian and said "let's see your armpits, I bet they are hairy". All because I was praised by the attending earlier. The only woman surgery resident at the time told me "you are very skilled, you should go into surgery, but let me tell you how horrible it will be. You will be treated horribly and opportunities will be withheld from you" I watched as she was ridiculed by male attendings and fellow residents despite being better. The head of the surgery department had to die before they took more women residents.

And I am in academia and it is viciously sexist. As soon as I was promoted on the tenure track and a male colleague was not, he began to spread lies about me, sabotage some of my work and make nasty comments (he insinuated in public that I had male parts). Also a former boss humiliated me in front of our department because he didn't like that I wouldn't go along with something I felt was unethical.

I then became a head of a department and hit the proverbial glass ceiling. One older attending told me that I had a lot to learn because I was young (wouldn't say that to a guy at my age I assure you). This was said to me because I wouldn't let on of his docs in his department do something that would harm patients.

It's difficult in academia to advance and succeed without affinity groups and mentors. Grants are given to people with strong experienced mentors and you don't move up without grant support. Well, I rarely see women in medicine getting that mentorship and often lessor "boys" getting opportunities that women don't get. There isn't that same playing gold garbage in business. It is blatant white males aligning with their own. Three of us all women left a place because of it's sexist practices and glass ceiling. Two of us are now part-time or stay at home and I'm in a great position. And believe me these women would have preferred to stay in their positions full time if not for the bull sh*t and discrimination.

Posted by: to Megan | August 16, 2006 5:24 PM

I think there are more men that have the ability, physically and mentally, to be cops then women. I think men are more suited for some jobs. That is my opinion. If you think women are on equal footing in physical and mental ability to be cops - so be it. Factor in desire to be cops, the majority of cops are men.

If someone wants to "fight the establishment" or "level the playing field"
then they should do so. Apply to your local department and change the system.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 5:28 PM

DadWannaBe - There's no denying that white males have advantages granted at birth, but I strongly suspect you would practice the same culture if Asians had those same advantages.

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 5:41 PM

I think there are more men that have the ability, physically and mentally, to be cops then women. I think men are more suited for some jobs. That is my opinion. If you think women are on equal footing in physical and mental ability to be cops - so be it. Factor in desire to be cops, the majority of cops are men.


cmac--I do agree with you that more men are physically and mentally capable of being cops, just not that men as a gender are more physically and mentally capable. I also don't agree that the imbalance of 87+% men vs 12+% women accurately reflects the disparity of men vs women who are capable. I think the combination of the unlevel playing field and the hostile environment (some recently perpetuated, but most historically perpetuated) magnifies the gender disparity. Why is it so physically unsettling to try to rectify the situation so that more qualified women feel welcomed into the training and ranks than just the ones that can stomach the environment. Wouldn't it help if you could increase the number of qualified candidates who even just applied for training just by changing the environment? Wouldn't that help?

And I do know some women who applied but between the attitudes of the recruiters (from "Why hello there, little missy, what can I do for you? to "Are you sure you want to be doing this, miss? It ain't for the faint of heart." even while not so athletically inclined men were welcomed aboard very differently) to the attitude of the training environment.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 5:45 PM

In response to Megan,

I went through all of the same things in engineering and computer science. And they wonder why women aren't attracted to those careers. You just get tired after a while of putting up with the discrimination.

CMAC - Some of the supposed extra desire by men for certain occupations comes from the fact that they don't face discrimination in those jobs and they are fully accepted. Many women I know gave up in college or in the first years of traditionally male jobs because of the awful way in which they were treated.

Posted by: kep | August 16, 2006 5:48 PM

Dadwannabe: If there is a way to make more qualified women join the ranks of police officers - put it out there and we can discuss it. I don't think the pool is that large. What can you do about an unlevel playing field right now? Fire male cops? I don't know a department out there that isn't agressively pursuing ALL applicants.

It may not be right - but if it bothers a woman to be called "little missy" then maybe she should not be a cop. Wait till she has a drunk with grabby hands, pee in his pants and puke down his front hurling curse words that would make your mother faint. Quite frankly - recruiters give most applicants crap. Do some try to dissuade and unnerve women, probably. Some of the behavior is inherent and try all you like you will not change it or eradicate it. You may not like that answer, but it is the truth - in every profession, not just police work.

Posted by: cmac | August 16, 2006 5:54 PM

Michael--it's quite possible if I were an Asian raised in a predominantly Asian environment. I can't say, I didn't grow up there.

I grew up as a "white seeming" Asian in a white environment. In Pittsburgh in the 50's through 80's when my family lived there, Asians were supposed to "act white" so we did. It was unseemly to speak any Asian language when anyone non-Asian was around, we only did so when we were alone. Despite being bi-cultural and bi-lingual, it wasn't politically correct back then and we tried to be as white as possible. We also had to be better to be considered equal. It's some of this that raises my hackles about the on-going unlevel playing field.

I would like to think that I would be more egalitarian in a reverse situation, but I just don't know. I can only handle the situation now as I see and experience it. What I would like to see is a more level playing field and the hopes that we can find some middle ground. It just rankles me when people oppose the levelling of the playing field and hate concessions or compromises.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 5:56 PM

I chose not to go into surgery because of the discrimination and difficulties. I too did not want to deal with the stupidity. It would have been distracting. But once in a while I do think that I was a bit of a coward and could have paved the way. A number of my friends did and are now female surgeons. But I can't complain. I am very successful and now work with all men--they are all very cool and treat me as an equal. Wish it could have been this way always.

Posted by: to Kep | August 16, 2006 5:56 PM

Fair enough, but I believe only by assimilation we will be able to break down walls that divide us. Speaking in foreign tongues only accentuates our differences.

In a truly utopian world, skin color, religions would not divide us, and groups like the KKK and white supremacists would not exist, and therefore there would be no need for Asian American groups (think college student unions) or any other minority.

I have to leave for an appt now, but I do look forward to your response later.

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 6:00 PM

DadWannaBe, you rock.

Here's another example of how this sort of thing happens. In college, I was completely torn between chemistry and English. One semester, I had the aforementioned chemistry professor who had never given an A to a woman student. The very same semester, I had an English professor who told me a poem I had written in the style of a certain poet was so good I should send it to the poet. So guess which major I chose?

Had I really, truly loved science more than anything else, I certainly would have persevered through one bad prof; I was raised to believe I could do anything, and didn't for one minute think that this prof's opinion was a valid reflection of my abilities (hey, he gave me a B -- pretty good, "for a girl."). But if you're smart, you have a lot of options open to you -- so if you don't have an overwhelming desire to do one specific thing, why not chose a career path where people tell you you're great, instead of treating you like you're marginally competent just because of your gender? Since I was torn to start with, that nudge was enough to push me over the line. Now I'm a lawyer -- one more contributor to the shortage of women in science.

Posted by: Laura | August 16, 2006 6:02 PM

Laura - your story reminded me of a friend who was criticized by her history prof for "writing like a girl." Huh?

Thanks for the responses about the medical field, I'm so sad to hear it's as bad as it is. I wish you all the best in finding better situations.

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 6:06 PM

Megan, what, did she dot her i's with little smiley faces? :-)

Posted by: Laura | August 16, 2006 6:11 PM

cmac--what I object to is the double standard. Yes, law enforcement candidates are going to have to go through a lot of unpleasant persecution and I think that it *IS* appropriate to get them accustomed to that from the start. And yes, any woman who can't stand being called derogatory diminuatives can't be in law enforcement. The question is why are the male candidates treated differently. Only a small portion of the male candidates are so belittled and for the most part, these tend to be the smaller or less physically masculine types. The others are treated better. The double standard of not treating the all recruits to the same "drill sergeant" routine that gets hard to handle. It makes it seem as if they are trying to maintain the non-level playing field. Levelling the playing field doesn't necessarily mean lowering standards or going easy on the women. Just not treating them to a harsher standard than the men.

As for recruiting techniques, how about sending recruiters to the high schools and targetting the female athletes. Many of the ones that would struggled if they don't get athletic scholarships might be interested in trying out for something where their athleticism counts and where if they aren't in the top 2% of their chosen event, they aren't out of luck with the scholarships. These are likely to be girls or women that are interested in other physically challenging occupations. This would also apply to community sports. Why can't you have a recruiter visit one of the practices for the girls soccer team to talk with them about considering the academies when they graduate from school. Visit some of the evening volleyball leagues and hand out flyers. You'd be surprised. Maybe some 20-something woman in a volleyball league just got laid off and might be interested. Some of the gyms like ones at YWCA's or JCC's might be good places to find athletically fit people who are looking for something to do that is more physical.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 6:21 PM

Hee hee, Laura, no she used little hearts!

Posted by: Megan | August 16, 2006 6:24 PM

You should add that it is one thing to be treated poorly and called names by the people you are arresting and quite another to be treated this way by your fellow police officers. The latter is just a form of abuse and humiliation and is illegal. I work in a field where I get insulted from time to time by the public (drunk or psychotic people), but hazing in the workplace is not tolerable and no one should have to take it.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 6:28 PM

Michael--I do agree with your general attitude of speaking foreign languages, to a point. When you are in a communal setting that encourages interaction, then foreign languages are inappropriate. However, there are certain times such as two people travelling together on public transportation when you can get glares from fellow travellers when having a private conversation. I doubt that these people really just want to eavesdrop, but it is the judgemental "those foreigners" glowering looks or even snide under the breath comments about "can't even speak English" that are bothersome. My mother has been in the US since 1952 and a citizen since 1957. She has worked in the US using English since her arrival. Yet, when we talk together in a restaurant, she prefers to speak in her native Chinese. We do this and we get glares and disdain. Why should our personal conversational pattern be a means to judge us? I've met relatives in the airport and greeted them in Chinese and basically had attitude problems. Again, why? This nation is about the great American melting pot and while I think that there are some situations that warrant your desire for better assimilation, there are other places where respect for people's cultural backgrounds helps us to improve our society as a whole. Worldwide, we are viewed as one of the most ego-centric, culturally limited societies. I support bi- or multi-lingualism, and think that everyone should speak English, but the attitude of English-only is pretty limited. We have th e lowest level of multi-lingualism of any other first world nation.

As with you, I wish for a truly Egalitarian society where we wouldn't have gender or racial or religious organizations that promoted themselves as superior. Why someone needs to prove that they are inherently better than someone else by virtue of genetics and luck, is beyond me.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 6:36 PM

Good suggestions - take them to your local recruiters. I will tell you what they will say "Do you think we have the resources to go to HS Volleyball games and Soccer games and YMCA's?" There are huge budgetary restrictions in every department, they go to the big recruiting forums - where they get their bang for their buck - thousands of people looking for jobs. Why don't you encourage teachers and counselors to offer Police work (or the military for that matters)? Why aren't parents encouraging kids to get into civil service? The departments can't track down every kid that has a physical attribute. Also, how do you know what portion of male candidates are belittled? You and Workingmother are making a lot of inferences here and I don't know where you are getting your data. Do you do work in this area?

Working Mother: So calling a woman "little missy" is hazing and intolerable? You all act like you have witnessed case after case of women being abused by recruiters? Police work is not for the "faint of heart," they take on huge risk for very little reward. As a matter of fact, if you know anyone in law enforcment many of them will tell you they had a "calling." You may think it is corny, but it is true. They are true heros, and to hear people infer that most departments not only discriminate but allow a hostile and intolerable work place where abusive language is common is a bit sickening. Police go through sensitivity training, a lot of it. Almost ad nauseum. Some of it laughable. They work in the real world, not behind a desk making judgement calls on Police work.

If you think there is huge "verbal abuse" problem in Police Departments you probably don't know much about the profession and the individuals that protect you everyday. Join the bandwagon, this sentiment is pervasive and dangerous.

Posted by: CMAC | August 16, 2006 7:09 PM

"Now, I know all you ERA types are looking down on me for treating boys different than girls, but I would rather maintain my own personal dignity than seek your approval.
Posted by: Father of 4 | August 16, 2006 01:20 PM "

Father of 4 has personal dignity?

Posted by: Huh? | August 16, 2006 7:25 PM

Very well said, and I do agree with most of it. And in full disclosure, prior to this conversation, I would not have been of those ppl giving you dirty looks (because I tend to mind my own MYOB). However, I would have been thinking "Separatists!" But of course you have the right to speak any language you wish, so thanks for the reminder in tolerance.

Posted by: Michael | August 16, 2006 7:42 PM

Something completely random here...

A couple of comments on male teachers and how many people don't trust male teachers with their children...and now an announcement that a 42-year-old male second-grade teacher has been arrested in Bangkok as the suspected murderer of JonBenet Ramsey...

This probably won't help those who are already suspicious of men in the classroom.

That said, my daughter's third and fourth grade teachers were men, and she did fine in their classrooms...

Posted by: single western mom | August 16, 2006 7:49 PM

"Working Mother: So calling a woman "little missy" is hazing and intolerable? You all act like you have witnessed case after case of women being abused by recruiters? Police work is not for the "faint of heart," they take on huge risk for very little reward"

What you've said makes absolutely no sense. There is absolutely no reason that anyone, in any workplace should be abused by their supervisors or colleagues, verbally or otherwise. Be it law enforcement or any other workplace. Many women work in professions/jobs where they are abused by the public and do just fine. That is one thing and shouldn't happen either, but when it happens in the workplace between workers and supervisors and workers, it is called "hostile workplace" and is against the law. Read Title VI.

Your views are out there. I suspect that we've bettered you and now you are grasping at stupid assertions and asserting that we are saying things we are not (I don't know what you're talking about "little missy" what is that?). I hope that is what you are doing. The alternative is disturbing.

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 8:05 PM

Oops, it's title VII

Posted by: working mother | August 16, 2006 8:06 PM

to single western mom,

What happened to JonBenet Ramsey happened in her own home. While it was a huge tragedy, the fact that a male teacher allegedly did this does not make classrooms with male teachers unsafe. There are all sorts of evil men (and women). Does that mean that we should keep our children away from any man anywhere (or any woman)?

We want men to be supportive of us and our choices and to take a bigger role in raising our children, but yet we make them feel that they are not to be trusted with children. When my daughters had sleepovers, my husband did not want me to leave the house for anything (even a quick run to the store for snacks for the kids) because he did not ever want to be in a position of being accused of something inappropriate with the other girls. How sad.

Posted by: kea | August 16, 2006 8:29 PM

Not everyone can rise to the top. How many of us have truly been overlooked for a position we "deserved" and how many of us have an over-inflated opinion of ourselves?

Dadwannabe - Why limit the recruiting to female athletes? I understand the link to an interest in physical activities. but what about social worker types - they may be interested in a profession that helps people. Or even lawyer types who are interested in law and justice but maybe don't want all the years of schooling required. By implying that the athletes can't get scholarships unless they are athletic scholarships is perpetuating another stereotype. I do believe that you meant well and are one of the few offering possible solutions and not just comments and opinions.

Actually, I'm glad that I have a regular job where I try to do my best, get along with co-workers, go home and have a life. The climb up that corporate ladder has absolutely no appeal to me.

Posted by: kea | August 16, 2006 8:43 PM

cmac--I'm not attacking the law enforcement officers. I respect them a lot as professionals who do a job that I probably wouldn't be able to do. Although I could handle the physical aspects, I'm not sure I'm cut of the right cloth to be able to handle the job for the long term. So I respect these people who can be that self-less and do their duty to society. I can fully understand that they would have to have a "calling" to do something as thankless at that. I try to make sure that I show that respect if I ever encounter them. My data for law enforcement recruiting is somewhat dated. My acquaintances tried and left the law enforcement arena some 10+ years ago and I apologize for castigating the system with out-of-date aspersions that may have been fixed years ago. I'm the one with the two stories including the "little missy" one.

As for the recruiting ideas...I can certainly understand the limited budget problem. I made mention before about how difficult we have it at NASA with the major budget cuts over the last 10 years and I can certainly understand how something like training and recruiting could be cut under a budget that is significantly too small to cover even operating expenses. That said, perhaps people involved with school groups, PTAs could get involved with the schools. I know when I was in high school, we did have a job/college fair in the high school during spring term. By then, most college bound kids had already decided what they were doing, but the local community colleg and vo tech school came out. I didn't attend, but I heard that the local fire department had a recruiter there. This probably doesn't happen anymore, but it's a way schools could get involved and help.

kea--I wasn't limiting it intentionally. I was asked for some suggestions. I had 15 minutes before I had to leave work. I put out suggestions that came to mind in the first 10 minutes. Other ideas would also be appreciated, but I was just tossing these out. Athletics came to mind first so I ran with the ball (so to speak). I wasn't trying to say that athletes who can't get scholarships would be lost without some other options. I was trying to identify some groups who would appreciate other opportunities. When I was in high school, I lived in a large blue collar community that included steel workers and coal miners. There was a good portion of my high school class that needed financial assistance of some kind to go to college. We had a huge sports program and many of them were hoping to get sports scholarships. Many of them didn't get them and although their grades qualified them for college, their budgets didn't. Some went part-time to local community colleges; some to vo tech school; some immediately went to work. For some, who were trying to be the first in their family to go to college, it was sad when the family budget couldn't be stretched for it. I'd like to think that some did turn to the law enforcement arena but I don't know. I know one of my friends worked in the fire department until he had yet another knee surgery around our 10th reunion. I lost track of him around then and don't know what he did after that. I'm sorry I rushed the posting, but I figured waiting until later, most people would miss the end and think that I just ignored the question...since tomorrow starts another blog.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | August 16, 2006 9:52 PM

Working mom - You have not bettered me and honestly,do you think I am pro-abuse at the workplace? What is wrong with you? Wannabedad is being civil however your replies are demeaning. The "little missy comment" came from him and we were discussing female recruitment till you felt you had to butt in and defend him. Also, telling me I am "bettered" are you the board monitor?

Dadwannabee just admitted his "data" was 10 years old from an aquantaince about recruiter problems, what is your data on Police abuse and hostitlity? Tickets?


Sorry if I got snippy with you but this occupation is near and dear to me. Most departments do not recruit from HS's - they go to college fairs. Some departments do offer programs for HS students to work as cadets for 3 years till they turn 21, but again these programs are not recommended by Counselors and HS staff, leaving you to wonder "why?" A lot of major departments want college degrees, which is contentious.

Regardless, beating a dead horse now. Recruitment is not that simple - ask any cop you know. It is a difficult occupation that people tend to dismiss as simple and easy but it is the exact opposite.

Posted by: cmac | August 17, 2006 7:59 AM


When people cannot understand the language being spoken, they very often feel as though the speakers are talking about them, even when this is highly unlikely to be true (such as when you are at the airport with your relatives). This applies not just to foreign languages but also when people whisper or when the listener has lost some of his/her hearing.

Some of the people probably are rascist, etc., but many of them may just feel uncomfortable that they cannot understand you. For all they know, you really could be mocking them, after all, and then they deal with their discomfort inappropriately by glaring at you. It doesn't make the glares right (adults should still know better!) but knowing this might make it easier for you to shrug them off.

And since anecdotes seem popular today, my personal experience has reinforced what I learned in class (above)--my husband's family speaks Mandarin when they are all together, and it made me very uncomfortable to not know what they were talking about (it didn't help that he wasn't very good about translating for me, and I was the only non-Mandarin-speaker). I took some classes and learned the rudiments of Mandarin, and now I'm MUCH more comfortable just because I know enough to identify the topic of the discussion, even if I can't follow every word.

And of course, the flip side is that one of the best things about knowing a language people don't expect you to know is that when you DO (rarely) catch strangers talking about you, you can confront them in that language and watch their dismay and embarassment as they realize they made a false's very satisfying. *grin*

Just my $.02

Posted by: a linguist | August 17, 2006 11:52 AM

Leslie, you should be aware that Avon CEO Andrew Jung and Lucent CEO Patricia Russo are widely considered Hall of Shame-quality CEOs who have all but wrecked their companies. Hopefully, they are better mothers, though I suspect the child-raising in all these CEO families has long been left up to the nannies.

Posted by: A Real Working Mom | August 17, 2006 6:13 PM

Calling a recruit "little missy" is unprofessional and no one should either defend the person who said it or blame the person who found it unacceptable.

To take the paucity of female CEOs as proof that women are less well-suited to be CEOs is to think in a circle. It could equally well be the result of unfounded prejudice and without other types of data it is impossible to distinguish between the two causes. Here's some data: Two separate studies (in different fields) have found that when interviewers are presented with identical CVs, they rate it better when the name attached is male than when it is female. Thus, there is clearly prejudice at work. Some people cite the better average performance of women in school as proof that their failure to attain professional success is a result of their innate incompetence. This is a non sequitur. A more sensible conclusion is that women are naturally MORE well-suited to be CEOs and are being ignored in favor of a whole lot of incompetent men.

Larry Summers (the Harvard guy) said "my best guess is that" the lower representation of women as science faculty is due to innate differences in ability. To me, that suggests that he really does think that women have lower competence.

Ben whatsizname (who used to be Barbara) is a fantastic serendipitous experiment in professional prejudice against women. His colleagues treated him worse when he was a woman.

Taken together, these data suggest that the lack of women at the top is a result of prejudice rather than innate characteristics.

Posted by: m | August 17, 2006 11:33 PM

Let me go on the record as defending the "little missy" comment to a recruit - it is no big deal. Where do you live - OZ?

Posted by: cmac | August 18, 2006 9:15 AM

Someone else posted: "women simply don't want these jobs"

I think there may be some truth in that.

Consider that very few heavy-metal lead guitarists are female. Should we automatically assume that discrimination is keeping women from being guitar goddesses? Or maybe women just don't want to be female equivalents of Slash and Eddie Van Halen?

Posted by: Christine | August 22, 2006 3:28 PM

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