Sometimes, I get the sense a women’s empowerment book comes out and we’ll interpret it as follows:
“I need to be that person, and I’m really just glorified pond scum until I Lean In, Thrive, or otherwise do all the things this person did to become a superhero…holding a Red Bull latte..in a private jet.”
Devil’s Advocate Time: Can we not handle the truth?
There are TONS of rah rah guru books out there bossing us around. But when it comes to womens’ empowerment books, some of the criticism is Kevlar-worthy. Why such a hot issue? Can we not handle the truth?
We Can Handle It, But, Our Truth Gets A Little More “Real” If You Know What I Mean
Here is my hypothesis I humbly share after being involved in the women’s leadership area for a number of years…and after being an elder caregiver, a caregiver of children, a worker bee, and a CEO:
1. It hits a nerve when one hears “You’re not doing it right” – or “Do it this way” – when you’re already up to your ears (fill in: Calls to the insurance company because mom has broken her hip, calls to the school nurse because one of your kids barfed, and you already know you “should” be running gunning for xyz promotion or you “should” be attending that networking group).
2. Women are caught in “The More Bubble.”
Yes, things are changing. But, short of cloning…right now women are:
- Still primary caregivers for kids in US
- Still primary caregivers for elders in US
- Still primary housework “doers”
- Are half the workforce.
- Have unprecedented career opportunities at all levels. While they may not be what we ideally want, the arrow is pointing up.
Data Nerds: Please see fascinating Hot Mommas Project Women’s Business Fact Sheet for these facts, and more.
P.s. I have not even TOUCHED the wage gap, sexism, and other basic civil rights issues that come up every time a book comes out. That is a whole post in and of itself, and massive groups – mainly policy and political – take on these issues.
T$R$U$T$H The Juice: Women = Dinero
P.s. I really think this section should be sponsored by KE$HA
So why do we even care about all this stuff? Why should anyone care if women are confident, successful, yada yada? I ask this question to my class all the time. It’s the question everyone wants to know. Some are afraid to ask so I just put it out there.
This is why: Women = money. Sure, it’s great to be a nice person and do the right thing for half the population. But, let’s be honest: It might require change. And change costs money! This argument is a little sad, but, it means you might be able to win with the person who has missed this meeting for the last decade! Money is a big motivator…for companies, for countries, etc. One of the best facts nay sayers and ambassadors alike can share in common is the money women generate in the economy.
- Women make 80-85% of household purchasing decisions.
- Companies that promote women on a formal executive track are more profitable.
- Where countries invest in women entrepreneurs, GDP increases.
- Please see sources on Hot Mommas Project Fact Sheet
The New Success, Fart Jokes, et al
The corner office was the definition of success 20 years ago. Now we have a generation that’s cool with a laptop, a set of headphones, and a chair (I see a vision of 1-800-chiropractor springing up all over the nation in 20 years – but that’s a tangent).
Success differs for everyone. What was right for someone else, may not be right for you.
I am relatively clear on my definition of success and in no way shape or form do I feel I need to gene splice myself into Sheryl Sandberg. Aside from being incredibly painful, she was not asking us to do that. She was taking time to share some, if I may say, pretty awesome tips. When I walk into a situation with a good sense of self, I am able to read a book, hear a lecture, etc and the takeaways fall into two categories: “This applies to me (or my students)” or “This does NOT apply to me (or my students).”
TRUTH? I feel most vulnerable when I have NOT defined who I am, or what I want, then am served up with a bunch of “to dos” or “you shoulds”…like some late-bloomer Mommy issue. News flash: We’re EVERYTHING…to EVERYONE. This could lead to a minor identity crisis of sorts.
My definition/recipe for success is some drive, doing what I love, a dash of special sauce and fulfilling my purpose, a lot of humor, some little rascals making fart jokes, one big handsome one – making fart jokes, two dogs, a nice home environment, and a killer support network. Of course there are all sorts of plans, measurements, and color-coded calendars in the middle of that. Did I mention the bullwhip? Okay okay, just kidding.
What’s your definition of success?
Kathy Korman Frey is the founder and CEO of the Hot Mommas Project, the world’s largest womens’ case study library – the research for which is headquartered at the George Washington University where Frey teaches Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership. The Hot Mommas Project classes creates opportunities for scalable mentoring and increases confidence up to 200% in a semester and 66% in a three hour workshop. Stay tuned for the Hot Mommas Project virtual campus, launching soon.