Friday, September 23, 2005

Women to Blame for Lack of Female Executives, Expert Says

Yes. That was the subject line of the unsolicited email I received yesterday from Merilee Kern of Kern Communications. An excerpt from the message, which was promoting a seminar, read:

Mr. McKee [the expert] notes, “It’s shocking and frankly unacceptable that less than 4 percent of America’s largest companies have women in the most senior management roles. This is clearly not representative of a woman’s ability or desire to lead, but rather is reflective of the cold hard fact that gender bias does still exist in the 21st century workplace. This statistic also reveals that too many talented, intelligent and deserving women simply do not strategize, or execute, effective ways they can be seen, heard, respected and, in turn, promoted in the workplace.”

This was my reply.

Dear Merilee,

So, women are to blame for lack of female executives, according to Mr. McKee. I suppose he also feels it's our fault that we're offered less wages, denied access and are subjected to discriminatory language and behavior.

It's not likely that I would turn to a man to learn how to be more successful as a woman. If he really wants to help women, he should speak to men about changing their attitudes and stereotypical prejudices. Women don't need to learn how to be more like men; they need to realize that they are fine just the way they are and work toward creating an environment where our accomplishments are not remarkable by gender, but by the simple act of doing what we're doing well.

If the current system is so skewed in recognizing talent and deservedness, why would anyone want to be part of it? Women need to create a better system, not mold themselves into an archaic, repressive (albeit traditional) system.

I don't want to receive any more information about Mr. McKee. When you are planning or promoting events or seminars that truly empower women, send me an email.


Shelley Lieber

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