I guess I was saying, where's my "old girls network" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 07-29-2011, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to do a fresh start on my "Second Sex" question, which was penned on a not so great day.


Basically, I was trying to say that though I've gotten positives and negatives from both genders, when it's been critical, I've had men in power stand up for me in my professional life but women in power have not. And on a few occasions they have seemed to seek to undermine me. I hate to say it because I feel like I'm only reinforcing a stupid cliche, which I didn't used to believe in, but it's really been my experience unfortunately, especially as I've advanced in my career.


I mentor and try to help young professionals of both genders but, even though it's not very egalitarian of me, I go out of my way to help women, just because they are women. I figured if I wanted women to stand up for women, the best place to start was with myself. And we could use a little extra love and friendship out here. But after 10 years, I'm not feeling a lot of hope that other women share this feeling, or even want to stand up for themselves.


I don't see my life as a gender battle but I do think it's too easy for women to set their sights low and inadvertently influence their peers to do the same. And I think moving beyond that takes conscious effort. And I think women who work in male dominated industries may see this difference more clearly than those who do not.


So, that was my real point, which got muddled up in my other post. Thanks for listening.

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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#2 of 4 Old 07-29-2011, 09:59 AM
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I'm in IT which has been a male field, but think female population is easly 30-40% and a LOT of them are in management. Very different than less than 5%.


My experience is that GREAT women are GREAT to work for. For the most part, I've been fortunate to work for and with GREAT women with great experience, confidence, etc who've done everything they could to lift me up and commiserate. You, OP, are a GREAT woman.

I'm familiar with the other kind of woman. I've met a few of them and it can be WAY worse working with that type than even a mediocre man. The sorts of women who clawed their way to the top through great sacrifice and are bitter about it and think our generation just got everything handed to us and don't appreciate what they did and how hard it was.


I think today, discrimination is in the US is much more subtle but it can still undermine our daughters.


Case in point - Does anyone have the "Street through Time" books? They take a street and show what it might have looked like in the stone age, early iron age, middle ages, Victorian times, industrial revolution, modern times, etc. There are all these little people in it, too, with different jobs. I'm a history buff and re-enactor so Iove these books. Very fun to look at, detailed illustrations, etc. 


I looked at my daughters book - women are outnumbered 17:1. all the men are given jobs, but the women are invisible. Their work isn't valued - the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker - all men. I KNOW from history that women also worked outside the home - the baker, the brewer - ways women served their community and made money. But they aren't depicted in the series. To say nothing of all of the unseen work that women are doing.

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#3 of 4 Old 07-29-2011, 10:51 AM
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Hey, OP, did you see this article about Sheryl Sandberg in a recent issue of the New Yorker?



It raises a lot of interesting questions about women who rise to the top, and why most women don't. I think you'd be totally into it. And Sheryl Sandberg sounds like an awesome boss.

Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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#4 of 4 Old 07-30-2011, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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That was a great article, CI Mama! Thanks. I read Sandberg's commencement speech to Barnard this spring and was passing it around. Interestingly, I really like what she's saying but I certainly have voiced the criticisms as well. (There are only so many Larry Summers equivalents to go around boosting people's careers. And the male-female mentor-mentee relationships can be awkward.) And this is something I really struggle with and why (though some of my comments have perhaps seemed that way), I certainly do not blame women exclusively for their own lack of advancement. No, ma'am. I get the bigger hurdles out there. I'm living them. But wanting to be recognized and be successful is a necessary starting point and worth stating.


And Eillien C - you're absolutely right. GREAT people are exactly that. And if greatness is randomly distributed across gender, statistically speaking, if I work with more men, my list of great people will include more men. It just seems to be disproportionately light on women sadly.


This conversation reminds me of an article I read stating that the number of women in orchestras shot up when they instituted blind auditions. How delightful (solutions and progress, yay!) and depressing (hard to implement universally, alas). And certainly demonstrates that barriers beyond women's ambitions are absolutely in play. But I figure, it may take an old girls network to figure out analogous solutions in other industries.

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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