By Monica Wilcox
Like it or not men still rule the world.
Despite the fact that women surpassed men as college graduates 30 years ago, we only hold 9 of the 190 heads of state positions, 13% of the seats in the world’s parliaments, 24% of full professor positions and represent 15% of the top jobs in corporate America (a percentage that has not changed in 9 years). Despite the fact that we have received as much education as Joe Blow and have spent three decades trying to prove we can do whatever Joe is doing, we are still not influencing 50% of the establishment.
Consider my friend Megha Tara Sardana whose calling is to help women in India, and beyond, to establish their own financial freedom. She recently offered a free webinar to get women started in this process. Not one woman signed up, but men were calling to ask if they could take the class even though it was geared toward women. Megha regrettable concluded Women are Not Ready.
Is this the inspirational encouragement I should give my 11 year old daughter? “Get your education, dream big, rock your girl power…BUT women just aren’t ready, sweetheart.”
The Promise of Equality is Not Equality
That’s just a bit of the wisdom Sheryl Sandburg, the COO of Facebook, recently dished out to the graduating class at Barnard. Here’s more of her advice from the boardroom:
1. Embrace Ambition: In America, the average college educated man is more ambitious than his female counterpart. Not only are men more ambitious the day they graduate from college but will remain so straight into their golden years. Sheryl feels women will never close the achievement gap until they close the ambition gap.
2. Own Your Success: If you were to ask men and women questions about completely objective criteria such as GPAs or sales goals, men get it wrong slightly high; women get it wrong slightly low. Ask a woman why she succeeded and she’ll attribute it to luck, a great team, and hard work. Ask a man and he’ll say, “Because I’m totally awesome!” Women have got to believe, and then believe a whole bunch more, because the man sitting next to you KNOWS he’s going to rock the job.
3. Success Has Few Cheerleaders: Many people did not want to see Sheryl succeed at Google or Facebook. Studies show that success works in favor of men but negatively impacts women. As men get more successful and powerful, they become more popular whereas women are liked less. Don’t enter (or create) this negative drama, just surpass their low expectations.
4. Choose the Right Partner: Men make fewer compromises than women to balance professional success and their personal lives. A woman still does two times the housework and three times the amount of childcare than her husband will do. Having a partner, and who that partner is, WILL impact a woman’s success. If she’s getting help in her personal life she’ll do better in her career. Sheryl foresees a better world where men ran half our homes and women ran half our institutions.
5. Do not Leave before You Leave: Women worry too much about the future. They’re making career decisions for the man they may meet one day, or the baby they may want in 10 years. Men make career choices based on what’s best for them now, not around the demands of a possible future.
I’ve got a suspicion as to WHY women have not stepped up. For most of human history men have been defining the rules, the systems, and success. Do you imagine it would look the same if women had been defining it? Has anyone asked us if we want to rule the world?