She works hard for the money; should she think about gender?
This article on "The New Power Girls" by Patricia Handschiegel in yesterday's Huffington Post posits that today's successful businesswomen don't think about gender, and perhaps that is one reason they are successful.
Handschiegel interviews a few successful women in this article about their thoughts on gender in business. All of them say that gender is low on their list of priorities when it comes to their careers, and that they admire men just as much as women when it comes to being successful entrepreneurs (success being defined here, I assume, by the amount of money being earned).
Now on the one hand, this seems like a step forward for women in the corporate business world. Like one woman interviewed says, "Glass ceilings may exist but glass can be shattered and cracked." Certainly that sounds like a feminist statement, but can people who refuse to acknowledge gender dynamics really be called feminist? My guess is that they wouldn't even want to identify as such, and that is where I find this "Power Girl" population to be problematic.
Women have worked very hard to achieve success in male-dominated business settings, and this article oversimplifies that issue by implying that women who acknowledge gender differences in the workplace are frivolous and whiny. Why worry about centuries of discrimination when you can worry about getting the corner office?
I am torn on this issue, because the point can be made also that what feminists have worked so hard for is the right to not have to consider their gender when making career decisions. I guess it just worries me that so many women seem to be taking pride in the fact that gender is not important to them, especially when I think we have a long way to go when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. Women and people of color are still make less money than white men, and even the Huffington Post article admits that business is thought of as "a man's world."
I would like to see successful women identifying as feminists and using their power to promote other women in the workplace, not ignoring gender and seeming to be proud of the fact that it is something they choose not to think about. What do you think? Do you consider gender when making career choices? Do you feel you should have to? And what about this name, "Power Girls"? Doesn't the use of the word "girls" imply gender inequality when we are talking about "a man's world"? Why aren't they "Power Women"? Or if we are to believe that they do not think about gender, "Power People"?
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