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Women in Business: Helping or Hindering Their Own Careers?

2011 July 11
by Contributor

Very few men network with others, trying to answer the question, “How can I balance home and work?” As much as laws and society have advanced their thinking and attitudes, women are still held accountable for generating income and running a household. Many males still hold the “breadwinner, hunter and gatherer” roles for themselves even if out-earned by their wives. Unfortunately, the attitude is seemingly affecting women in the workplace as well.

In 2010, an economic committee reported findings that corporations with women in the upper echelons out-performed competitors more often than not. The report draws special attention to key elements that contributed to the corporation’s success—team-building, collaboration and mentoring.

Then why aren’t more women in management and upper management positions? Do women consciously or unconsciously contribute to that standard, or does it all stem from “the old boys’ club” state of minds?

Some suggest that women remove themselves from serious competition for upper advancement. They defer to male significant others in domestic situations, and they withdraw from following their own paths to reach their own goals.

Possible reasons for those behaviors are myriad and kaleidoscopic: There are as many possibilities as distaff members of the human race. Might it be as basic as differences in what individuals believe “success” is?

Could it be that women aren’t as uniformly supportive if another woman’s goals don’t match identically? In some cases, could it be that “the grass is greener,” simply because it’s our own? After all, how many times have you either said or heard disparaging comments about women who give up their careers to care for their children? How many times have you said or heard that women bosses are the worst to have, that you just can’t get along with them because they never relax and are too business-focused?

Could it be jealousy or fear of being subjected to passive-aggressive behavior as noted in the latter example above? It’s certainly not easy trying to promote healthy interaction and team-building for maximum performance with those attitudes, is it?

Ambitious men in business are not considered cold and heartless. They are not considered “ball busters” because of their drive, determination and intolerance of double standards. Are women reinforcing the stereotype of the “heartless bitch boss,” or are women simply doing what’s necessary to break a glass ceiling?

What can women in business do to promote their careers on their own terms while meeting corporate standards for promotion? Do women as a whole redefine success or invoke an affirmative action equivalent? Does success need redefining?

Sharon Sandberg, COO of Facebook, states that women could make better progress in business leadership roles by changing core behaviors in the business world and making a concerted effort to “get in the game.”

Scientists have performed performance experiments on multitasking abilities of both men and women. They have found that women out-perform men in this arena, leading them to conclude that women are better able to both stand back and ponder and consider while still performing immediate tasks.

The 2010 American Time Use Survey reported results that outline 85 percent of employed women spent time in household duties, including childcare, cleaning, landscaping and cooking, compared to only 67 percent of men.

Women respondents who are self-employed spent on average almost an hour less at work to accommodate family activities and household demands than male business owners.

Might those figures mean that when education and experience are equal, women stand a better chance of success at owning their own businesses?

It’s entirely up to each woman to incorporate into her goals and paradigm.

Article by Sara Woods of Coupon Croc. Dress the part of a business professional and save with a Debenhams discount code.

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by egor.gribanov

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Julia permalink
    July 13, 2011

    Good article, i read it couple of times. I like this author, good that she is a guest here.

  2. Jenny permalink
    October 5, 2011

    Good reading, gives even more for thinking about our position in business… Thanks!

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