1. “Ignorance in high places.” Having women in senior leadership positions, on boards, is just good business. It’s not about tokenism or quotas. It’s about more effective decisions, better decisions. Research supports the increasing benefit to organizations and the bottomline as gender diversity increases.
2. “Thinking structural change = culture change.” Establishing quotas and/or making changes to structures are not sufficient. Kinal said it well: “Culture trumps quotas, guidelines, and systems any day.” National cultures impact work norms (when does the workday end, perceptions of work vs. family, etc.). These may correspond with Hofstede’s masculinity versus femininity dimension of national culture. I would add that quotas/structural changes may also have little impact on an organization’s culture.
3. “We [women] are our own worst enemies.” Kinal expresses two opinions: (1) Some women by dress and behavior try to use their gender to get what they want, thus reinforcing sex role stereotypes. (2) Some “women act bitchy” and may bully, mistreat other women.
4. “Not speaking up.” Sheryl Sandberg emphasizes this point in Lean In. Speak up. Lean in. Sit at the table.
5. “Not all women want it.” Another point discussed in Sandberg’s Lean In.
6. “Men are scared of strong women.” Kinal wrote: “Many men are scared of strong and intelligent women. There, I said it!” I am sure there are probably some men who have this attitude. May vary by profession and/or culturally but I’d like to see some survey data. My guess is that more likely some men have trouble working with strong, intelligent women due to having well-established sex role stereotypes.
7. “Choosing the wrong life partner.” Or as Sandberg affirmatively put it in a chapter title: “Make Your Partner a Real Partner.”
8. “How we raise our daughters . . . and sons.” Expectations, sex role behaviors, potential. Do our sons learn to wash clothes and iron?
9. “Playing the victim.” Kinal: “Some women spend too much energy playing the victim or blaming the system. . . spend your energy participating, learning and growing as a strong, female leader. The sooner you do that, the sooner other people will start treating you like one.”
Image courtesy of Therese S. Kinal. Used with permission.