Tag Archives: workforce

Modern day women

8 Sep

I can’t help but think how lucky I am to live in this period where women before me have made inroads for my generation. It really is the decade of Superwomen. Not just Oprah. Everyday women around me are ambitious, driven and unashamed to be the breadwinner. If they end up more successful than their peers, the achievement speaks for itself. Success may not have been their intention, but a need to succeed was their right. The amazing thing is women are expressing that freedom more so than ever before. These ladies are surpassing people’s expectations even among women.

Kudos to the Hilary Clintons, Indar Nooyis and Carly Fiorinas of my time. These are women who have been criticized not just by men, but pretty much everybody. They cracked the corporate and political glass ceiling for the next generation of women. It’s important to remember they were pioneers much as they were popular during their run. Clinton will be remembered first for her quest for the 2008 presidential nomination, second as former First Lady and Secretary of State. Indar Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi, one of the few minority CEOs held up the multibillion company amidst the recession. Carly Fiorina, probably known for her acquisition of Compaq was also among the few female faces in the tech world.

It’s no surprise women like Clinton, Nooyi and Fiorina are often scrutinized much more than men. Especially women in high stature who are still quite the minority. A slip of tongue or misstep can ruin the credibility of some. And despite the Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann jokes, these are still very strong, fearless women. They are not just token female representatives. Regardless their ideology or track record; as a woman, I still admire them.

The more women shake up the political and corporate scene, the more doors they open. Interestingly, women are adapting to the changes just as men are. While some women may sacrifice home life for career pursuits, there are still committed stay-at-home moms who work just as hard. In the end, all women are different. They are not a one-note, but varied in motivations, interests and priorities. Somehow, the most successful women find balance without feeling one is undermining the other and that maybe their strongest asset.

However, as much as we like to praise the notion of the modern woman, statistics don’t reflect much of an equality between sexes. Equal pay is still yet to be realized. In the US Congress, women only occupy about 15% of seats. Among the Fortune 500 companies, there are about 14 female CEOs. In the science and engineering world, women are making strides as well but making few headlines on the news. Women abroad seem to be holding higher seats of power, such as Angela Merkel, German Chancellor of Germany. As much as we like to pride ourselves in opportunity in the US, we could probably do better. I speak for myself as well and maybe other women too. Is there a tendency for women to short change or second guess themselves? Women may lack in some areas just as men do, but new studies are showing women bring crucial skillsets to the workplace. In our workforce, talent is valuable and irreplaceable. We need talented people, man or woman, and we need to encourage them and support them. Especially women.