Video interview with 15-year-old blogger and creator of Rookie magazine. She’s a little rock star.
I got this book for my sister for Christmas. Kate Engelbrecht sent out thousands of cameras and questionnaires to teenage girls all over the U.S. The book is a collection of the photographs and questionnaire responses.
Teen readers will be rewarded with a wonderful set of sincere, deep messages and the reassurance that they are not alone.
Hannah Gage, UNC Class of 1975, tells some of her story for our Alumni magazine. I’m impressed by Hannah as a woman from a small town in the South working it as an entrepreneur. I love her take on the advantage of being a relative outsider on Boards.
“In some respects, because women have not made up the majority, they have not been part of the team, so they are less inclined to feel the pressure of groupthink,” she said. “Groupthink is when a bad idea grows legs. My experience on boards is that, very often it’s the women who step out and say what everybody else was thinking, but not saying.”
I’ve had many conversations with level-headed men and women friends about feminism, women in business, women in politics, gender equality, and this blog which have ended in this place:
“But women are emotional. They shouldn’t have to repress their emotions and feelings and their nature is just better suited to the home. And maybe teaching, maybe nursing. It’s not that women are inferior, they’re just different and they shouldn’t be forced to behave like men.”
I actually agree with a lot of this. I agree that men and women usually have a lot of differences. I agree that most women experience and embrace more emotions than most men, and I think we handle and express them better more often. I also agree that we should not have to “behave like men” (which I understand to mean being sort of the opposite of emotional).
What I don’t agree with, is the conclusion that because women are more emotional, they cannot be business leaders or politicians alongside men. Women and men have different strengths. The idea that being emotional is bad for business is so entrenched in our culture that we can easily fail to see that being emotional can also be great for business.
I always start with the example of Sheryl Sandberg when I rebut these level-headed friends, because she’s awesome and her career makes the argument well. Sheryl is the COO of Facebook now, was a VP at Google before that, and was chief of staff at the Department of the Treasury before that. She speaks often and well about women in business (TED talk here) and walks the walk.
I think Sheryl is successful not because she subverts her emotional side, but because she uses it. Can you imagine that a woman’s social nature and intuition could benefit a company like Facebook which is based on connecting people? Can you see how female passion and creativity could be good for Google which succeeds because of innovation and pushing boundaries? As chief of staff I’ve got to believe that social skills and the ability to read and listen to people helps to manage a group of people in a demanding organization like the Treasury. The “soft” and “emotional” nature of women that gets such a bad rap in business is a strength when used as one.
I know you’ve all had a female supervisor that you call a bitch and think is a poor leader because of her mood swings. Heard it, been there. That’s not the only way to play this out, though. Try thinking about the differences between men and women in this more positive light instead. Male leadership and directness and logical nature ain’t always exactly what is good for business either, right? Oh, you’ve also had a male boss who lost a client because he didn’t properly see and meet their needs? It’s just not so simple.
The linked article here discusses Obama’s impending nomination of Tara Sonenshine for the position of secretary of state for public diplomacy. Beyond her twenty-something years of experience in media and foreign relations, I think it’s possible that Tara may also helpfully bring some of her lady skills to a job focused on diplomacy. Women are excellent listeners. We are sympathetic and empathetic and we seek and create solutions.
Another official told The Cable today that Sonenshine “understands that the key to public diplomacy is revitalizing the morale of the people who serve in it, and she understands that public diplomacy practitioners have talents and need to be empowered to do things they are not empowered to do now.”
The job, right now, also looks like it could use someone who is motivational and encouraging and creative with human resources. A socially-minded woman can be great at changing the culture of an organization and shifting human capital to be most productive.
Get it, girl.
Ambition in women is not rewarded all the time, and in this documentary, it is celebrated.
A year and a half ago I started writing a book that comes out today.
I am so terrified, you guys. Not because I don’t think the book is great-– which it really is, I swear-– but because it is the first thing I’ve ever done creatively that is 100% me. There hasn’t been a more…