It concerns me that, in the corporate workplace, women and men conform to the masculine model. If we all do that, first, we lose ourselves and become less authentic. Equally important, we perpetuate and ratchet up the imbalance we have in terms of masculine and feminine in the world of work (and the world generally). I don’t want women to become “men” in order to succeed. And I don’t want men becoming more masculine in order to fit in and feel respected. I want men and women to discover the strengths of feminine as well as masculine ways of working and leading.
The topic of gender diversity has lots of facets – many sub-topics and applications. I am willing to put in the work to design many different workshops and speeches. All forward my mission – to help create a world where both masculine and feminine strengths are valued and leveraged – and my vision – a world where gender diversity is the norm and organizations thrive as men and women succeed and lead together.
On a panel of authors, each of us spoke about the passion that drove us to write, the process of writing and the publishing process. The passion that drove me to write was that I wanted to change the shape of corporate America (more women at the top); to help men and women see why the needle has moved so slowly in getting more women to the top – and what it will take to achieve true gender diversity; and to make the path easier for women. Writing it was easy and fun. Publishing it was scary and hard at times. I birthed the book. It has made a difference. Should I birth more?
Do women do more “helping” tasks (vs “working”) in your office? Yes, say Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. They get no credit from it at performance review time but are penalized in evaluations if they decline to “help.” “Helping (which includes planning events, helping a co-worker, taking notes in meetings, and getting coffee for others) costs energy and opportunities. Sandberg and Grant say men need to “acknowledge” this problem and then speak up. I agree that raising awareness is the starting point and hope their articles are raising awareness.
I am quoted and used as an example in Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive – to make the point that women often get off the corporate ladder for reasons other than raising children. Women sometimes do not feel valued in a culture that models and more highly values masculine attributes. That can reduce engagement and enjoyment. Huffington’s mission is to change the workplace for women and men, to make it healthier and more sustainable. Women are perhaps the “canaries in the coal mine,” the first to signal that the workplace is toxic and must change.