We Did It? Part 2

The venerable Economist recently usurped the "We can do it" message of Rosie the Riveter to imply that women have somehow "done it" because we are reported to be over 50% of the workforce. Oh, please! Contrary to its misleading cover, the "Leaders" page accurately reports:
"...women are still under-represented at the top of companies. Only 2% of the bosses of America's largest companies and 5% of their peers in Britain are women. They are also paid significantly less than men on average."
In its Shumpeter editorial entitled Womenomics, the author misses the mark in many ways:
"The first generation of successful women insisted on being judged by the same standards as men...and instead insisted on getting ahead by dint of working harder and thinking smarter."
Okay, the contradiction is absolutely clear. That generation wasn't judged by the same standards, but by harsher standards.

"The new feminism contends that women are wired differently from men...What is more, the argument runs, these supposedly womanly qualities [consensus-seeking, collaborative, group-oriented] are becoming ever more valuable in business"
This is not the new feminism, it's neuroscience finding fundamental structural differences in men's and women's brains. This is not the new feminism, it's study after study (very few conducted by women) comparing the perceptions of women and men managers.

I do agree with the editorial on one point. Resting on laurels of interpersonal skills will not get women to the top - nor have us succeed along the way. For that we also need hard-nosed business acumen.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls. She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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