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Successful Women

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was reading the thread about Hilary Clinton (well, some of it. Politics bore me ) and the topic of women, power and success came up, prompting many questions in my mind.

What does it take for a woman to be successful? Can she be successful with typically "feminine" characteristics? Or will her success be limited within the traditional female sphere? Will she be considered equal to a man only if she becomes aggressive and takes on more typically masculine characteristics? Can she be "nice" (ie. avoid the b*tch stereotype) and successful at the same time?
post #2 of 19
I was talking abot salary with a family member last night and she said she wished more men would enter her field, because it is dominated by women and so they make less money. Under the same umbrella/dept in the same organization, the other fields are all dominated by men, and they all make more than this field, and there really isn't any other variable to explain for, they're used the same amount, do very similar work, etc.

Women seem to feel like they have to be superhuman just to compete. I don't know, all my friends who have become business people the women are all total alpha personalities but the men aren't.

A lot of the time, it seems like women who do act feminine are discounted, like, oh you know what she must have done to get here. I think a lot of the things that are actually pretty helpful to business and other fields do come more naturally to women like networking and social skills.

But what I really hate is the idea that is women do act more like men professionally, they get perceived negatively while a man is just doing his job.

But for the most part I think people, especially younger people, just see other people and it isn't divided up unless the issue comes up for some reason. Who really cares? I haven't heard someone make a real argument for why women make less money than men in a long time, whereas you used to get that crap about how men are the heads of households so they should make more money. As though companies really care whether somebody can support their family on one income or not! Ha! Nobody can.

Hilary Clinton, I just plain old don't like. Nothing to do with sex.
post #3 of 19
Really its all your definition of success. If you're speaking in terms of Hilary Clinton and female CEOs, then IMO there is a dividing line. I know personally that I can't do my job as effectively if I have to worry about what to make for dinner that night or if I'm wearing 2 black socks instead of one black and one brown.

I actually do go nuts when I have to worry about my hair and my appearance. It's not something that was ingrained into me...intelligence is. So I guess I see success as a dividing line. Women are either the money makers of the family and worry about work or their husbands bring in the dough and they do the household chores (along with whatever job they want too.)
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
Really its all your definition of success.
I suppose, for this discussion, I'm referring to "success" as reaching the top in their chosen career (like a president, CEO, etc.), particularly when that career is generally perceived to be masculine/male dominated.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pekoe & Nigel View Post
I suppose, for this discussion, I'm referring to "success" as reaching the top in their chosen career (like a president, CEO, etc.), particularly when that career is generally perceived to be masculine/male dominated.
OK I figured that, but just wanted to clarify

Too add to mine too, I have read many articles in magazines such as Wired and MSN where female CEOs (or C*Os) had to leave their jobs if they wanted to have children. They realised that they can't be both a mom and a C*O.

(By C*O the * refers to insert anything, i.e. Financial, Security, Operating, etc)
post #6 of 19
I think that many women have to choose what they want - career or family. If they want a career that is a high power position they often have to give up some of their personal life. Hopefully one day that won't be the case. I know that more and more situations happen where the man will stay home with the kids and the wife be the career peerson in the family.
post #7 of 19
One thing I find aggravating is that women often aren't taken seriously, regardless of how professional they are. For example: Belinda Stronach, a former Canadian politician and CEO of Magna. She happens to be an attractive woman, and consequently, she was portrayed in the media as being something of a ditz -- the media nicknamed her "Magna Spice," as if she was one of the Spice Girls rather than a politician and businesswoman. The media was also more interested in her personal life -- her relationship with former fellow party member Peter MacKay and the possiblity of an entanglement with Toronto Maple Leaf Tie Domi -- than in her political views. Whether or not she was actually a professional, intelligent woman never really entered into the picture, as far as the media (and the public) was concerned.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirinae View Post
One thing I find aggravating is that women often aren't taken seriously, regardless of how professional they are. For example: Belinda Stronach, a former Canadian politician and CEO of Magna. She happens to be an attractive woman, and consequently, she was portrayed in the media as being something of a ditz -- the media nicknamed her "Magna Spice," as if she was one of the Spice Girls rather than a politician and businesswoman. The media was also more interested in her personal life -- her relationship with former fellow party member Peter MacKay and the possiblity of an entanglement with Toronto Maple Leaf Tie Domi -- than in her political views. Whether or not she was actually a professional, intelligent woman never really entered into the picture, as far as the media (and the public) was concerned.
I agree. I don't remember what if anything the media mentioned about her political views. When she changed political parties by suprise the news focused more on her relationship with a former party member and not the reasons why she felt she had to change political parties. To have made it as far as she had in the business world (even if her daddy did own the company) says alot for her brains. Why she wanted to enter politics - who knows. She has had enough and has gone back to her multi million dollar job.
post #9 of 19
Hmmm...I think this answers some questions. Women look at opportunities from the point of view of personal time. This article/blog says that men just look at money.

http://www.iwf.org/media/media_detail.asp?ArticleID=991
post #10 of 19
I'm a business owner (the top of my business, certainly not the top of my field!) and I find that's a question I have to face daily. I'm young, female and worse attractive. There are people who don't take me seriously. Ironically, this tends to come more from other women than from men, especially within my staff. My business has a sterling reputation because we do an excellent job so I find that clients tend to treat me quite well and seem to be indifferent my gender. While I can be quite aggressive if I choose to be I don't like to treat staff that way. I simply expect them to do what I've hired them to do. I save my aggression for the times I need stamina to get through a problem or enact a new policy, etc. I've no idea how that will play out for the success of the business or myself in th long run but it's how I prefer to do things.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
Hmmm...I think this answers some questions. Women look at opportunities from the point of view of personal time. This article/blog says that men just look at money.

http://www.iwf.org/media/media_detail.asp?ArticleID=991
That was an interesting read, thanks!

And I have one emoticon for Linda Hirshman, and that is

I mean, I'm as much a feminist as some of these people are. But have they thought about what they're saying? Have they been in the center of a family that "outsources" childcare? I used to work as a nanny and I'll tell ya, I'll never hand my kids off to a paid employee. Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I think that if a woman or couple decides to have children, someone or both of them will have to rearrange their career to be there to take care of their kids. Why even have kids if you don't want to raise them?

And it's an interesting point about personal time in general...when I was working out my schedule, I put a cap on the # of students and administrative hours in order to have time ot myself. I HATE running around and working 14 hour days and feeling like I'm either in work, in class, doing chores or sleeping. It's dramatic, but I always think to myself "if I found out I had a year or a week to live, would I be doing this?" and approach my days wanting to very much ENJOY at least some part of it. Of course putting food on the table and having some cash to save and some cash to have fun with iis necessary, but to become rich? At what cost?

I'll be the first to tell ya that I'm not going to break through the glass ceiling and Ian would be the first to tell you he's never going to be the boss. But we want to have a family and we want to have a relationship, and these are the things we need to be willing to sacrifice. I think my visions of partial-housewifery ARE feminist and make me successful because they're part of my very carefully laid out plan for what I want my life to be. Who cares if Joe Bag of Donuts down the hall thinks I'm successful?
post #12 of 19
There's a book out there called "Women don't Ask" ...it's VERY informative/interesting....would definitely bring some fun conversation to this topic
post #13 of 19
so question, here are are the measuring stick to say what is successful.
How there may be still be blocks for women, FRom where i sit, they dont seem to many.

Do you judge her to be successful if she is rich and ceo? to judge her a success if she is married, and stay at home mom with great kids.

maybe you it better to look at it as reach person has to judge what makes them a success. There will always be people who think the system is blocking them from what ever reason from being the CEO , be it there look, there race, there sex, ETc, there are not that many CEO in the world, its like saying a guy is not a success unless he is a CEO or plays pro football.

If people think that only judge of being a success is what socity tells them, then no matter what they failed already,.
post #14 of 19
I think it depends on where you work though Bruce. For example I work in a small company and the women here are the minority. I'm told by the (male) managers to give the female employees the recycled computers and the male employees get the brand new ones.

Also it doesn't help on my end whereas I'm 29, female, and take care of my appearances. So often times when someone is using their laptop for porn and they get a bug they'll go to another male in the office to fix the pornographic stuff because they don't want me to see it.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
so question, here are are the measuring stick to say what is successful.
How there may be still be blocks for women, FRom where i sit, they dont seem to many.

Do you judge her to be successful if she is rich and ceo? to judge her a success if she is married, and stay at home mom with great kids.

maybe you it better to look at it as reach person has to judge what makes them a success. There will always be people who think the system is blocking them from what ever reason from being the CEO , be it there look, there race, there sex, ETc, there are not that many CEO in the world, its like saying a guy is not a success unless he is a CEO or plays pro football.

If people think that only judge of being a success is what socity tells them, then no matter what they failed already,.
Bruce, I agree with you here. I feel that I'm successful even though I have no desire to become a CEO. Really, success is defined by the person who is tiring to achieve something. IMO it's the method they use to achieve their success that defines them. Let me give you an example. At my previous job I met more back stabbing, throw you under the bus, talk about you to a manager because it will get them a leg up women. It was nasty. Now, I think it's because they saw men doing this that made it okay.

The company I work for now is slightly different, but you can still see that going on. I simply refuse to play the game. If it means that it takes me five years longer to get what I want then fine. The only difference is that I'll have done it my way.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Bruce, I agree with you here. I feel that I'm successful even though I have no desire to become a CEO. Really, success is defined by the person who is tiring to achieve something. IMO it's the method they use to achieve their success that defines them. Let me give you an example. At my previous job I met more back stabbing, throw you under the bus, talk about you to a manager because it will get them a leg up women. It was nasty. Now, I think it's because they saw men doing this that made it okay.

The company I work for now is slightly different, but you can still see that going on. I simply refuse to play the game. If it means that it takes me five years longer to get what I want then fine. The only difference is that I'll have done it my way.
Bruce and Heather I agree with you! If a woman's dream is to be a stay at home mom and she accomplishes that, then she is just as successful as someone who accomplishes their dream to become a lawyer, or whatever. IMO.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
Bruce, I agree with you here. I feel that I'm successful even though I have no desire to become a CEO. Really, success is defined by the person who is tiring to achieve something. IMO it's the method they use to achieve their success that defines them. Let me give you an example. At my previous job I met more back stabbing, throw you under the bus, talk about you to a manager because it will get them a leg up women. It was nasty. Now, I think it's because they saw men doing this that made it okay.

The company I work for now is slightly different, but you can still see that going on. I simply refuse to play the game. If it means that it takes me five years longer to get what I want then fine. The only difference is that I'll have done it my way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82 View Post
Bruce and Heather I agree with you! If a woman's dream is to be a stay at home mom and she accomplishes that, then she is just as successful as someone who accomplishes their dream to become a lawyer, or whatever. IMO.

I do agree with the question of definition for success...which is what I asked originally in my first reply. The OP clarfied that they were speaking more in the terms of CEOs, women that choose careers and become the breadmaker of the family.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
I do agree with the question of definition for success...which is what I asked originally in my first reply. The OP clarfied that they were speaking more in the terms of CEOs, women that choose careers and become the breadmaker of the family.
I think it's harder for women to become successful in that definition than it is for men because women have more obstacles to face. However it's certainly possible for them to achieve it.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oops, I think I might have mislead some of you into thinking something I definitely didn't mean to say.

I belive success is totally relative- and that as long as you're happy with your life you're completely successful. Basically all I really want out of my life is to be married, have children and care for them, and I believe that I'll be successful if I achieve this.

Why I started this thread, was to try and determine what it takes for a woman to be considered successful (by the rest of the world) if she chooses to embark in a traditionally "male oriented" career. I ask this because I was reading the thread about Hillary Clinton and how so many people seem to have such negative reactions towards her. Some of this appears to me because she's a woman who has expressed more "masculine" characteristics than "feminine". Perhaps this is actually the type of person she is, or perhaps she has had to augment her personality and adopt more "masculine" characteristics to achieve the things she has.

Do you think that it's necessary for a woman to express more typically masculine characteristics in order to achieve success in the business world? Can she do this in a way that doesn't make people judge her negatively?
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