Husband, father….but not wife, mother.

imagesOne of the founders I work with pointed out something to me about peoples Linkedin and Twitter profiles.  What men put on their profiles vs what women put on their profiles are quite different.

I have seen many men put on their profiles husband and father as the first thing on their “bio” about themselves.  Years ago men would have never done that because what was most important was their title and the family was something only known in personal circles.  No doubt that has changed with more educated women pursuing and achieving the same titles and jobs expecting equality of family responsibility from their partners….thank god.  Men of this generation are applauding themselves on being fathers and husbands first and foremost to everyone in the public eye.  It is acknowledged in business as a good thing.  What a good guy, he puts he is a father on his profile.

Women on the other hand rarely put mother and wife on their profiles.  They need to show that this part of their life is personal and does not define who they are in their business life.  Women in corporate America still have to keep their kids under wraps where men are applauded for going to their kids soccer game.  Successful women in business want to be their business face out there first for fear that if they don’t they will be dismissed as a capable player.  I have never heard of a man pitching a VC being asked when they plan on having kids yet I have heard that from women countless times.

Kind of fascinating.  Women feel the need to put their business foot forward and their family foot backward where men feel the need to put their family foot forward and their business foot backward. Is this an evolution for men to show they are keeping up their part at home and women showing that they work hard too regardless of the family at home?

Just an observation….

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jenna Abdou

    This is great, Joanne! Definitely notice this often. Thanks for the post.

  2. awaldstein

    The times are a changing and stuff like this is the good stuff.

    1. pointsnfigures

      You know, I might agree and disagree with you. It should not be a sign of weakness for females to put Mother in their profile if men put Father….I haven’t checked, but in my anecdotal memory, I can recall really secure women that have made it putting “mom” or “mother” in their description of themselves. Up and comers have not.We agree times are a changing and it’s good stuff!

      1. awaldstein

        I’ve never hired nor not hired anyone for being or not being a parent.It comes out in the interview but I really don’t see it in the resume.

        1. lisa hickey

          I agree that on an individual level, I would never assume that being a parent is a plus or a minus. That said, the operative word is “assume”. In my case, raising 4 children, getting them all through college, working full time, being a twice-CEO and heading up a venture-funded start-up—-that all required huge amounts of logistical, management and financial planning efforts. I think it has made me smarter, more resilient and a better leader. But it would never be the interviewer’s job to guess that—it is my job to connect the dots for them and explain my belief that someone who can start with a framework where they believe they can solve any problem as long as it doesn’t defy the laws of physics is a huge asset to any company.Let me give a specific, grounded example. My youngest daughter wanted to spend the second semester of her Junior year studying abroad in South Africa. I told her that we didn’t have the money to pay for her travel, board or any extra expenses beyond what we had already budgeted for school. But assuming she could figure out the financial aspect of it she could go. She went out and within 3 weeks had gotten almost $10,000 in a additional grants and scholarships that more than paid for her plane fare and any additional expenses. She had to write letters, essays, make calls, get me to release our family financials in a timely manner, as well as get the VISA, health clearance, etc. I helped oversee the process, gave her feedback and encouragement (the “caregiving, emotional part”!)—but she did all the work. She is in South Africa right now. That ability to say to someone—“we can’t afford to do this right now but if you can raise $10,000 we can absolutely do it” is, of course, a positive business skill. And I think the ability to understand that that skill can be extrapolated in numerous situations is a huge asset.And I think both men and women could benefit from that way of thinking. That the ability to solve problems across a wide variety of disciplines is helpful in succeeding no matter what you want to accomplish.

          1. awaldstein

            Thanks for the very thoughtful share!I agree that being a parent is part of who we are and informs us as it should.But to me, we define and market ourselves in layers and especially today, in many layers that become appropriate as things go deeper or we get to know people better.For example, I raised a teenage kid by myself. I also am a fanatical animal rights advocate. Also deep into natural wine as a way to protect the world’s environment.These pieces come out as they do but I don’t want any of them to be my headlight, just layered pieces of my interest fingerprint.Make sense?

          2. lisa hickey

            It does! That is what is so cool—I’ve known you from the ‘blog commenting scene’ for what seems like years now—but I’ve never know that about you raising a teen on your own or that you were a fanatical animal rights advocate. I think I knew something about your interest in wine but not as tied to environmentalism. And while I’m not sure what I would have done with that information had I known it earlier, I’m actually really glad to know it now. Thanks for sharing that about yourself!

          3. awaldstein

            I’m going to consider add some of this to my blog and linked in.Thanks!Link me to your online presence please.

  3. meredithcollinz

    I hadn’t realized it, but so true. Hopefully, men being able to do it is the first step in the evolution of “our” thinking on having a job and a family at the same time.

  4. Lauren Moores

    I have noticed that from my male colleagues and wonder if I should include that I am a mother on my profile as I do not explicitly indicate that I have children. My unconscious thought on it is that it may change the conversation in a way that I did not want.

    1. Gotham Gal

      exactly. you don’t want it to change the conversation but for some reason men now feel comfortable doing so or feel that they should.

  5. Amy Gross

    In listing both my professional endeavor (VineSleuth/ Wine4.Me) and then my personal blog ( front and center in my bios, I hope it makes my role as a wife and mom pretty clear. Those are important to me, too, and I don’t want anyone to miss that. If a company or individual is not comfortable with all I am, then, quite frankly, I don’t want to work with them, either.

  6. Rohan

    There is a nice bit of research that brings all this in terms of warmth and competence. A lot of the unconscious bias stems from the fact that men are given more leeway on the competence sphere. In that sense, it is in their interest to show “warmth.”Women, on the other hand, struggle with the opposite. So, the behavior makes sense.Of course, what would be nice to change our unconscious biases that lead to the results in the first place.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it would be nice if we could change those biases

  7. lisa hickey

    This is an awesome, very specific example of societal change—the type I like best! I have always said “Women will never break the glass ceiling until men take paternity leave.” Which is an oversimplified look at the dynamic, but it is important to understand. Men have long had the societal pressure to be a financial success, be the breadwinner, be a man! And as women have moved into the workplace, taking over some of the child-caring responsibilities in the family seems like a natural shift.Except it hasn’t been. I hear stories all the time of men bringing their kids to the playground and being asked if they are “babysitting”. Or people seeing them out with a stroller and automatically assuming they lost their job. The stereotypes run deep. People very unconsciously make men feel like “less of a man” if they are not out there bringing home the bacon.So men leading with the fact that they are fathers and husbands on social media is a WONDERFUL thing. It says to the men who are still insecure about this “Look, it’s OK. You can be a successful business person and an engaged father.”And that paves the way for the change you want to see here Joanne: “I have never heard of a man pitching a VC being asked when they plan on having kids yet I have heard that from women countless times.”We need to support people who want juggle business and life and understand that all those experiences can be valuable. We want to make the responsibility of kids and the responsibility of being financially secure just a human thing, not a man or a women thing. And this is one way to start.

    1. Gotham Gal

      totally agree with you…it is a step in the right direction.

  8. pointsnfigures

    interesting observation. wonder if for that generation it is a sign of stability? in my generation it was just assumed. Certain jobs you definitely wanted to be married with kids. (Consultant, Big 8 Accounting)

  9. panterosa,

    Well, women’s unpaid work, highlighted in this NYT piece, shows part of the underbelly of how women need to squish down their other responsibilities so they won’t show in the professional sphere. Dad’s a hero for going to soccer game, mom’s having to go is a liability for her career.…®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    1. Gotham Gal

      Saw that.

  10. Laurel Watts

    I’m a former Wall Street lawyer and newly minted entrepreneur. On LinkedIn, I have listed my 13 years experience as Chief Executive Officer and Bottlewasher, My Family. Too cute? Maybe. But then I met a woman funder the other day, exchanged cards, and was tickled to find that SHE also had listed her 9 years as Chief Executive Officer, My House on her LinkedIn. A trend?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Maybe a trend