Women can we please stay in the public eye?

imgres-1If you take a real look under the covers of history, women perhaps more so than men, were an intrical part of every field from the arts to science.  Maybe women have taken a back seat to their husbands or they just didn’t care about their mark in history.  Whatever the reason this has to change.

The success of NASA had to do with more than a handful of black women engineers.  How come it took until now for me to learn about that?  Did you know that Gymboree, a publicly traded company known by name to families across the country that did over $1 billion in revenue last year was founded by a woman?  I did not know that until Maxine Clark told me about her friend Joan Barnes who founded Gymboree.  Oh, Maxine Clark founded Build-A-Bear.

I read the obituary on Margrit Mondavi who died recently at 91.  We think of Robert Mondavi, her husband, as the wine pioneer that invented the California wine business.  Margrit founded the winery’s summer musical festival, introduced cooking classes to the vineyard and was a major factor in the success of Mondavi.  Who knew?  Nobody every said Robert and Margrit Mondavi.

Ada Lovelace was the first Computer programmer.  Many of Zelda Fitzgeralds stories were published under her husbands name.  There are many many other women who we should know about that made their mark in history.

When we look back at eras around any vertical for whatever reason we read about the men.  The men artists of a particular time, the men directors of a particular time, the men who build companies of a particular time, the men who were the top sports figures of a particular time, the men of medicine, the men of everything.

My request is simple.  Can all of the women who are making their mark in history from sports to art to start-ups to science to whatever, stay in the public eye.  Make sure that your impact is felt in the history books.  That when people write about a time, a genre that your name is mentioned.  We can only do that by working just as hard as we did to achieve our goals to work just as hard to get into the history books.  Enough of the men owning those history books.

How can young girls break that glass ceiling time and time again when there aren’t enough women for them to point to and say “yes, I can be anything I want to be because that woman did it, so I can do it too”.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Susan Rubinsky

    Did you see this article the other day?Women in PowerWhite House women want to be in the room where it happenshttps://www.washingtonpost….

    1. Gotham Gal

      did not.thank for sending.

  2. Susan Rubinsky

    Wouldn’t it be fun to create a history book of Women in Business? I always think of Veuve Clicquot as the first modern business woman. Her success was made possible by the early death of her husband. Because of her widow status she was able to do things most women were not allowed to do. She changed the champagne industry through innovation and marketing prowess. And her name is on the label!The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It https://www.amazon.com/Wido

    1. Gotham Gal

      It would be amazing…and then have all the schools across the country adopt it into the curriculum.

      1. Jeremy Robinson

        Love this idea of the history book. Love your advocacy here, Joanne! I was raised by a in a single parent family with a working Mom who was the first female Director of an Advertising Agency. Boy did I hear stories growing up…..

        1. Gotham Gal

          First female director that’s impressive. What agency?

  3. lisa hickey

    I was so happy for this post today. I am visiting my daughter. We both are entrepreneurs. We both helped to found venture-backed start-ups—hers in the fashion industry, mine in media. She launched a new product line yesterday. We are spending time together in between her media appearances—photo shoot with the Boston Globe, interview with a business pub, the launch party—and my own Editorial schedule, that same day I had one employee quit and hired a replacement the same day. I also taught an online class about creating Social Change—-how to combat things like racism, sexism, homophobia, education reform, environmental change on both an individual and societal level.All business as usual, right, and barely interesting? Except that 2 weeks ago my daughter gave birth to a baby boy. I’m visiting her for a month so I can help with all that goes into caring for an infant. We doing it together. Everything—feedings and the baths and the ‘tummy time’ and the songs—while taking shifts to do the conference calls, interviews, management. Someone said to me the other day, “Well you always knew how to juggle chainsaws.”But it is more than that. This is such an extraordinary time in my live. I feel so enormously grateful to be able to do this. Yes, all of it—-and all of the effort to get to this moment in time which feels so joyous and momentous and alive. Yes to being a part of this time in history to help make it happen. I want to live in a time where this is normal. It seems so normal to me. It is wonderful to be able to do it.The time we live in is there for the taking. It is there for the creating. Never before have there been this many opportunities to create exactly the kind of life you want. I love being an entrepreneur, figuring out how to create social change, and having a life that can be filled with love and family as well. Being a woman is one small piece of that. It helps define me but I simply don’t allow it to limit me.I don’t even see any of this as hard. It’s simply stuff I have to figure out to live the kind of life I want to live.But after reading your post, I added to my to-do list: Be more public. Stay in the public eye. That is now on my to-do list.So important. Yes. Just another thing to figure out.

  4. LE

    Part of this is fixable. That is getting attention, notice and recognition. Notwithstanding the examples that you gave of course, PR plays a big role in the people that we read about as well as those that we don’t. Sometimes the story is inherently interesting enough that the press will hunt it down and report but mostly that’s not the case. There is typically a PR firm involved feeding stories to reporters. Steve Jobs had Regis McKenna “his PR flack”.And even when there are not PR firms (such as Donald Trump who was famous for calling the press himself or ‘engineering’ same) there is an entrepreneur who fills the same role. PR is vital for getting the word out. I speak as someone who has actually done this type of thing.

    1. lisa hickey

      Agree! Getting the word out, keeping in the public eye is a job. Either yours or someone else’s but it should be treated as one. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Anne Libby

    A few years back, I asked a friend/mentor who’s a (now retired) bschool professor why so few of the female professors were active on social media, or putting their work out in popular form. She said, because they think it’s silly, it’s not serious.At some point, I read Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s *Executive Presence.* She tells the story of how she had to rebuild her reputation because her first book received publicity in the wrong venues — too popular and practical, lowbrow and not academic enough. She lost her “gravitas.”I can definitely think of male academics whose work appears in popular venues without a hit to their gravitas. In fact, it seems to spread the word about their work…and adds to their wallets, at a minimum, through speaking and consulting gigs.#complicated

  6. pointsnfigures

    I substituted at a class on entrepreneurship in Champaign at the Univ of Illinois. The class was basically split between males and females. Interestingly, when it came to participation. Males were more outspoken than females. But, when females spoke, they made some great points.I unconsciously accentuated the females points not because they were female, but because I thought they brought out further points of discussion.I am not a professional teacher. I reflected back on my performance and wondered if I could have been better at drawing the females in the class out more.