Would the outcome have been different if I was a man?
I have been giving this a lot of thought lately when it comes to boards and organizations where I have inserted myself. I think the word inserted myself couldn’t be more perfect. When I look back at how things have ended or not ended, I can’t help but wonder if the outcome would have been different if I was a man?
It isn’t that I didn’t ask a million questions. It isn’t that I wasn’t very specific about what my expectations were. It isn’t that I wasn’t clear. It was just that in the post, and I do not believe that any of the other people sitting around the table ignored me, but that if I was a man they would have gone one more step further. I am pretty sure that nobody believes that to be true but it is learned behavior that has been going on for years without much thought.
How does that change? That change needs to start so early on when kids are young where we break down the separation of gender norms. Where boys and girls are on an equal playing field. Not sure how well football teams bode on this level with cheerleaders on the sidelines. Not sure how fraternities and sororities remain. How do companies large and small create respectful cultures when onboarding anyone on to the team.
We are definitely going through a cultural shift in regards to feminism. I look at women my age who got off the train to raise their families and don’t want to go back full time but are also grappling with what to do and how to do it. Will this next generation of women entering the workforce find themselves at companies who understand that all of us need more flexibility in our lives? That family needs to come first so let’s create opportunities so people can still remain working while they are raising their families that makes sense when it comes to highly educated women who seem to be the ones who have left the train. Time will tell.
The difference that separates the women from the men is quite simple, only women can have babies. That isn’t changing. Women shouldn’t have to apologize for that. They shouldn’t have to step aside from running a company for that. They shouldn’t be treated differently for that.
Bottom line, is I hate to say this but I do believe in a few situations where I was ignored or didn’t get to achieve what I had expected that I do believe that if I was a man that I would have got what I wanted and that just kills me. I don’t want my daughters to ever feel that way and I am not sure how we get to that place.