The title of this post refers to another great list of powerful women and how they manage their lives. But, seriously, I'd like a list of their Mothers, thank you. Or, their Fathers. Or, their kids.
Every year the business world creates these lists of the World's Most Powerful Women, and, while I appreciate the focus on women of accomplishment, I resent that the lists really just shuffle names around. Even when they add someone new, it's based on how much money the woman makes. As if money is the only way to demonstrate accomplishment. These are MY personal thoughts, of course. The actual process may be quite different.
I see a number of female celebrities on the list -
Angelina Jolie (noted as a humanitarian, which she is, but we know her mostly as an actress, don't we?) and Lady Gaga who is ahead of Oprah at # 11 (Oprah is # 14). Beyonce is also there, at #18, in the Celebrity/Lifestyle category, whatever that means.
Showcasing J.K. Rowling at #61 almost puts my "it's all in the money" expectation to bed. I mean, isn't she worth more than everyone on the list? Billions and billions, now? Oh well.
The list includes reporters, writers, corporate presidents or marketing professionals, even politicians. It's worth a look-see, but I never know what we're to make of it. Are we to applaud these women for their successes, in the face of adversity - something most women face more of, when climbing the power ladder? Are we to be inspired by them - because one of our gender "made it" to the top? Are we to show it to our daughters and say, "See, you can do this! All you need is guts and determination!"
Here's what I make of it: Forbes is in the business of showcasing the best professionals in the world, and they like categorizing them for their readers. It's a positive focus on women, absolutely. The women in the list are respresentative of the whole - women who often bucked the system and worked hard (with or without a family to care for) to become leaders in their industry. We should all be proud of them and their accomplishments.
However, somewhere along the way, we've lost sight of the collective women's movement. I think we're too focused on women of note. Not that women of note, like these women, don't deserve kudos. I would love to be a woman of note, someday. The underlying problem, in my brazen opinion, is that hundreds of thousands of women who toil at menial jobs, every day, should occasionally be noted, also. Women in factories, women who drive buses, women who elect to be stay-at-home Moms, women who answer the phones for the women on the list, and often sit at desks in rooms without windows, should be celebrated.
Women who are working to improve family and home in third world countries, with microloans; women who survive rape and the death of so many family members, but persevere despite the hardship; women who work tirelessly on behalf of our animal friends (and why is it that MOSTLY women do this?), because animals actually do make life better for us; and women who give birth to the women who will someday grow up to be on a Forbes' Most Powerful Women list - these are the women I would like to see celebrated in magazines across the world.
I would like to see Forbes and Fortune, which also puts out these kinds of lists, venture into new territory and show the power of all the women mentioned above - one and all. It's hard, yes. You cannot showcase all of them. But, you can, year after year, choose a new woman to feature - giving the world a better look at the power of women, everywhere.
Just a thought.