I'm Great, Just Look What I've Done
October 16, 2011
"I can do it for other people, but not for me."
If I had a dollar for every time a woman said that to me, I'd...have enough to go on a nice vacation. A very nice vacation (and pay the pet sitters nicely, too!)
Women are notorious for being too shy or scared to toot their own horn. Even I have trouble reminding the world how great I am. But, I am great. I was the FIRST voice online showing that women were a force to be reckoned with - that the purse has power. I have been tapped into dozens of times for my expertise on marketing to women, blogging, social media, and business in the 21st century. I partnered with two other powerful people (one of them a grand woman in the pet world, Caroline Golon) and started a venture a lot of people thought was foolhardy (BlogPaws), and I took my entire world - business, home, pets, and all - cross-country to move from NY to CO, with Tom, my 'better' half. (PLUS... I raised three fantastic kids that make me happy and proud every single day!)
I bet you rock, too. I bet you have a lot of accomplishments you're either not sharing or are burying in tiny text, on your blog or resume. At Forbes Woman ,writer Ilene H. Lang (president and CEO of Catalyst, the leading non-profit engaged in building inclusive workplaces and advancing women and business), has an article in which she says, "...women who toot their own horn do get ahead - and are happier at work too."
The idea is that we don't ask. And, truthfully, though Lang shows otherwise, I'm here to say, often we don't ask. We don't say. We mumble our accolades rather than shout them from the rooftop. Women just don't want to look "pushy" or "bitchy" by showing off. That's the key - showing off isn't what it's about. Sharing your expertise and accomplishments is what it's about. Why is admitting and showcasing what you've done considered 'showing off' when women do it, but not when men do it?
Lang's company, Catalyst, offers a white paper titled, "The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does D oing All The Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?" where they report,
- Men benefited more from adopting proactive strategies.
- When women did all the things they have been told will help them get ahead—using the same tactics as men—they still advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth.
Lang blames the "business environment." I have to agree with her, here. The business world still favors the male gender. Case in point, my BFF Toby Bloomberg from All the Single Girl Friends and Diva Marketing, shared this with me... A Social Marketing Roadmap... What's missing? Though there are many, many qualified women who should be on the roadmap (Toby is one), whoever put this roadmap together either didn't bother to search out women, or - which is more likely - didn't care to include women.
This is NOT for lack of women promoting themselves as social media experts. In social media, women are vocal and present - just read this 2011 article by Diana Adams writing at Bitrebels. Rather, the lack of women on charts like this are because men dominate the landscape of social media by virtue of the attention the business world gives them, over women. I like Adams' inclusion of a quote from a Bloomberg Businessweek article that says, "While both sexes will continue to use social networking sites in huge numbers, women will be the ones holding down the fort."
Back to Lang who writes, "Entrenched sexism dominates, especially in talent management systems. Women are held to different standards than men: women must prove themselves multiple times to get ahead while men are promoted on promise."
Her concluding statement says it all, "The issue isn't that women don't ask. Maybe it's that men don't have to."
Hmmm... true or false? I submit that women still don't ask - for the most part. Younger women are stronger and smarter and less shy about it, but even they learn early on that speaking up labels them. Either they are comfortable with the "B" label or they are not. Comfortable women will excel - and be compared to women such as Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada (successful but cold, cruel and out of touch with her staff). Women not comfortable with that assessment will... shrivel up and pasue at their retirement to wonder why they never advanced.
In a world still dominated by one gender - in a world that showers accolades on women politicians as long as they look nice and wear make-up - in a world that embraces women executives as long as there aren't too many of them - women need to stand up and be counted. Just be proud. Don't try to dominate - I'm not saying women need to take over the world. Don't try to force the issue - I'm not saying women need to gather and picket to be heard - what I am saying is, show the world what you're made of.
Go on...start here. Tell us why you're fantastic. We know you are!
One of my favorite posts, Yvonne! YOu make an excellent point here. We need to acknowledge our greatness -- and encourage others to do the same! Power to the purse! :)
Posted by: Zsa Zsa | October 20, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Yvonne - Thanks aside for your kind comments, this is an important post. It's also a bit sad and frustrating post; after the launch of BlogHer in 2005, we are still asking, "Where are the women bloggers (or) women in social media?
Posted by: Toby Bloomberg | October 19, 2011 at 11:04 PM