I read a lot of statements about how women fare in the business world. Women represent only 20 of 100 United States Senators. Some laud this accomplishment, there were much fewer before. Women have only had the power to vote in this country for 90 years, some 55 years after formerly-enslaved men were given the right to vote. Women are no longer considered chattel nor are their property rights assumed by their husbands upon marriage. Women earn $76 for every $100 a man earns.
What do we, as women, have as our power, fame, and wealth goals? Well, first of all, 52% of the country are women, over 150 million people. Women, just as men, don't have to have coordinated goals. So, the issue becomes, to some, how are the women going to compete with the men.
I believe that some of the recent books on women in the workplace, such as "Lean In" by Scheryl Sandberg can be very helpful for those who want to be CEOs and corporate giants. However, I wonder how many women have that desire. Women should be paid at least as well as men, and should have the wherewithal to insist on it. If CEO is your goal, you must go for it.
However, there are many of us who do not seek this type of work. I am reading Susan Cain's "Quiet" which addresses the dilemmas of introverts in an extrovert-centric world. It's clear to me, among all people in business and work, there is no one size fits all.
The only thing I want to add is that in trial lawyer, I have noticed that some women are less bold and aggressive in pursuing trials as men. Women are traditionally not pushed to take risked on the scale of some male lawyers. If women want to go to trial, they must gear up and take those risks. But how a woman acts in trial can be entirely different than a man.
In life, we are all bettered if we identify who we are, what we believe in, how we want to accomplish our goals and then do it our way. I am a woman and very happy about evolving with two x chromosomes. I do not want to be a man. I do not want to act mannish. I want to understand myself, what I do and be a lawyer my way. I can cross-examine someone completely, without being rude. You don't have to be a bully to win. I fight bullies, I don't want to be one. I can act ways in which I am proud. I do not need to feel that I compromise my personal belief in treating others with respect in order to win for my clients.
I don't want to step on the corporate ladder. i don't want a job where others can criticize my performance. I want to be my own boss. I trust myself enough to take responsibility for my own actions and don't need some boss telling me what to do. Perhaps there are other women, and men, out there who have no desire to head a corporation, who don't want to climb the ladder, for whom the thought of campaigning for political office seems unpleasant and insincere. We can make our own way, without being judged by groupthink. Let all you male and female extroverted over-achievers out their grab the "power" and "fame," men and women alike. Now women who wants these roles need to get out there and work hard.
But for those of us who want to be society, there is more than one way to skin a cat (as a vegetarian, I hate that phrase). Perhaps what I mean is "All roads lead to Rome." Women need to do what feels comfortable. We need to be ourselves.
I am very proud of my law firm and my partners. We are three women and we try our cases. Trials are scary, but we do it anyway. I am proud of my partners. We try to help our clients and we want to make the world a better case, one case at a time.
I stated that I am not looking for fame and power. I did not mention money. Women are just as smart, creative, and determined as men. Women should be paid as much. I did some checking on lawyer pay over the weekend and I make as much or more than the average male attorney in the top ten percent of pay as a lawyer. I don't mean to brag and I am not rich. My point is that when women believe in themselves, work hard, and are not dependent on others to employ them, it is possible to be paid fairly. We have to discard the notion that we must depend on bosses for our compensation, or, in the alternative, we must stand up to the bosses who refuse to compensate us fairly. We cannot hope for others to fight for us or pray that bosses treat us equally. We must demand to be treated fairly for the hard work we do.
Until women make sure they are paid fairly, or fight by way of the courts if they are not, we can not just sit idly by and hope someone else takes care of us. We are 52% of this country and we provide important services. We must insist on justice. As my former boss used to say, "People do the right things if you make them." We are the majority. We can make them.