Tuesday, May 3, 2011
In a world where women still make less money than men for the same job, iVillage and Today.com have released a survey that shows - shock horror - that salary is the most important criteria for a woman choosing a job.
"97% of working moms surveyed saying that salary is most important to them, followed by a family-friendly work environment (91%), job enjoyment (91%), flexible hours (86%), a short commute (83%) and health insurance for the family (81%)".
Why is this news?
The report attributes this to "today's fragile economy" and this infuriates me. Women are equal in the workplace and, like men, are ambitious, want to make money and want to grow their careers. The desire to make money has nothing to do with the "fragile economy" and everything to do with professional women finally coming of age.
Why do women continue to perpetuate the worldview that women are not as mercenary and tough as men? Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media wrote a hilarious "Letter to Women in Tech, I Let You Down" where she writes that she never got the memo to be meek and weak. The perpetuation of the concept that we are in any way less able or less ambitious is women hurting women for no good reason at all.
I certainly never thought for a moment that I would not succeed, make equal money, run the meeting, set the strategy, lead the company - why wouldn't I? Because I don't have a Y-chromosome? Seriously?
It is true women have to work hard. In our society they still do the majority of the household chores. As the iVillage survey reports "All moms, whether they are working or not, continue to be responsible for the majority of the household chores. In two-thirds of dual working families, moms are responsible for 75% or more of all the household chores, with 97% of those surveyed responsible for half or more of the duties in the house."
Yes, a harsh side effect of the aforesaid missing Y-chromosome today but get over it ladies. Like breastfeeding in the middle of the night there are some things that are not going to change in our generation so the best strategy is deal with it, let the dust bunnies build up and, when you can, pay for extra help around the house. Now I have a cleaning lady; when my kids were little and I was taking my company public I had two nannies working shifts - and surprise, surprise my kids are just fine.
Yes I had moments of guilt but I want to be a role model to my daughter and every other nerdy, techy young woman out there that they can be anything they want to be - and yes still be happy and have a family. Technology is a fantastic place to grow your career as a woman because, in the end, all that really matters is how smart you are when you are architecting systems and writing code.
We must keep going and get all the way to the top. Women are still scarce as CEOs (especially in tech!) and in the board rooms which are still Male, Pale and Stale - as reported by BNET and Catalyst - and this is a direct result of the low numbers of women in the top jobs. There are enough women at the top now to show young women coming up that there Are No Limits.
I refuse to apologize for being an equal member of society and for wanting the same opportunity as any man. I expect to compete - I'd want no less. I watch men compete hard and ferociously for advancement and so should we. And when we win it's not news. It's expected.