Because Women Are Not Pushy Enough

How’s that for a controversial title.  Well, this sentence was the summarized punchline on a recent Forbes article a friend sent me titled “Why Men Don’t Promote Women More.”

While this article was very much in your face and seems initially almost offensive.  I have to say that I agree with most of the concepts it states

  • Women are not getting the same pay or same promotion because we sometimes just don’t push for it as much as men.
  • Many women are afraid that we will come across negatively if we pushed too hard.  I think this is especially true for Asian women.  Our cultural upbringing definitely plays a big role.  I learned early on in my career that I have to break away from that and be proactive to get what I want.
  • Bosses have no time to think about you, so unless you ask for what you deserve, the person who is the loudest in tactful self-promotion will get the raise and promotion.  This is the American culture.  Hard work ALONE unfortunately does not guarantee anything.
  • There is no implicit glass ceiling imposed by men. Most men have no issue working for women and some actually prefer it.   Ironically, we as women, built the ceiling ourselves.  The good news is if we realize we created this artificial ceiling, we can also break it anytime.

I also agree with his advice

  • Learn how to tactfully and frequently self-promote.  If you don’t let your boss know how good you are, they may not have time to find out for themselves.  This is one of the most important skills for anyone who want to advance in their career.  You will be surprised what you get when you ask.  I got a $10K higher pay then anyone else returning to Deloitte from business school because I asked and I made a good case 🙂
  • Do not use sexuality to get ahead.  You want to known for you business skills and nothing else.
  • I would also say that believing that there is no ceiling no boundaries to what you can accomplish is key.  Using the glass ceiling as an excuse is a cop-out.  There are many creative progressive companies out there.  It is up to all of us to find the one that suits us and allows us to grow to our potential regardless of gender.  It’s up to us to break the boundaries and limits we created in our own head first before we point the finger and blame someone else for our lack of progress

The only part in this article that I disagree with is regarding how few women are CEO of companies.  I think the facts are right, but the interpretation is skewed.  Unlike men whose primary focus in life for the most part is achieving the utmost business success.  Women have two missions in life – to achieve success in career and raise a family.

My point is I would love to see the statistics more as a % – % of women who wants to be CEO and achieved it.  My point is the base volume for how many men wants to be CEO or CXO may be a lot higher than women.  At some point around our 30s or 40s, many women voluntarily slow down their career to trade in for a more balance life and family and many happily do it.

I love controversial article like this one on Forbes.  Where do you stand and what do you believe?

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.  Good luck out there.

– Lei

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