Women in Tech

3 Rules to Live by as a Woman in Business

Posted by Jan 4, 2011 9:38:00 AM Ali Powell


Sheryl Sandberg, COO of FaceBook just gave a TED talk about women in the workplace and how we can get more women in upper management positions. She delved into what our problems are and how can we fix these problems to even out the number. We need to start now.

  • Women at the top, C level jobs are around 15-16 percent and that number hasn't moved since 2002.
  • In the Non-profit world, that number is at 20 percent.
  • Women face harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment.

How are we going to fix this? Together we need to make changes so the numbers at the top are different. If we want to keep women in the workforce and get more women at the TOP, we have some work to do. The reason for this is not simple but it starts with women dropping out.

There are messages that we can set and send to start changing  the stigma around women in the workplace. Let's work on changing this in 2011.

What is hard?

  1. Being a mother and being a workingwoman.
  2. The overall choice to stay in the workplace.
  3. Success and likeability for women are negatively correlated.
  4. Believing that you have the ability to do it.
  5. There are sacrifices you will make for being the most successful.
  6. Men reach for opportunities more than women do.
  7. Men don’t know where the women’s bathroom is. (There is supposed to be irony in this.)
  8. Are women pitching fewer deals?
  9. Men have more pressure to succeed than women do to succeed.
  10. Women entrepreneurs and women C-levels of "older generations" are not going to change this. The future generations can change this.

How do we do this better and do this stronger in 2011?  Not five or ten years from now, but starting this year.

3 Rules to live by as a Woman in Business:

1. Sit at the table.

  • Women underestimate their own abilities.
  • Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce.
  • Negotiate your first salary.
Women need to start attributing success to themselves. Remember how awesome you are and believe it. Stop thinking that you got lucky. “No one gets to the corner office, gets the promotion if you don’t think you deserve your success.” We have to own our own success.

2. Make your partner a real partner.

Women work harder in general, by statistics it has been proven. Guess who drops out of the workforce when things get hard? Women. Men have more pressure to stay in the workforce. For women it is normal to be a stay at home mother and work inside the home. We need to even that number out.

3. Don’t leave before you leave.

Objections of staying in the workforce leave you to actually leave before you leave. When you start thinking about having a child or any big decision you constantly ask yourself how am I going to fit this in? As you start to think about all the big things that are going to happen in your life you start to not allow bigger professional opportunities into your lives. Women start thinking about personal big decisions very early in life and then professional goals start getting put on hold. Don’t quietly lean back. “Your job needs to be challenging, you need to feel like you are making a difference. Don’t stop looking for new opportunities because you always need to keep your foot on the gas pedal." Wait until the last day you need to leave and make those decisions then. Making decisions too far in advance will hinder you career.

Don’t forget how lucky you are. These problems are ones that we can fix.

The younger generations have a whole lot of opportunity and what you do with that opportunity will change the world for the better. More women at the table will help to make our world an overall better place.

Topics: women startups, Women entrepreneurs, Women in startups, women entrepreneurs in boston, boston women startups, Sheryl Sanberg, Women in business

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