(I don’t own this image.)
Ok – this is probably going to piss some people off… I don’t participate in women’s only business events.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with women doctors, CEOs, engineers, or techies. What I do have a problem with is that we feel the need to explicitly mention that they are women.
It seems to me that all the publicity around “women” CEOs and tech startups is media fodder. It is juicy and “politically correct” and draws readers in droves.
When people ask about Condoleezza Rice, Marie Curie, and Margaret Thatcher, WE as a society remind them these are women. This has the implicit underpinnings of “yes, they did good work for a woman.” Figures in politics or science should be regarded as role models or pioneers or whatever, regardless of gender. No one talks about the first man in politics or science as “the first man.” They are celebrated strictly for their accomplishments, not their accomplishments-in-light-of-gender.
By making a big deal out of gender, aren’t we, in essence, launching a platform of discouragement? It’s like saying, yes you can be a scientist, but it will be more difficult for you because you have a vagina. Will it be more difficult? Yes–we already know that our invitation to the party was delayed in the mail. But shouldn’t it be up to the young lady to work out the trials and tribulations on her own, rather than discouraging her from the jump?
If a young lady says she wants to be an engineer, why do we have to specify that she can be a woman in engineering? The specificity of this statement is ridiculous. It creates and further defines the notion that it is an anomaly. It’s like a condescending pat on the head. It also shortchanges women and their accomplishments. We, as women can do anything we want. It is society that has manufactured the ideology that we cannot.
It’s time to stop quantifying the issue in terms of gender and use our power to influence the next generation through our actions and our accomplishments. I want to see women networking and telling their stories at all types of business events and career fairs, especially where they are outnumbered by male counterparts. I want inequalities shining in the daylight for all to see.
So while women’s business events are nice, you won’t find me there. I’ll be busy kicking the down the door to the events where I am less represented. See you there.