77 cents

December 4, 2009

Back in the days when I worked for Silicon Valley high techs, I drew a few bosses who happened to be women. And had female colleagues at the senior level.

Unlike men, women at that time usually did not play well together in the corporate world. They were fine with men colleagues. But they were fiercely competitive with other senior-level women.

I always thought professional women back then believed that there was room for only one high-performing, senior-level woman. The Top Woman. Any other was a threat to that position.

Maybe it was because women in senor management were so rare. Maybe it was because tokenism was still a reality. Maybe it was because women have had to scrap and fight for corporate positions. Maybe it was because we make pennies for every dollar men make.

Then, I moved to consulting, where sexism is alive and well. Even among younger men. Among black men. Other minority men. It’s ugly.

You can combat it by being smarter, better and harder working than men. The same techniques women have had to use to compete since the start.

But you’re still not in the club.

You probably don’t want to be.

Still, it gets old.

I’ve been away from the corporate world since 1996. That’s a very long time. I don’t know what’s happened since.

A new generation of women (and men) are in those positions now. Maybe they see things as more equal. Maybe there’s no need for corporate women to feel threatened by one another.

I don’t know. But I sure wonder.

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