I read your article on "Where are the Women?" and was so happy to see an article that describes what we face. I completely agree with your article as I face the glass ceiling as a senior director in the engineering world. I have not been able to pass to the next level even though I have surpassed my male peers in accomplishments, hard work, and long hours. I must add that there is one more factor that seems to keep us down.
For me, it has been the fact that I will not play the "old boy's club" game — and childish, sexish behaviors — and that's what kept me down. I want to work in a professional, learning, performance-driven and equitable environment, and I am having a tough time finding that environment.
You're right — I am driven to look at opening my own business to be able to use my skills to their fullest and strive. It's a very sad world, and I wish we could change it. I am just finishing my second master, Executive MBA, thinking that it will help change things, but I am beginning to despair.
I still think that there are ways to be a CEO and not work 20 hours a day. It's a matter of delegation and execution and having the right people in the right jobs. Then you as the CEO can focus on what you should do, not everyone else's jobs.
Unfortunately, corporate America is still far from that, and we will have a long wait for things to change. In the meantime, I continue to hope and look forward to helping fellow sisters get up the corporate ladder.
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A version of this article appeared in the February 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.