Anyone will tell you that the workplace is tough. For women, there's so many more complications. You only need to read and re-read the headlines - whether it's about sexual harassment in the newsroom or discrimination at Silicon Valley companies or the gender pay gap throughout corporate America.
I try not to think about it too much. I often talk at our company about going down "rabbit holes." Focusing on actions and slights against you tend to take you down rabbit holes you'll have a hard time climbing out of. And yet, I struggle with this myself. Whenever I feel like I'm hitting a wall, I often remind myself of something Caroline Ghosn, Founder and CEO of Levo, said in a Radiate interview: "We're still so new at this. Like, if we zoom out over the course of human history, we are still so new at this whole women-in-the-workplace thing."
I wanted to hear directly from some CEOs and thought leaders how they approached the "women-in-the-workplace" thing. What were some of the problems and what are the solutions? Below are some of the most provocative and insightful answers, which you can only find on Radiate. You may not agree with all of them, but they're all very real views of women in the workplace.
- Shoe designer and entrepreneur Tamara Mellon, Founder of TamaraMellon.com, has had first-hand experience of the affects of unequal pay, "Throughout my career in doing four private equity deals with Jimmy Choo, I realized that I wasn't paid equal to the men that were working for me." She went on to add: "Companies are more profitable when they have at least 30% women on the board. Women are great negotiators. They negotiate very differently. When they go to the table to negotiate, they want everyone to win. They're not there to annihilate the person across the table. When women earn money, they're more likely to give it back to the society or to the community that they live in."
- "What women need to work for and work with is leadership," says Chris Burch, Founder of Burch Creative Capital. "What is leadership? Leadership is actually supporting the people below you and getting more joy out of their advancement than your own. For some reason, whether it's the culture over the last 50 years, or whether it's the way women look at themselves, they haven't really grasped to the level that I believe they should where people below them are--their job is to get them above them."
- Millennials who are "beginning to get married, think about children, think about how to integrate their leadership with their personal lives and where that's appropriate and where it's not, is that we...have not come to a consensus around what is appropriate for a woman who has a family and who has a professional career," says Ghosn. "We...have such a wide spectrum of perspectives on what she should be doing and we're so judgmental about it. It is an incredibly difficult space to maneuver in already without the judgment."
It's clearly not going away and in fact, is only gaining momentum. So what are the lessons moving forward? Focus on what we can do to help and push things forward - and not down dark, lonely rabbit holes. Those paths always lead nowhere.