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Sexism in the Workplace

Renewed Sexism in the Workplace

While the number of female officers among Fortune 500 firms steadily increased during the early and mid-1990s, that number has decreased each year since 2005 and stalled in 2007. Last year, the boards of Fortune 500 companies were represented with only 14.8 percent women. This month's issue of Portfolio explores why there aren't more women in charge of corporate America but doesn't exactly come up with an answer to the question.

The author of the article, "Sexism," observes that nobody wants to talk about sexism because most people think there's nothing to discuss. She boldly points out that a number of the women acknowledged in the Wall Street Journal's "50 Women to Watch in 2007" list "appear deliberately, studiously unfeminine." So what? The author muses that women with power avoid criticism based on appearance by flying "below the radar," and notes Vogue editor Anna Wintour's comments when Hillary Clinton declined to do a photo shoot with the magazine.

Imagine my amazement, then, when I learned that Hillary Clinton, our only female presidential hopeful, had decided to steer clear of [being photographed for] our pages at this point in her campaign for fear of looking too feminine. The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying." She went on to ask, "How has our culture come to this?" and state, "This is America, not Saudi Arabia."

Do you agree that femininity compromises women in positions of power? And would we be better off if the US adopted a policy similar to Norway's law, requiring that companies have board seats be composed of 40 percent women by 2008?

Join The Conversation
khutchinson khutchinson 9 years
In an ideal world, there wouldn't need to be quotas, but in the ridiculous sexist culture that we call corporate America, if there's going to be change, it will have to be mandated. Meaning, let's have a quota. And you know, the more women that make it to the top, the more productive a company is. The cover photo here is so telling. Men say, "Okay, let's bring in the women," and then they step all over their toes.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
All i know is, I arrived to my job interview 30 minutes late, had no professional (only personal) experience with the technologies they used and was still hired. Wearing a skirt to a job interview ftw! //sucks but true
randomname12345 randomname12345 9 years
I admire Nancy Pelosi because she finds a way to be feminine & stylish but remain professional, sleek, and sharp. She's also pretty darn powerful and important!
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that it would be a nice thing to have 40% of all board seats held by women, but to make it a rule/law/edict or whatever- i think that it makes things complicated. i'm all for equality among race/gender or whatever it may be - but when you force the issue, it makes the unassuming ppl the minority and they lose their opportunities which may not be fair either. i think that it just needs to be a case of ACTUALLY PROMOTING PPL WHO DESERVE IT- if it's a woman - then she deserves it just as much.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Scissorz, I actually agree with your observation. I see a lot of women who do this everyday.
scissorz scissorz 9 years
i see a lot of ladies that make good money at the salon cause well i'm not cheap! i have to say that most of the women who i see who are super successful with work have shorter hair and don't really focus on their beauty....its not that they are trying to be men, but they certainly don't grow their hair long and wear it in loose waves or anything like that. i only have one client like that and she is a ball-buster. i mean like she wont take crap from anyone and she will tell you what she thinks even if it isnt going to make you happy. i think women who focus on beauty or fashion tend to be written off as silly or superficial especially by men. i think that one client of mine "makes up" for this with her almost masculine straight-shooting attitude. its weird stuff. none of us wants to be a "feminist" anymore it has such antiquated connotations and its not supposed to be necessary. women can vote and get jobs wherever so its (supposedly) all equal. but its a lot of high profile jobs, women and people of other races like make themselves look more like white men,,,,check out the number of black or hispanic news anchors that don't straighten their hair. its sad cause its all so under the surface
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Agree w/ SkinnyMarie
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I have an aunt that is is on the board of directors at citigroup. She dresses pretty feminine in my eyes. I see articles like the pigeon holing women. And those women Ceo's on a rise looked human, not masculine or femine. Its about the brain, not looks. I don't look at Clinton as masculine, she probably thought that being in a fashion magazine wasn't a good statement to make. I don't think we should force 40% on companies. They would then just put them there because they had to, not because they wanted to.
imLissy imLissy 9 years
I think a big part of it is that a lot of women don't want to be in positions of power. I know I don't. I want a life outside of work.
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