On a good day some would call me an extrovert; I truly do have strong opinions on almost every topic. I guess it comes from researching and reading a lot. I will not claim to know it all by far but I’m an information junkie. So when I hear things and they don’t make sense to me or are emotion driven…I don’t get offended nor do I argue any longer; I’ve outgrown that reaction. Plus, now I have this blog to express my opinions and give others a chance to question theirs. We have “Old Skool Thursdays” and now I plan to add “Soapbox Wednesday”
Get Out My Way Woman….I Got People to Prove Wrong!!
I’ve been pondering a topic for a few days because it sparked emotions I didn’t realize I still held. I recently had a conversation with another professional woman; we were discussing the possible approaches to interviewing, work habits and how to grow professionally. What seemed to be a positive conversation quickly turned negative. I can’t tell you how, but somehow we got on the topic of working for women versus men. A topic that often generates the same debate or argument; “Are women good leaders”? I listened mostly, because as I stated before I rarely argue these days, plus I find that if you listen long enough the other person will see how emotional the subject has gotten for them. So as I struggled to listen without adding my opinion the following statements were made; mind you people I’m paraphrasing:
“Women are jealous of each other”
“Women interview you based off of your physical appearance”
“Women treat you according to how you make them look”
“And more importantly Black women don’t want to have anyone working with them that may be more intelligent, prettier or that will challenge their role. Especially if it’s another Black woman.”
“Men allow me to be myself and I work
best in that setting”
Needless to say, by this point I had to check my body temperature and so nothing would be taken personally, a deep breath was required. As a therapist, I teach my clients these techniques and now it was my turn to put them to use. Now I don’t declare to be some type of liberal feminist… wait I’ll take that back, there is just enough in me to give this person the side eye as they spoke. The truth is that all of the statements made can be argued as correct. Please, I have survived working under some female leadership that could put some torture chambers to shame.
However, maybe, just maybe there is another way to look at this topic. As I said there is some truth to what my associate was feeling; some women in leadership struggle with the balance of staying in leadership and mentoring the next woman to take their place. Do I think this is about jealousy, appearance or how you as an employee make them look? No. To me, it has always been bigger than just those emotions. I think this has to do with a loss of confidence when they enter a room full of male counterparts, who faces often still tell them they don’t belong in this room. Or the feeling that everyone, including their female counterparts question, how they may have gotten their position. Or possibly they are being directed to play the role of the disciplinarian or the bad guy. There are tons of possible reasons; but none should ever include the statement “Women are not good leaders.” Right now, some women are reading this and thinking, “That’s not my problem.” You’re right, it’s not your problem, until you’re put into the position to lead and/or faced with these same issues. Do me a favor, especially my women and remember next time you have these thoughts, here is a fact: Women have not been in the workforce long; let alone in the role of leadership. So there is some room to argue that there may be a need for training and future growth, but to say that women are not good leader, I don’t accept that as a fact and neither should you…
One thought on “Soapbox Wednesdays: Get Out My Way Woman….I Got People to Prove Wrong!!”
Interesting…I am also in the counseling/therapy field and I find that it is mostly filled with women. In general, less men enter the human services field. I often find myself under the leadership of women and I have been fortunate to work with and for Black women. Your co-worker seems to be describing “competition” which is ever present in most settings when people are working toward common goals. It is unfortunate that she perceives the competitive spirit as jealousy. I guess it all depends on how she reacts to competition and how the employee (and the female supervisor) view their level of competence in the given field. I would hope that if I am hired by someone, they would respect my insight and input enough to simply consider it. If they didn’t I would chalk it up to their own insecurity issues. Black women are great leaders…and behind every great Black male leader, there was/is a great Black woman.