As I write this blog post, the Denver Business Journal is hosting an event to honor Outstanding Women in Business. I have a good working relationship with the Journal and as a former newspaper reporter, I can certainly understand the need to create other sources of revenue for the paper. I even worked with a few clients that were nominated for the award and won.
However, I’m having a hard time understand why we need this award.
In today’s work environment, where do women not fit in? That is precisely why competition for this award has become so competitive. Women who are doing amazing things in the business world did not win because they were just COOs or CFOs. They were only managing teams of 50 people instead of 100 or had only founded one company instead of four. Does this sound like a struggling gender to you?
The fact is that childless women under 30 make more than their male counterparts. In this economic recession, men are getting laid off more than women. The unemployment rate for men is 10.4 percent, versus 8 percent for women.
Then there’s the issue of education. Women outnumber men in earning college and graduate degrees for the first time in U.S. history. This it true across all races and socio-economic groups.
Women are making strides at home too. A recent Time Magazine cover story referenced studies that men and women work the same amount around the house. Husbands cook. Wives mow the lawn. We just get done what needs to get done.
When compared to men, over the lifetime of their career, women do earn less and get promoted less. This generally occurs after a woman has children. But before you get your back up about that, consider this: women typically choose lower paying jobs. When you compare female software developers to their male counterparts, they make the same amount. If you’re comparing a 32-year-old female social worker to a 32-year-old male engineer, you’re going to see a wage gap.
Many mothers often choose to cut back on hours at the office and pass over promotions because they want to spend more time at home with their kids. There’s nothing wrong with this mentality but should they feel they are subject to some sort of social injustice? I think not.
So, rather than rewarding women for being just like men, or in most cases, doing better, maybe we should stop patronizing women with bogus awards they don’t need. Let’s just start focusing on businesses that are growing and hiring — whether they are run by men or women. Shareholders and investors don’t care about whether the CEO wears a skirt or pants to the office if the profit margins are going up.
Rather than focusing on the battle of the sexes, let’s call a truce. Maybe next year we can have an “Outstanding Business Leaders” award. Leave the battles for the bedroom.