It is a lovely day in the neighborhood today. The air is crisp yet gentle. The sun is shining but not blinding. Derek Jeter came through in a clutch at the bottom of the 9th inning last night. It appears to be a good day in New York. I will say this however. Gender is on my mind this morning as I head into work. As someone who works in what is ostensibly a man’s field in an office where women are outnumbered four to one and where I am constantly told (as a compliment) that “behind every successful man is a strong woman”, I’ve got gender norms on my mind.
The past few months there have been many news discussions (when not interrupted by insane minutia coverage of a missing plane or discussions regarding a basketball team owner’s private remarks to a woman 1/3 his age) around the worth of a woman and her work. Every day there are posts by powerful woman such as Arianna Huffington that seek to empower women to “lean in” and not feel conflicted by their mother/worker role. Such posts are lovely. However, at the end of the day you still don’t have equal pay for equal work. There are many that have argued that women really don’t do equal work (even when in same position) and thus it’s alright to have inequality.
On Fox News the other day there was discussion on U.A.E’s first female fighter pilot who led airstrikes over Syria this past week. It seemed like a positive segment at first on Fox News. Then came the sexist jokes where they referred to this fighter pilot as “boobs on the ground”. A day before a tech executive by the name of Evan Thornley made headlines with his comment that “women are just like men, only cheaper.” Ouch. Why should women be cheaper? I for one work as hard as and even harder than most men I know. And it is not that I work harder because I am less efficient. I am one of the most efficient people out there. I work hard because I can, I believe in what I do and I am good at it. I don’t need a Stuart Smiley self-affirmation moment because I don’t doubt my abilities. And neither should any HR person based solely on my gender. Mr. Thornley get a life and don’t hire women because they are a cheap segment of the labor force.
Many individuals in my network and around me understand and value my work. However, at the national discourse level why are there such segments such as that on Fox News (ok, it’s Fox News, I get it) that continue to play out day in and day out? As such, if I could have a sit down with someone for a few seconds to vent and put a plan into action to address the view that women are a cheap segment of the labor force, I would reach out to Hilary. Do I even need to say her last name?
I would exhort Hilary to indeed run again for the US Presidency. This time, though, Hilary there is no crying on the campaign trail. Let the big boys do that, including Boehner. I would tell her to give the good old college try again because at some point that glass ceiling must truly be shattered. Now, it’s not that I am saying she should win or that I would vote her. She still needs to put on a good campaign and outline a true vision for where she would like to steer this country. No one, not even a woman, gets a free pass when it comes to the highest office in the country. And that is the way it should be. I think even Sarah Palin and Susana Martinez (Governor of New Mexico-a possible swing state) should run. Maybe Vigdis Finnbogadottir the former President of Iceland can come and give us as a collective some pointers. The point is to run. Run as fast and as hard as you can. Do so for those of us coming up behind you.
One day I might want to run for President and I would prefer to not be the first so that I can just focus on the urgent matters at hand and not on preserving some image as the “first” whatever. Although, admittedly, I probably would not mind being the first Latina President. I probably would start with a new rule that its ok to wear white after Labor Day, pink is in and boys do cry. Point is I want to wear my fierce high heels in my commanding suit and not hit my head up against a ceiling.