Friday, November 25, 2005
So, this blog post is a shout out to Anne Kingston. She wrote a bang up article in the new issue of Report on Business. Frankly this article has National Magazine Award written all over it. I have rarely read such a good piece of writing. It is bursting with information and her prose is engaging. Excellent work. What follows is my open letter to Kingston that details how I feel about her article.
Dear Ms Kingston,
I on a regular basis steal magazines from the café across from the office I work in, on Maisonneuve here in Montreal. This morning, after the cover of the Report on Business caught my eye, I read the first couple paragraphs of your article, “Why Women Can’t Get Ahead.” I was engrossed. Glancing at the distracted café owner I slipped the issue under my arm and made for the door.
Ms Kingston, as a young woman I was NEVER told that I could succeed if I worked hard. The most positive message I have ever gotten is that due to my race and gender I would have to work three times as hard to get whatever I wanted. For some reason, these messages are much easier to believe than the strong black woman who can do ANYTHING as represented by Oprah Winfrey. I can’t deny that I looked at any career I might have as a veritable jungle gym of obstacles, bigotry and problems. Still, trophy wife, bag lady, and unemployed depressive were not options I wanted to capitalize on. So, I worked and I worked hard.
Reading your article I have to say that what I found most interesting is that the male executives you interviewed were only honest about the anti-women bias as long as they didn’t have to be responsible for it. It’s the work world’s worst kept secret yet business still tries to pretend they are running equitable environments (I am sure WWP Group has an employment equity statement, but I wonder if it applies to the woman dressed as a French maid on stage with their Creative director). Meanwhile, it is women alone who have been compelled to change, adapt their lifestyles and fight sexism, while men are left to continue to find new and imaginative ways to exclude women.
You note that women start most small business ventures. Small business may also be a place for women to excel. In my current job, I am responsible for one of the largest parts of this business. I would never have the same power over the product I do here in a large company. Although, small businesses rarely pay what you can make at a large business. But, who knows, I’m getting a raise in December, and I plan to be a bitch about it.
Yours in admiration,
Please read the article: