Posted by: kelseyburden10 | January 16, 2014

The Real World

As a senior I have to start thinking about the real world, not an all-together appealing thought, but one that needs to occur all the same. After I graduate I am fortunate enough to already have a job in my field of study. However, my field of study is accounting, a primarily male dominated field. Business, in the past, has not been meant for women. Yet here I am about to enter an incredible job in business.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I was raised never concerned with the gender gap, having 3 older brothers I tried to do everything they did, sometimes more. But now going into the work force where all of my bosses are male, it is something I’m a bit concerned about. One day I would love to be a CFO, but the percentage of women leaders in business is tiny. Like Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in the foreword of Barbara Kellerman’s book, women hold only 8% of corporate leadership positions. This isn’t to say I can’t do it, I have full intentions of being part of that 8%, but for a woman, getting to that role is a lot harder than it should be.

At the same time however, I feel like I can be quite a hypocrite about women rights. I am all about breaking down the norms and entering a “male profession” but as soon as I see a bug, or the sink needs to be fixed, I’m looking for a male to fix it. For example, I have 1 roommate, we are both 21-year-old girls, we can hold our own, but only so far. Last night (a Sunday night) at 9:45 someone rang our doorbell, and then rang it again, and when we didn’t answer, started pounding on our door. We were TERRIFIED. In this moment I would have given quite a lot to have a guy in my apartment to answer the door.

It’s an interesting thought to consider. We have grown up with distinct gender roles so those definitely play a huge role in my life, but at the same time, I want to do a lot of things guys can do. Where is the line? How much can I try and enter the “male world” when I look to them to open my door when I’m terrified? And I know the answer is different for everyone, I just wish I had a solid answer before I had to join the working world.

 

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Responses

  1. I think that the “line” is constantly changing day to day! As a woman, I have full confidence that you would excel in the CFO position and would have the utmost respect from those you work with. However, the gender gap I believe will always be there in your everyday life. Yes, women are more vulnerable when it comes to dangerous situations (including bugs) so I think that you wanting a man there to answer the door for you is absolutely normal! In my family, even when everyone is home, when our doorbell rings my dad always answers it in order to keep us safe. I think that these stereotypes work both ways and honestly may never change – men tend to play more of a protector role in your daily life, but I do not think that will impede your journey to becoming a CFO! It is something that has been stressed to us all of our lives and in past generations as well, meaning that it will be hard to try to completely break the norms – some things may not change for many more years! Chivalry is not dead and hopefully next time someone will be there to answer your door for you!

  2. I completely agree here. I didn’t get a chance to share my comment in class due to time constraints, but this is my point. We tend to focus on the box that women have been placed in within the realm of careers. However, we all, males and females, have been categorized from birth. You call boys handsome and girls pretty. Girls can cry and get cuddled when they fall and scrape their knees, but the first thing we say to a boy in the same situation is that “you’re okay; just get up” these roles have been unconsciously forced upon us. Men have to be providers to feel like a man, and women needs to be rescued and protected by men. How can we change this?

  3. First and foremost congratulations on receiving this job after graduation, that is exciting. In regards to the question “where is the line?” I believe that there should not be a line to begin with. Your personal life and your professional life should be two separate things. If in your free time you love playing sports, video games or want a guy to kill a bug for you that is your personality, it is what you prefer and it is who you are as an individual. It doesn’t have to do with gender. On the other hand, when you are in the workforce it should no longer be about what men do in business and what women do in business, it should be about what do you as individuals do to better the company or enterprise. In Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything by Wilson someone made the statement “All of us are in this room because we are deserving” and that is true in your case. You received this job because you are qualified for the job. As you enter the real world after graduation do not let this idea of being a minority within your field limit you from being the best accountant you can be. I believe that one of the major issues people face as a result of these occupational gendered stereotypes is that when a man enters a “women’s” occupation or a woman enters a “mans” occupation they immediately cringe and are limited to their full potential. They begin second guessing themselves and their abilities. Do not let that happen to you. I agree with Camille’s point that these stereotypes have been engraved in us, but on the other hand sometimes like Tori stated they aren’t necessarily a bad thing. The problem arises when these stereotypes get in the way of us seeing people for their full potential in the careers of their choice and their attempt to achieve their goals and dreams. Do not second guess yourself, your ability or even who you are as a person. I have complete faith in you as you embark on this journey to fulfill your dreams.

  4. I understand your idea about the hypocrisy present in women’s rights. I too, would consider myself a feminist, but there have been times where I have asked a male to do certain things for me that I thought I maybe couldn’t, like killing a bug or opening a tight jar. It’s a slippery slope and the line is definitely blurred. We grow up being taught that men have their abilities and women have theirs. But, honestly, I truly believe that women can do anything men can do and vice versa. Who cares if you are the only women in a male-dominate field? Who cares if you are a male working in an all-female office? I think that breaking the gender gap is awesome! I don’t think that women and men have to be confined to the typical workplace roles that society has assigned to them. Of course, we are always going to have prejudices and stereotypes present. That’s just how the world works and it is going to be difficult to change people’s traditional mindsets. However, I do think that it is possible to bridge the leadership gap and continue to break stereotypical gender norms so that we don’t view the two sexes through opposite lenses. We have a long way to go, but I think that progress has been made and hopefully will continue to be made. Congratulations on your position after college too! The fact that you have a position in a traditionally male-dominated field is already a step towards more progress!

  5. I think that you’re on the path to success! Regardless of the line that gender roles seem to exhibit, I think that we are moving towards a point in society where gender is not having to matter as much. Being a male in the midst if the transition to gender-neutral leadership, I think that women are and should be considered equally qualified as anyone else; there gender should not play a part in their success, it should be their dedication and qualifications for the position. That being said, there can still be a gender gap felt in certain careers – but your dedication to being that 8% is inspiring and what our society needs to see more of! I think that your tenacity towards following your dreams will assist in you achieving your goals with great success!

  6. I think that in a lot of ways this is the perfect example of what we have been getting to in class. Women and leadership is not black and white and that is okay. Women cannot be everything all of the time, just like men cannot be everything all of the time. I think when we look at women emerging as leaders we see them as having to do it all, all of the time. But, this is unrealistic. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Some of these are subjected to gender stereotypes and some are not. This proves that leadership needs to move in the direction of looking at the person for their strengths and weaknesses without the bias or judgement based on gender. And hey, I am sure a lot of guys don’t like bugs either.


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