Being A "Superfemme" Doesn't Sound So "Super-Fun"

Today, the Times of London, takes a trip across the English Channel to attend the "Women's Forum" in France (the Women's Forum sees itself as the female equivalent of the World Economic Forum) and is shocked to discover that many of the WF's high-powered participants are not al busted barren. These "superfemmes" or, women for whom "power, glamour and domestic bliss go hand in hand" include legions of lady CEO's and i-bankers who are mostly married, clad in Louboutins, and ruthlessly ambitious, just like male CEOs (except for the stilettos). Isabelle Seillier, the head of investment banking at J.P. Morgan, France, says, "I met my husband when I was 16 years old and I knew it. You need to find the right partner. That is critical. You can't do it alone."

Seillier seems to subscribe to the Linda Hirshman school of feminist achievement — the idea that women will only achieve social equality when they achieve economic equality. But it's not as if these women actually get to spend any time with the children and husbands they support. Of her children, Seillier says: "I wasn't there for every dinner when they were younger - I work until 10pm - but I think it was worth it. They're proud of me now." Maybe I'm hopelessly naive, but I think BOTH parents should try to be home for dinner at least a majority of the time. What's the point of having children if they're going to be exclusively cared for by the help? "I have a woman who does my hair, a woman who does the shopping, a woman who helps find nice clothes. The key is to be very, very organized," Seillier informs us. And rich, we might add!

Perhaps the desire to be home for dinner is what's leading the march of women away from the highest ranks of Wall Street. With the firing of Zoe Cruz, a top executive at Morgan Stanley, the number of powerful women on Wall Street continues to dwindle. An article about Cruz in the Saturday NY Times intimates that she was axed because she was personally disliked by a number of other executives, all male. It remains to be seen whether their dislike for her had anything to do with her gender.

All Hail The Superfemme [Times of London]
Top Ranks of Women on Wall Street are Shrinking [New York Times]
Homeward Bound [American Prospect]