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Women Are Underrepresented In Corporate America. Corporate America Is A Laughingstock. Coincidence?

Illustration for article titled Women Are Underrepresented In Corporate America. Corporate America Is A Laughingstock. Coincidence?

Why don't women have more power in corporate America? This month's Portfolio wrings its manicured hands over just that! The number of female board officers of Fortune 500 companies has been steadily falling over the past few years. As is the number of female lawyers! Zoe Cruz and Carly Fiorina, two of capitalism's highest profile females, have left leadership altogether! But it's such a sore subject, no one wants to talk about it. (Oh, also, when the Wall Street Journal did its annual section about "50 Women To Watch," all the ladies looked kinda butch. And then there was that Hillary Clinton Vogue debacle. Why do none of the women in power really want to appear very womanly?) And amidst all this there is this new book coming out called Warren Buffet Invests Like A Girl? It just doesn't make sense! Oh, but it does! Stop skirting the issue! Women don't run shit in corporate America because corporate America holds up high everything we hate about dudes. Obsessed with short-term thrills. Driven by them. Too often wholly lacking in any sort of long-term exit strategy. Competitive to the point of lunacy, arrogant to the point of self-immolation.

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Daniel Gross, an apologist for blind Market worship, recently decried that the American management is such a fucking laughingstock. And why is that? He's not really sure. Maybe he should talk to Eliot Spitzer about it!

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Women don't run corporate America because corporate America sucks.

I am not altogether serious about this. I mean, you know, theoretically — sometimes even in practice! — business is great. I love the systems and traditions that enable corporate innovation, and I love the speed with which industries, most notably the technology industries, can solve problems. (I know, that server outage just now might have seemed long, but that's just because y'all have been spoiled by Moore's Law.) But at a time when financial markets are melting down due to a disaster that could easily have been averted, when the Economist is starting to wonder whether Jeff Skilling might not be guilty of fraud because he just didn't bother trying to figure out what Andy Fastow was up to, it's hard not to be quietly satisfied that our gender is not to blame for this shit.

But now, you know, it's time for a new attack plan. Capitalism has been shaken at its foundations, layoffs are spinning out of control. On the plus side, managers are shell-shocked, insecure. Like a dude whose girlfriend just left him for another woman. Or something. So next performance review, do yourself a favor. Demand a promotion. You're entitled to it.

Well, not really, if you're reading this. But would that stop you if you were a dude? Rhetorical question.

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Sexist Or Not? [Portfolio]
Is Jeff Skilling Innocent [Economist]
Sexism In The Workplace [Portfolio]

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DISCUSSION

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@ineffable.me: She is not wearing tights. Leave her be.

After 10 years in corporate land, I can tell you that men mentor other men. They say they want women in charge too, but then don't seriously consider them for promotions because women might, you know, want to have a kid.

And all the men I worked with did squat when it came to their kid's daily care other than provide financial support. (Which is important, but not everything.) We worked 10 - 20+ hour days and guess who took care of the kids? Not them. And any woman with kids in the same position was expected to stay no matter what she needed to do at home. They said they wanted us to have a life too - they just didn't mean it.

Women who do make it in the corporate jungle are then expected to behave like the men do - punching a wall is okay, but crying is not. Because male aggression is so much more acceptable than a shedding a single tear - even when someone dies.

Arrgghhh. I'm all pissed again.