In our first session a few weeks ago, I asked my client why she decided to get coaching. “I’m a female lawyer,” she said.
“And?” I asked.
“And, well, it’s really hard,” she replied.
She was telling herself a story, and boy is it ever a popular one.
I don’t mean to imply that women aren’t up against it. Women still face sexism in the workplace. Women make up less than 3% of the CEO’s of major corporations. And yes, women still make less than men. There is definitely work to be done. But when it comes to communication, gender is just another story we tell ourselves, and that story is undermining women in a big way.
Just this week I read an article by a friend of mine titled, “Top Seven Qualities of Women Leaders.” It was a good article. But I had to wonder, why are we talking about female leaders and male leaders as if they are two different things? Every “top quality” on the list applied to women and men.
I bet articles titled, “Top Seven Qualities of Black Leaders” or “What Asians Can Do to Get Ahead” or “Five Reasons Why Paraplegic Leaders Aren’t Taken Seriously” wouldn’t go over well. Most of us would be offended that black, Asian or paraplegic people were categorized separately from their white, able-bodied counterparts. And yet we have no problem differentiating between “female” and “male” leaders.
But aren’t men and women different? Not as much as you might think. Continue reading: “The Gender Delusion”