Conversation on women in the work place

Informal conversation with a lovely senior female executive…

Me: “What do you wish to see happen for women in the workplace before your retire?”

Woman: “You know I don’t think I’ll give the typical response of saying more women in the workplace or more women at the top. I think those hopes are talked about enough in the media nowadays. I’d say my real desire is to see women stick together and support each other more. I wish to see the day when more women will realize the value that comes from truly helping other female colleagues – juniors, peers or seniors. I want when I recruit younger women and they’re told their direct boss will be a female, that they are excited by that as opposed to being apprehensive in many situations. When we respect and help each other for real – it is easier to then command that respect from men and society in general. We can’t continue to judge and undermine each other a lot of the times, and then turn around and say to the guys – ‘hey you gotta show us respect’. Obviously am not talking about all women…but there tends to be quite a few that fall into that category unfortunately.”

And after a longer debate on this point:

Me: “What’s your best advice to me?”

Woman: “Don’t ever be that kind of woman I am talking about. Trust me – most women don’t realize this until a much older age – nothing is stronger than a woman who surrounds herself with smart, successful women who genuinely mentally and emotionally support each other. When you grow up and face many of life’s problems…work and even personal – you’ll realize that support is crucial to your well-being. Unfortunately too many women at a younger age are seeking validation from men – be it within their families, with their partners or work. I mean I understand that. I was in your shoes too. But as the years pass you realize you spent too much time on that and somehow took for granted building strong ties with the good women who come into your life, whether its friends or co-workers.”

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