Battle of the sexes is alive and well

August 24, 2006 at 6:52 pm 1 comment

I was recently asked to speak at a lunch about being a woman in business. My first reaction was that it didn’t seem to be much of an issue these days and I really couldn’t think of much to say. Boy, was I wrong.

This week has shown me that the battle of the sexes is as violent as ever. First, Sharon Barclay of Blanc and Otus caused a furore with her views on why there are so many chicks in PR. To be fair, her words were blown out of all proportion and taken to mean that women are better liars than men – when in fact she was suggesting that women and men both lie, just for different reasons. Women, according to Barclay, lie to please others, while men lie to make themselves look better. Of course, PR professionals of both sexes took offense at the implication that PR was about lying.

Yesterday, Michael Noer of Forbes published an article outlining the reasons why men should not marry career women and quoting numerous social scientists. Apparently neither partner can cope with the wife earning more than her husband, and giving women more opportunity to meet other men in the workplace inevitably leads to extra-marital affairs. So violent was the reaction to Michael’s chain-’em-to-the-stove piece, that Forbes was forced to turn it into a point-counterpoint format, with the counterpoint written by Elizabeth Corcoran. Calling Michael Noer’s story “downright frightening,” Corcoran extolled the virtues of the two-career couple. The best bit in this sorry tale, however, is the reader comments, which prompted one guy to remark that he never knew he was so much smarter than the average Forbes reader. My favorites include “a ball and chain is always a ball and chain whether it has a job or not” and “there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman trading up to a better man, whether she meets him at work or whereever else.”

On a less controversial note, BT issued survey results concluding that women over 50 make the best bosses because they are more trusting of employees who work from home or have flexible hours. Fascinating.

The best discussion I heard on this topic was an interview on NPR with Louann Brizendine, neuropsychiatrist and author of a new book, The Female Brain. If anyone really cares about the facts of the matter, I suggest they go out and read this book. Otherwise, just get on with your jobs, people!

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. It’s a numbers game « point being:  |  August 28, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    […] The New York Times also reports that Forbes.com’s controversial piece on career women topped the list of the site’s most popular postings and comments that it “seemed unlikely to dent Forbes.com’s standing in the Web rankings anytime soon.” In fact, it will likely send the site’s unique visitor stats through the roof. Perhaps the article wasn’t such a colossal error of judgement after all, but rather a calculated move in the battle for eyeballs and advertising dollars? […]

    Reply

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