Discriminating Women

Yesterday I posted about why an MBA after 40 is a waste.  Anne Libby mentioned that women have a similar issue, only it happens a lot earlier in their lives.

Many might say, “Jeff, you are an old white man, you aren’t qualified to write about women’s issues.  Besides that, you are a crotchety old conservative.  You hate women.”

But, I have a family full of women, and most of my extended family is female as well.  I understand women a lot better than most old white men, and conservatives love women just as much as liberals do.

The debate about women has been circling around my entire life history.  I remember the ERA movement in the 1970’s.  I wasn’t for that, because I felt the Constitution already applies equal rights to women.  However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t gender bias.

I am fully aware that there are differences between men and women.  As a matter of fact, there is a lot of literature starting to emerge how our society has actively discriminated against young males to their detriment.  Discrimination in any form is wrong.

However, there is some pernicious discrimination against females that I wasn’t aware of until I went to a speech by Sheryl Sandberg that I realized the world can be tougher on women, even unintentionally.

Around five years ago, my wife and I were at one of our daughter’s tennis games and we were speaking with other women about the world of work.  Most of the women I was speaking with had graduate degrees, and all had undergraduate degrees.  Some were from Top 10 schools in the country.

All had the same problem.

They made a life choice in their twenties and thirties to drop out of the workforce and raise their children.  Now that their children didn’t need them as much, they would like to get back into the workforce and do something meaningful.  But, the workforce doesn’t have a way to plug them in, or even worse, tells them that they are useless and refuses to even try.

Personally, I am glad my wife stayed home and sacrificed to raise our kids.  Who wouldn’t want a college educated person that loves them raising them.  It will pay big dividends in the future.

For women that chose to work through the kid years, it had to be a very tough choice.  I don’t think they made a bad choice-everyone should be free to choose.

However, as a nation we need to develop local private support systems for these women so that they can figure out ways to plug in once their days of doing the hard work of raising a family is over.  It’s about educating women on the ways to reacquaint themselves to the workforce and finding niches they can exploit.

Entrepreneurship seems like the only way, and one of the reasons that I am very supportive of it.  Our country will be better off with a lot of women entrepreneurs running around it.  I also am supportive of women backed companies.  I have backed three so far.

tip of the hat to Insty!


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