katie.mehnert

Shame on Bloomberg: Lean In, Own It...It's All Great Perspective for Women

Blog Post created by katie.mehnert Champion on Jan 19, 2017

IMHO...in my honest opinion...

 

I was disappointed this week in the media (more than once). I suppose that’s becoming a more common occurrence, unfortunately. 

 

Sallie Krawcheck, the CEO of Ellevest and former Bank of America executive (who’s currently promoting her new book Own It), went on Bloomberg’s Game Plan to discuss Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and other females-in-the-workplace topics.

 

The headline was Lean In Isn’t Working. Now What? If you actually listen to the interview with Sallie, though, she praises  Sandberg’s work in many ways. If you just read the headline -- which is the age we live in, mostly -- you’d think Krawcheck was attacking Sandberg, or your big takeaway might be that “Approach A” (what’s in Sallie’s book) is better than “Approach B” (in Sheryl’s). All of this would be incorrect.

 

The problem with the media spin on these types of issues is that it obscures the real issue, which is the context of women in the workplace. While we’ve seen some progress in various states (Maryland comes to mind), pay transparency is still a long way off. Without true pay transparency, we’ll never have true salary equality for men/women or whites/minorities. We generally know that a woman makes 77-81 cents for every dollar a man makes, even when the responsibilities and scope are exactly the same. As Krawcheck herself told CNBC this past week, men and women will never really be equal until we’re paid the same.

 

That’s the actual issue. Bloomberg tossing out a headline like “Lean In doesn’t work” shifts the issue to something else -- a criticism of Sandberg, or a feud between two women who essentially want the same thing: a dialogue on what’s wrong with salary and gender equity in the workforce. (There’s a lot wrong with it.) The media in this case is almost making themselves the story in the pursuit of clicks. That’s not good. The story is: “Hey, we have a problem here and are increasingly becoming a bigger patriarchy. What are the different solutions? How can we further the discussion to the highest levels?”

 

It’s not A vs. B. We’re actually all in this together. It actually benefits some of our XY brethren too: women have been shown to be more compassionate leaders, and compassionate work cultures regularly over-perform the market (and their rivals). We need more women on top (salacious!) and we need them earning the same. That’s the discussion. It’s not A vs. B. It’s A and B working together to flip what’s currently a problem into a solution.


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