I wish I could just go tell all the young women I work with all these fabulous women ‘Believe in yourself and negotiate for yourself. Own your own success.’ I wish I could tell that to my daughter. But it’s not that simple.
I have a five year-old son and a three year-old daughter. I want my son to have a choice to contribute fully in the workforce or at home. And I want my daughter to have the choice to not just succeed but to be liked for her accomplishments.
And what I saw happening is that women don’t make one decision to leave the workforce. They makes lots of little decisions really far in advance that kind of inevitably lead them there.
For any of us in this room today let’s start out by admitting we’re lucky. We don’t live in the world our mothers lived in our grandmothers lived in where career choices for women were so limited.
If you ask men why they did a good job they’ll say ‘I’m awesome. Obviously. Why are you even asking?’ If you ask women why they did a good job what they’ll say is someone helped them they got lucky they worked really hard.
The No. 1 impediment to women succeeding in the workforce is now in the home.
Women are not making it to the top. A hundred and ninety heads of state nine are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world thirteen per cent are women. In the corporate sector women at the top – C-level jobs board seats – tops out at fifteen sixteen per cent.