Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What’s Below The Marzipan Layer?

I was reading The Daily Beast’s coverage of its Women in the World Summit, and I found coverage of a panel on women and negotiations. There was some reiteration of the facts that while women are good negotiators, we are often crap at negotiating for ourselves. The one man on the panel, John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay, shared this bit:

“Donahoe told a story where his wife was clerking for a judge and it fell on him to take the kids to school. He told his boss at Bain Consulting that he was going to have to quit because he was traveling so much and couldn’t make things work. But, his boss got him the help he needed so he didn’t have to be in until 10 a.m. The moral of the story? We all should demand "customizable options at different parts of your career.”

I 100% agree with him. Flexible work arrangements help everyone. But even with these flexible arrangements, why are women getting stuck in the marzipan layer? The one just below the icing of senior management? Look at the number of female Fortune 500 CEOs. Not many. My guess is that guys like Donahoe have mentors and other backers who push them through the politics required to make it to upper management, and women don’t. You can only make it so far on your own.

And no comment on the people like me who aren’t even anywhere near peeking at the Marzipan Layer. What are we? Filler? Crust?


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