All Articles Tagged "women leaders"
Michelle Obama has a gorgeous cover on the September issue of Ladies Home Journal, but the magazine isn’t interested in the First Lady’s looks. Inside, they sit down with the Flotus and President Obama for a candid discussion on women and leadership—and of course the qualities the POTUS loves most about his leading lady.
Here are a few bits from the interview:
How can we get more women to be leaders, whether in Washington or on their home turf?
Michelle Obama: We have to start with them while they’re young and instill in girls a sense of confidence. That’s why sports are so important. They teach you how to compete — how to fall down and get back up. And there are organizations like the Girl Scouts: They nurture self-confidence and give girls the chance to practice being in charge. We’ve got to give young women the opportunities to be leaders.
President Obama: It’s easier for boys to imagine themselves being President. They see themselves as being in charge. Girls are socialized to think about other people more. I want Malia and Sasha to feel confident about expressing their opinions. And if they’re good at something I want them to have the confidence to step up and shine. I don’t want them to lose their empathy and stop thinking about other people, because that’s an important part of leadership, too. But I don’t want them to be wallflowers.
Michelle Obama: We talk about this a lot, obviously. But it’s not just about what we want for our girls…we also think about the girls who grew up like we grew up: in working-class neighborhoods where they didn’t have sports programs. Or in a single-parent home. They need to be encouraged, too. Choices and options shouldn’t be limited to…
President Obama: …folks of a certain income bracket.
Do you think we are missing out by not having more women in office?
President Obama: I think voters are hungry for women’s leadership. I think they recognize that women oftentimes have a more well-rounded view of what American families are going through. I think they trust women candidates, and women leaders, to do the right thing, as opposed to being in it because of blind ambition. My hope is that each successive generation sees more and more women taking the risk.
Mr. President, what is it about your wife that makes people sit up and listen to her?
President Obama: Well, she’s very smart. She’s a wonderful speaker. She’s very cute.
Michelle Obama: Thanks for this question. I wanted to see what he had to say [laughs].
President Obama: Having said all those things, the quality I love most about her is, she’s honest and genuine. I think that comes across to people. They get a sense that they can trust her. You know, the word “authenticity” is overused these days. But I do think it captures what folks are looking for — not just in leaders, but also in friends and in coworkers — and that is, folks who are on the level. People like that tell you what they think and don’t have a bunch of hidden motives. That’s who Michelle is. She’s also funny. She’s the funniest person in our family.
They are such a team!
What do you think about the First couple’s interview? Do you agree that women leaders seem more trustworthy?
More on Madame Noire!
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of Juice
- So Serena Williams’ Victory C-Walk Is a Controversy Now?
- Evening Eye Candy: The Pretty, Hot and Tempting Men Of Track & Field In The 2012 Olympics
- MN Exclusive: Singer Leela James on Her Start in Music and Etta James
- Tatyana Ali, A.K.A. “Mona O’Neil” Goes In On VH1 Reality TV Producers
- Did You Know They Dated? Part II: 11 MORE Surprising Secret Lovers and Boos We Didn’t Know About
- 7 Black Celebrities Who Suprisingly Practice or Dabbled In Scientology
Women might be expected to cry more than men but anyone with an ounce of business sense knows shedding tears in the office is a no-no. Or is it? Sheryl Sandberg has shared a somewhat radical idea about women allowing themselves to actually be women when it comes to the work place. It’s not that all girls are soft and cry all the time, but if you happen to have a random breakdown at the office over something, she says there’s no reason to put up a tough front.
“I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work. And it’s been reported in the press that Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg’s shoulder, which is not exactly what happened,” she said in her Class Day speech at Harvard Business School. “I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself. Honest about my strengths and weaknesses and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.
“I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time. That kind of division probably never worked, but in today’s world, with a real voice, an authentic voice, it makes even less sense,” she said.
That may be a tough idea to grow legs. As much as women leaders would love to be able to be more of their authentic selves, as long as the leadership styles of female managers, bosses, and CEOs continues to be judged by different criteria than men it’s unlikely women would feel at liberty to openly cry or admit to it in the office. However we do know the male-female ratio is shifting in the workplace which means this could no longer be an issue soon—that is if women don’t adopt the prior criteria which we sometimes have a tendency to do.
Have you ever cried in the office? Did you feel ashamed about it?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Bet You Didn’t Know: The Secrets Behind The Making of Love Jones
- “Who Gonna Check Me Boo” and Other Pop Culture Sayings Birthed By Our Fave Reality Shows
- Who Believes It? Tami Roman Sheds Crocodile Tears On Wendy and Vows To Do Better
- Out of Site, Out of Mind and In Luck: Why The Best Way To Find Love Is To Forget About It
- Don’t Be a Ratchet Rat: 7 Manners Everyone Should Mind…Or Risk Getting Snapped On
- Haute Hats: When It’s Hot, Keep Your Cool With These 7 Stylish Looksl
- Things I Learned While Rocking Relaxed Hair, Natural Hair, and No Hair At All
When it comes to working, women don’t seem to have any problem with that. A ThinkProgress blog notes that 60 percent of women are the primary or co-breadwinner in the household and that women make up 50 percent of the college-educated. These days women statistics show that women are certainly making progress in the workplace. But is this enough?
An article in a certain magazine notes that these hard-working, educated women have jobs, but they don’t seem to want to take on the top executive level positions. Entry-level and low level jobs are filled with women employees. The article points to 53 percent. But higher up the ladder, women fall to 35 percent at the director level, 24 percent at senior vice presidents and a mere 19 percent at CEO. Among the Fortune 500 companies, there are only 12 women CEOs.
Research shows that at 59 percent, a majority of successful women leaders say they don’t even want to be at the top levels of their organizations. Even the all-mighty Google Inc. has problems promoting women engineers. Its senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Block, notes that men generally jump at the chance for advancement while women must be coaxed. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t women jumping at the chance to be exec level leaders?
Perhaps it’s the second-shift role women take on as mothers and caregivers. It may also be a lack of mentors. It may be possible that more women are realizing that it’s nearly impossible to manage that special work/life balance and are choosing more flexible, low-level positions or creating work from home positions for themselves. What do you think? What are the reasons more women don’t want to be on top in business?
More on Madame Noire Business!
- Behind the Click: Asmau Ahmed, Founder of PlumPerfect.com
- How She Made It: Alia Jones-Harvey, Producer of A Streetcar Named Desire
- The Career Freshman Part II: Getting To The Next Level in Your Career
- Crisis Management Lessons: Handle Scandal Like Your Name Is Kerry Washington
- How She Made It: Jeri Lynne Johnson, Founder of Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra
- Entrepreneur Spotlight: A Sister-Run Business Brings High-End Tea Stateside