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successful women in business

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Can’t women just be ambitious? Can’t we just plow ahead in our career goals without being judged for how we do it? I understand that everyone, to some extent, is judged for how they go after things. But can we admit that ambitious women are put under a very specific scrutiny that men simply aren’t? The world seems to be okay with the fact that men will have their business persona, and their personal life one, and that they will be different. The world doesn’t seem to hold a man, in his personal life, completely accountable for the way he composes himself in his business life. Women, however, must always somehow be ambitious but selfless, assertive but sweet, a go-getter who is also saintly, and confident without ever seeming the tiniest bit forceful. Sure. You got it, world. Here are ways ambitious women are judged unfairly compared to men.


We are to give all opportunities to women

If an ambitious woman has opportunities to give out and she doesn’t give all or at least most of those opportunities to women, she is chastised by the feminist community. Men with opportunities to give out are praised if they hire one or two women: women in the same position are condemned if they do not hire all women.


If we give constructive feedback, we’re a b*tch

Should we give constructive feedback to a colleague or employee, we’re considered a b*tch. It is evidently “mean” that we would point out someone’s mistakes. Men get to give constructive feedback without having their personalities picked apart.


We can’t be all business

In business meetings—designated for business—we are expected to do a lot of pleasantries (how was your vacation? You like your new neighborhood? Oh yes, these smoothies are great etc etc) before we can dive into business. If we get straight to business, we’re accused of being cold and rude. Men are not held to that same standard.


Being independent means we “aren’t cooperative”

Should we choose to go it alone on certain projects—to not partner with others (specifically other women)—we aren’t seen as impressive or powerful. Nope—we are seen as uncooperative. Rather than focus on what we did all alone, others just focus on the fact that we didn’t go out of our way to partner with other women. A man can do something alone and the focus is not on the fact that he didn’t collaborate with women. The focus is on just what he did.


Talking business during social time is bad

We can’t help it if we’re passionate about our work and want to talk about it. But if we talk about it too much during social time with friends, we get a bit chastised. We’re called “workaholics.” Isn’t it rather normal for men to talk about their work with their friends?


We are called “ball busters”

If we negotiate, hold the line, or push for what we want, we are called “ball busters.” What’s it called when a man does any of that? Are men out there calling each other “ball busters?” I highly doubt it. Men who push for their own agendas are just called “men.”


Working with men makes us a “male ally”

Should a successful woman choose to work with men—maybe she partners with a man, or hires a male-owned company for a job—she’s seen as a “male ally.” Considering just how many men are in the world and then in business, it’s pretty hard not to work with them, and is unfair that the feminist community exiles us for it.


Jokes about controlling our partners

Male business associates will make jokes about how we must have our partner whipped and comments about how we might be just as assertive in the bedroom as we are in business. Does anyone link the way a man behaves in business back to how he is in his personal life? Or sex life? Unlikely.


If we’re sensitive, it’s because we’re female

If we show emotion, our gender is immediately to blame. We are accused of not even being in control of our behaviors—that our sex has taken over. Not even our emotions can be our own: that’s just the woman in us.


If we’re strong, we are “cold”

If we don’t show emotion and manage to keep a strong façade, we are called cold, b*tchy, ice queens—you get the idea.



Ambitious women can be talked about as if they are superficial, obsessed with money, and in general focused on the wrong things (aka not relationships and family). Men are allowed to be ambitious without having their commitment to their personal life—or their values—questioned.


We’re accused of being copycats

Any time we display good business habits and traits, we are compared to men. We are told we are behaving like men. We are encouraged to “be more like men” in business. We are fed the idea that to do well in business we will just have to copy men. Men aren’t told to copy men. They are just pointed in the direction of specific, impressive individuals as role models. Not an entire gender.


We must mentor women

While mentoring is a wonderful thing, successful women who don’t mentor and specifically don’t mentor women are chastised. God forbid a woman just focuses on her own career and aspirations—you know, the way men do all of the time and nobody says anything about it.


In general, we must give back a lot

In general, the whole world watches women, wondering, “But how will she give back to women? Is she helping women enough? Is she hiring enough women? Mentoring enough women? Donating to enough female-centric organizations? Still being a good mother and girlfriend and wife?” The focus is on how we give back, and not on what we achieve.


Sexual accusations

If a woman hires a man, nobody says, “He slept his way into that position. “Ha. Hilarious. As if a woman in power could ever be seduced into giving away a job. Our vibrators do a better job than that applicant ever would. But, the moment a woman gets a great opportunity, the whispers begin. “Is she sleeping with the boss? Does the boss have a crush on her?”

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