Remember that popular ad with the slogan, "You´ve come a long way, baby"? Well,yes-and no, when it comes to women in the boardroom.
My grandmother was from the south (Tennessee and South Carolina), and she had very definite views on the relationship between women and a career.
"If a woman owns a business and runs it by herself, she probably inherited it from her father or husband," Grandma theorized. "And she probably won´t succeed unless she has some really strong, smart men to handle all the finance mish-mash and nonsense for her. I mean, can you imagine a woman having to hire a man? Or fire one? Hah!"
And although my mother did have a very successful career as a psychologist and counselor, she had her own now-outdated views on women in business. "It´s not good to seem too smart — men feel threatened," she told me as I was growing up. "Also, men are better at math and financial matters." I remember debating about taking advanced calculus and trigonometry in high school, hesitating because of my mother´s philosophy, and opting for French and Latin instead. I don´t regret having taken those classes — but I do regret having missed those math classes (to this day, I long for an MBA but hesitate because of my math-defective background!).
In my new series on women in business, we´re going to take a look at women who ARE successful entrepreneurs. What did it take? What lessons did they learn along the way? And what is the state of women in business in our nation in 2006?
Stay tuned as we learn together whether we´ve really come "a long way, baby"?¦."