Episode 6: The Masthead With Marie Claire Video
It's a "Beauty Smackdown" between America and France over who's the most chic!
Welcome to Pop Politics. I'm Amanda Tice. Today's issue is the glass ceiling for women in politics and business. Of the Fortune 500 companies there are only 12 women CEOs. What about the [unknown] you asked? Well there are only 12 US women senators. Even more shocking is that on the 404 Richest American's list, there are only 2 women who are self-made billionaires; Oprah and Meg Whitman of eBay. We are here with Lea Goldman who is the feature's editor of Marie Claire to discuss glass ceiling issues that women face in politics and business. Lea is proof that Marie Claire is about being more than a pretty face. And she is an expert on this subject considering her 10 years stint at Forbes. So, Lea at home and at the office women have made a remarkable progress but they're still not at the top. So, do you think that there's still a glass ceiling?
I think it's still there in a very concrete way but what's happening now that I think is a remarkable phenomena is the massive influx of young women into the workplace. In numbers probably greater than ever before. And what's happening is we're starting to see just greater numbers of women rise up.
And stick it out. These are women who were told they could anything.
Nancy Pelosi is really trying to push this Equal Pay Act. And I think it is kind of helping to break the glass ceiling. How do you feel about that?
Certainly there are very practical things that women still need to achieve; like equal pay for equal work. It goes without saying. But there are also new trends in the workplace that I think are helping women achieve the kind of confidence and equality that men have known for generations. And I think it's being achieved by the support structures that women are creating amongst themselves. So, you know, whereas before a woman like have felt alone and helpless given the, you know, the burdens of raising a family, taking care of a home which is its own CEO act on its own.
So, she would have had difficulties balancing that with the workplace. Now, I think you're starting to see networks of women come together and say, you don't have to do it alone, there are ways that you can reach the top, you know, rely on me, I can help you out here, you can, you know, a lot of women talk about dialing it down and then dialing it up.
So, what do you think are some of the biggest obstacles that women face in terms of this glass ceiling?
It's a very interesting question. And one of the more recent findings that I'm hearing about anecdotally is the generational divide between younger women and older women. Younger women are increasingly we're hearing saying that they don't wanna work for older women. Which is an astonishing if not disturbing fact.
And it's, part of it is a function they feel the, you know, the older generations are saying I had it this tough and you need to have it this tough. And they don't understand it or maybe they're not paying difference to that generation. But for whatever reason, you know, it's that unfortunate [unknown] that develops when women work with each other and don't support each other. It's a shame, it's a real shame, it's a startling phenomena and hopefully one that, you know, will be obliterated just given the number of women that are [unknown] the workplace.
So, in terms of women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, are there any particular codes of conduct that they kind of have to follow?
That's a great question. I mean in my years at Forbes, I've spoken with quite a few female executives, a lot of it like they said was face time. You know, one of the women I spoke with or I read it somewhere, I read this great story about a woman, a lawyer, elite lawyer on a big case. Won her way to the court with a bunch of other male lawyer, offered to stop and get them Starbucks. And she regretted it the second she offered it. Because forever after she became known as the woman who get the Starbucks for everybody. And so she was running out to get the coffee while the guys were talking about their case. And it was a very interesting phenomena. You don't wanna put yourself in a position where you were assumed to be the secretary. [unknown], I'm not sure Nancy Pelosi would even say that she's often being confused as the help, or the secretary or the whatever in her years coming up in the political realm. Those are unfortunate examples and hopefully as time goes will be fewer or between.
Tell me a little bit about the board [unknown] and women in the board room. What should there-- what should they be like?
On a very practical level I believe you should take a seat at the table. So, if you wanna be a player be a player. Act like a player. Seat at the table. I go in to countless meetings where I see women kind of line in the seats on the periphery and I find it fascinating. If you want to be heard, if you want to be involved in the decision and be involved in the discussion, to have your voice means you have to take those things that will let you have your voice. Obviously, you know, you wanna be respectful and you wanna say your piece when it's appropriate. It goes without saying. But being visible means being visible. Make yourself visible. Do those things that will get you noticed. That's typically how the men do, they don't even blink.