The Value Of Being Glass Ceiling Conscious
Wow, what a cover! Wow, what a story ("Wise up, guys!" Cover Story, Feb. 17)! Hey, BW--you're getting it!! Let's have more, more, more!
Lya Sorano, Director
Atlanta Women in Business
BUSINESS WEEK is absolutely right. Smart companies must implement change, and everyone benefits when they do.
Four years ago, we launched our Initiative for the Advancement of Women. From our experience, the results are well worth it. We have virtually eliminated the gender gap in turnover, admitted far more women to our partnership, more than doubled the number of women in leadership positions, and now have hundreds of women on flexible work arrangements. Our experience has taught us that continuing commitment, accountability, and top-management attention are essential to this organizational change. We recognize that truly breaking the glass ceiling will require a long-term, sustained effort.
Chairman and CEO
Deloitte & Touche LLP
As a former Coopers & Lybrand manager, I read your article with great interest. At the time I left, about a year ago, I was a successful up-and-coming manager and had been with the firm almost seven years. I found that the women who made it to partner were much like their male counterparts--driven and incredibly tough. It was almost as if these women had to become more masculine to make it in a male-dominated culture.
Public accounting is a rigorous profession that does not lend itself to a family-friendly culture. After the birth of my first child, I tried for two years to balance my career and family and was more successful than most. I had a lot of support from the partners, but the demands of the profession eventually wore me down. After I learned I was pregnant with my second child, I knew it was time to leave.
I don't believe men are any more ambitious than women. To make it to the top requires tremendous sacrifices. I believe men are more willing than women to do whatever it takes. I'm torn on this issue, because I know that a lot of valuable women employees are lost because of work-and-family issues. Should Corporate America make it easier for women to make it to the top? In today's competitive corporate environment, I'm not sure that does anyone any good.
I don't believe upper management's championing of female managers is the key to female advancement within corporations. Those in charge of promotions would be wiser to base all advancement strictly upon professional qualities and ignore personal qualities, such as gender.
I work for a company that has many women in key management positions. I don't consider their rise to be a special accomplishment; rather, I trust that it is based solely on their merits.
Six weeks after I returned to work from maternity leave, I gave notice that I was leaving. It wasn't because my husband was doing well or because I wanted to work part-time to take care of the baby. No, I am going to work for a smaller company with greater growth potential--one that has more than 50% women in upper management.
Until more companies understand the full impact of women in the workforce, they will continue to lose valuable employees to more farsighted organizations.