Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

February 23, 2010

A Response to the Glass Ceiling

Thanks, Agatha, for a thought-provoking beginning to a discussion on women in the workplace. I enjoyed the article links and went over to the NYTimes article which Jezebel linked to. I only have one thought about the matter right now (as I'm very sick), and that's that in the attention is being paid to the dearth of females at the top of the Wall Street chain, but not necessarily in other entrepreneurial arenas.

And a growing number of women run investment portfolios at college and prep school endowments. The Harvard endowment, the largest in the United States, is managed by Jane Mendillo.

But in the heart of Wall Street, the aggressive environment on the trading floor is often cited as a reason that women are rare at the top. Others cite the dearth of women to aid in career networking.

Whatever the reason, ascending the ladder is much harder for women, said Bruce C. Greenwald, a professor of finance and strategy at Columbia University Business School.

“It is more difficult for women to come back because the environment in financial institutions is generally more hostile to women,” he said. “This culture has developed over a very long period of time, and it has been exacerbated as the firms’ emphasis has shifted from traditional investment banking to sales and trading, which is an even more macho culture.”

I can't help but wonder if it is exactly this "aggressive" forum that is in stark contrast to authentic femininity. John Paul II asks us to enter the workforce in order to humanize the affairs of the world. I wonder though, given the financial collapse and the rise of uncapped greed, if rising to the top of this work is something that women should venture into even if it were possible or if it is something that men will inevitably box them out of (and perhaps with misguided intentions, might work for the best?). It seems that the forum would have to change in order for women to work there really effectively. Maybe women should be the ones to change the forum?

It seems I only have more questions!

1 comment:

Aaron said...

This reminds me of a passage from Dietrich von Hildebrand's Man, Woman and the Meaning of Love (in chapter 7: Friendship between Man and Woman, I think), in which he argues that there are some spaces which force men to respect women - think of the formality and grace of a ball - but in those spaces where men essentially set all the rules and treat women as they would treat other men, the results are so harmful to women that they should avoid such space. He specifically mentions business as such a space.

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