Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Do Women Lack Ambition?

This is an issue a guy could never raise without being called a sexist and risking career ruin but Marci Alboher, former NY Times columist and now columnist did. She reported on a luncheon panel discussion on that topic, which triggered a firestorm of reader responses. I commend it to you. HERE's the link.

Here's my opinion on the issue. Some women are very ambitious but many are significantly less-so because more women than men value balance/lifestyle over rising to the top.

Unless your work products are likely to be more beneficial than if someone else did the work, a decision to opt for work/life balance over strong ambition should not be denigrated. (But don't complain about a glass ceiling if you make that choice.)

My wish though is that a woman, who, like my daughter, whose work would likely yield more benefit than if most of her peers did it (She's a quite brilliant and hard-working assistant U.S. attorney in the Justice Dept. in D.C. and whom I could see becoming an outstanding liberal but very fair judge or senior Justice Department official) will have the social conscience to realize that her life will have been more worthwhile if she worked hard at her job and that doing so will not harm her child or spouse. Indeed, for reasons, I've written about previously, they may benefit.


Anonymous said...

Boy, those comments. People really take this topic seriously, don't they?

Do women lack ambition? Some do. Most don't. Those that have it, have it at varying levels at varying times toward varying projects & goals. Just like men. At least, that's what common sense would tell me.

Are most of these commenters making this subject too compicated, or am I naively simplifying it too much?

Anonymous said...

I hope your talented daughter will not have to contend with the glass ceiling.

Even though many women lack career ambition, hardworking, dedicated women should not be held back because of that.

Marty Nemko said...

While every situation is different, I believe that in 2009, in the vast majority of cases, women willing to work as hard as men do, have an at least equal opportunity to rise to top positions. I believe that too often, women who didn't get a desired promotion claim it's because of a glass ceiling without really asking themselves if they have done the things needed to win the competition for that promotion. Often that involves willingness to, for example, work longer hours, do the hard work to gain highly technical skills, do professional reading while exercising on the treadmill, and/or uproot family to take a promotion in a different location.

Scholar said...

Only people who view the world in terms of $ and climbing the career ladder will think women as a group lack ambition.

Just like those who would view the world in terms of relationship quality and emotional security for children think that men lack ambition.

Of course, many more of us view the world the first way rather than the second--unfortunately.


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