Cable Blog

Insights, Enhancement and Education on Topics that matter to Women in Business

Step Up. Be Ready. Be Part of the Solution.

Last month Cable celebrated 35 years as a women’s leadership organization and with that celebration we were reminded of the reason the organization was formed and remains relevant today.  The struggle for equality has provided the backdrop for on-going efforts by women all over the world from the famous and powerful to those who, unnoticed, contributed mightily to create options, opportunities and substantial change for the roles women play.  With so much progress made to gain equality, why is it still illusive?

In a recent article in the New York Times titled Jump-Starting the Struggle for Equality by Philip N. Cohen (November 24, 2013) he states  “the labor force hit 46 percent female in 1994, and it hasn’t changed much since. Women’s full-time annual earnings were 76 percent of men’s in 2001, and 77 percent in 2011. Although women do earn a majority of academic degrees, their specialties pay less, so that earnings even for women with doctorate degrees working full time are 77 percent of men’s.”

The reason the gap stubbornly persists is as much a result of traditional women’s careers not being sought by men (lack of pay) as it is a lack of work-family policies that promote gender equality.  The fact that women have moved in large numbers into male-dominated fields along with a rejection of traditional gender roles belies the notion that women aren’t ready, willing and able to step up to any role they choose.

Although the focus on gender bias has had a positive effect in terms of eliminating obvious deliberate exclusion, ready, willing and able doesn’t guarantee a woman will be recognized for the skills and talents she brings to the table.  What has replaced deliberate exclusion is called the second-generation gender bias.  This occurs when powerful but subtle and often invisible barriers arise from cultural assumptions and organizational structures and practices of interaction that inadvertently benefit men.

We find this in the dearth of role models for aspiring women leaders, gendered career paths where work is structured or designed to fit the traditional man’s lifestyle, women’s lack of access to networks and sponsors and double standards for measuring competencies for women versus men (successful men are assertive, decisive and independent, successful women are nice, caretaking and unselfish).

Promoting women’s opportunities has been a hallmark of Cable for 35 years.  We certainly are known for our networking.  We have become increasingly focused on providing our members with leadership opportunities and professional development.  No matter the path she chooses, a successful woman must know how to influence without being aggressive, how to be decisive without being exclusive, how to embrace her gender uniqueness without being trapped by gender stereotypes.
Cable is there for you with leadership opportunities.  Get involved in a committee, be a part of the Board of Directors.
Cable is there for you with professional development.  Enroll in the Executive Leadership Academy.
Cable is there for you to take the next step in your professional aspirations.  Help us work for more Women on Boards.  Apply for a spot in the next Corporate Board Academy and prepare yourself to be board ready.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”    — Longfellow

Donna Yurdin, SPHR is President of Credo Management Consulting and is a consultant specializing in Diversity and Inclusion.