Bees at work (XVII). Women in the workplace. A legacy of double slavery.
Today´s post is one of the most personal articles that I have written in this saga. I won’t use numbers, or data analysis. Which is something that my most automated peers, the partners at Bain, BCG, Deloitte, McKinsey, and PWC are sufficiently pursuing from their diverse bureaus and regional offices all over the world. For technocrat data analysis and facts, please read all the bibliography I have gathered which is enclosed in the final paragraph of this episode. Let´s begin.
Women´s biology. There is something unique in each woman. Only we can carry on a baby inside our womb. This is something that no man can manage to do. In consequence, our biological features prepare us, naturally not just to conceive, but for the role of becoming mothers at our core. I am not a mom yet, because I have never experienced the miracle of gestation inside my belly; but I have a mother, aunts, cousins, friends, and acquaintances who are moms; so, I will speak as a witness of what I have seen in other women, so close to my life, using a tone of us, the pronoun “we”. The natural undertaking of motherhood in us, when we have babies, is what makes us completely “one of a special kind treasure”, an abysm of poles apart from men.
Biologically our brains are also rewired differently. An experiment. And this can be perceived by any trained manager in any company or corporation. For example, let´s pick the example of a sister and a brother, same age, working both at a consulting company. These two are twins that were born from the same couple, grew up sharing the same backgrounds and adventures in that specific family neighborhood and social group. Both share the same IQ and have received the same education at home and at school since kindergarten (same professors, and same equivalent grades). Both have gone to the same universities, studying the same undergraduate degree too. They have worked in the same companies for a few years, decided to go for an MBA at the same business school. Then they joined a consulting firm until they got promoted to be working together in the same team. She got married a year ago and is pregnant now. And her brother is dating another consultant lady but has no plans to tie the knot yet. One day, the manager, decides to appoint both, to a consulting appraisal experiment. The boss asks them to keep a diary, notes of all the processes, steps of what they do meanwhile solving it. Separately. The boss isolates them (so they don´t have any possibility to talk to each other, cheat or send WhatsApp messages). The manager then is meticulously observant of the way both brains (brother and sister) are disentangling the assignment. After a few days, the manager immediately perceives there is something different in their way to solve the issue. Why? Why is it that? Well, simply because he is a man, and she is a woman. Even under the same variables of growing up and education. Women think differently, women have a brain that makes us unique.
The manager discerns that the woman, the female twin has a more integral rounded approach, with tons of open-handedness assumptions, her variables are generous, beyond the economics. Her solution has a forthcoming guideline that includes the impact of several generations ahead. Why? She shows generosity, benevolence, consideration of goodwill aspects, educational compassion for the community in which the project will be developed. The manager, confirms, that women care for the prospect of what is upcoming, all the time, more than in the present. The fact that we were conceived to give life, plus the fact that she is expecting a baby, makes her naturally caring. We, women, think not in series, as men (one thing after the other one), but in parallel multitasking that enables us to comply with distinct activities together: we can work, do home chores, have babies, grew-up with our kids, go shopping, work hard, stay on top of our parents´ issues, and do everything all at once. We, women, embrace the situations with such a grace charm, and we are always trying to find intermediate moderate democratic solutions. No matter if our parents trained us under the same set of circumstances. In this specific case, the male twin showed in his assignment, the fantastic set of instrumental qualities for taking action as soon as possible. Meanwhile, his sister demonstrated expressive qualities for long-term slow fluidity, with childbearing attitudes toward people, otherwise never encountered (as nurturing, gentleness, mothering) in any man puzzle solving.
Psychologically women are also different. I am not a psychologist, but if you ask one, regardless if the professional pursues a behaviorist, humanist, cognitive, sociocultural, biological, psychoanalytical, or evolutionary perspective; there is something in women´s brains that make us believe and discern differently, something that makes us analyze distinctly. And this happens between boys and girls who grow in the same social-psychological-economic setup. Now reflect on how different we think if we are socially trained to do things otherwise. Even in the XXI century, there are societies, families, and schools, which prepare men separately than women. Men are prepared to be self-assured, decisive, with autocratic leadership abilities; meanwhile, women are prepared to be of only a nurturing kind, with a desire to be dependent on their future husbands.
Imagine how unfair our societies are: In many cultures, there is a great celebration at the arrival of a new son; while if the birth provides a place to a girl, plans for the daughter includes reducing her self-esteem, to making her a beggar at the mercy of others, helpless, in need of a man to gain some kind of value, or what is worst; in some societies, the father nonetheless sells his little girls off in marriage for a good price as if the petites mademoiselles are a merchandise object. Awful!
The story of us in the workplace. When preparing this publication, I found an old book published by the United States Bureau of Education in 1914, by Benjamin Andrews, “Education for the home”(1). This document is an irrefutable description of how women were educated around 100 years ago, in one of the most advanced countries on earth. Women who had the possibility to study were destined to the career of “home administration or home economics”. This continued like that for decades of decades. Another evidence: For baby boomers, which is my mother´s generation, the role of the woman was to marry as soon as possible after finishing high school and after completing a good-looking “lady” diploma such as Secretarial-administrative studies or home administration diploma. In the 1970s, women were trained to grasp some level of education, but never at the same level as men. Some women were outliers, the academic rebels, probably the teachers, some scientists or those baby-boomer politicians that you have seen in the American senate, the congress, and some public administration positions, but all in all, there were certain careers in which women did not have any chance for success. Our role was predetermined for marriage and kids. So when I was born, even though it was in the 1970s, my pre-destiny was also to become a wife with some educational training and that was it.
Practically we also hold 6,000 years of captivity in which women were not considered as a valuable workforce to ascend to levels of the Corporate-Suite (directors, partners, and members of Board of Directors), or to be business owners or President of a Board of Directors. There are some exceptions, of course, but in a minimum number of cases
Women’s work for the last 6,000 years has been always motherhood and home economics/administration. For us, our role was conceived to be at home. Our childbearing capabilities again. For the sake of keeping ourselves to make our husbands happier and content, for the own good of our kids, for cooking, for the greater good of dealing with all the house administration issues, and for cultivating our own hobbies. We also were trained by our mothers to practice femineity leisure pursuits that were related to crafting or arts. However, in other developed economies, the upper and middle class took the pioneering force to send girls to university in massive numbers, particularly in the United States and some places in Europe.
In the XX century, a lady of respect did not have to work, but her man. If the wife worked, then it was assumed that her husband wasn´t worthy of distinction. The figure of the man in childbearing was practically null, still is void in many societies, and only for the weekends. Women took the role of house chiefs. If the household belonged to the upper-class, women were acting as managers of the house staff servers. If the household fitted to the middle-class, probably some kind of help was hired; otherwise, below that level, women had to be the maids at home. In one phrase: women were the domestic maids of the slaves. Double slavery.
The maids of the slaves. Women who have been able to work since the 1970s are new. This is so new but so fresh, as contemporary as half of my life in the top corporate roles. Basically, women have been the domestic slaves of the strivers for 6,000 years. This is our legacy from the past. Thousands of books and historical movies verify and attest to it. So it is so comprehensive that we are even below the beginner’s line when it comes to finding out a way to dignify our well-being. Practically, it has been on the shoulders of the women of Generation X (my generation), the first testing loops on how to solve our condition of double slavery. We have been the first block of critical mass educated women who began to experience in the real world how to change our situation. Some baby boomers feminists tried to change the premises for us, but they got it wrong, by tying the knot with the idea to transform us to be men. That is why these ladies of the 1960s failed us. But they are not guilty of it. They did not know how to do it. They couldn´t foresee that we were going to continue being attacked so ferociously by the Baby-boomers’ traditional societies as feminists because they confused us… The feminist liberation bad strategy ruined our generation X life because we were erroneously tagged. The “feminist baby boomers” did not know how to fight for women´s human rights, and they thought that by acting as men they were going to change the situation. Nope. That wasn´t the way: we are not men. We are women. And many of us still want to be moms. And we still want to work too. We don´t need to convert our brains into men´s brains, because we are delightful women, and we can´t fake to be what we are not.
In my personal case, I am a supporter of the complementary roles premise. In my personal case, I have tried to ignite the “complementary theory” of women and men that expresses that women and men share all the tasks together. Women and Men play complementary roles during their common journey. We (generation X) have been the pioneers of a genuine change in the workplace from the complementary idea of us. We are not men, we are women. And that notion of being different requires having the right to substantial complementary agenda of meaningful work. So we require a significant smartest strategy.
To try to be an integral woman has been very hard. Even though I demonstrated with actions, year by year that I was a full supporter of the complementary theory between men and women. Just because of my heart’s desire to excel in searching for a job that makes me happy, above what I studied; I was accused of horrendous things which were never true! My career as a banker first, then as a “strategic consultant” was crashed, demolished, destroyed. But I continued trying to do meaningful work, against all odds.
Still now, just because I enjoy writing for you, or produce books or sell my watercolors; I am still blamed unfairly for being “a World Bank Spy”, “transexual”, “with PTSD”, “ambitious”, “too intense” or “crazy bipolar” or other similar terms of a “bad reputation lady” and tons of other unimaginable blasphemies. These accusations come from a VIP stingy powerful ruler living in town who believes that women do not have the right to pursue a meaningful job. This ruler (who is a real Baby-Boomer) condemned me to don´t have babies and to be single for 20 years. For her, women are practically designed to be “the maids of her puppet slaves” and/or NGO charity patrons if the case appeared to be required by the husband. I was considered as a second-class resident by the stingy ruler, and she never wanted a woman to be smartest than her son in town. That is why she (and her people) have been humiliating me for 20 years.
At least, after all, Alex Guillermo Lozano Artolachipi (51 years old) comprehends that I am not a devious maid. He knows I am perfectly heterosexual, and he also understands that I am not telling lies, that I have wished so much to have a family with him in parallel to my job activities since he met me in Costa Rica in 2001. I have prayed for a miracle for years. 20 years by now. And I expect Alejandro to come to help me soon.
There is a lot to do for the next women generations. I already told you that we are below newbies in discovering the way to overcome our legacy title of “maid of the slaves”. I am a witness to the painful consequences of the wrong feminist extremes that our women’s predecessors’ strategy created. By fighting with feminism, they crucified us too. So, women of the next generations will need a soothing step-by-step new long-term strategy (think in 300 years ahead). This will require a super-smart delicate strategic plan that can reassure us as women, not as men. We have the right to be considered part of the equation and be helped by our men, in everything we do. Home economics is for both, to be shared by the couple. Meaningful work is for both, to be handled 50%-50% by men and women. Our kids are for both, to be partaken equally by man and women together…. And our religious, social-economical-political systems must change at the core to help us to share our tasks in the society, for this to happen. If we want to stop our double slavery role, men are part of the solution. Alone we won´t be able to do it and we will create another mess for the next young mademoiselles. There is so much to write about this. I will stop here. We will continue with women in the workplace part II next Tuesday. See you then.
Strategic reflection music section.
Why did we pick Stevie Wonder: Stevie Wonder has been one of the first African Americans, that I encountered in the radio music repertoire of my teen years. The fact that he is blind not only took my attention, but he played the piano so beautifully without looking at the piano keys. That was the time when I was learning to play the piano. So, I admired him enormously. The song “I´ve just called to say I love you”, was “the song” when we were in the first stages of experiencing dates and courtship in high school. Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie gave us beautiful ballads, to never forget.
Songs for today belong to Lionel Richie. The first song is “Hello”. The second is “Stuck on you” officially recorded by Richie. And the third one is “Endless Love” interpreted by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey. Three gorgeous romantic pop ballads kindled with so much love, respect, and grandeur. I am sure you now understand why the youngest teens with substance go back in time to look for good music to the 1980s and 1990s. Enjoy!
Thank you for reading to me. See you next Tuesday. Blessings!
Sources of reference used for this publication
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, most of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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