As a 26-year-old female working as a project manager at a small startup, I have, in my limited years of experience at IT companies, learned that it is indeed a boys club.
I read a harrowing statistic the other day that threw out some ridiculous figure that less than 1 percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are women. One percent. I think it’s a statistic that all women recognize; yet, they don’t necessarily believe.
I am not one of those feminist types to rant and rave. I put my head down and work hard for the meager salary I earn, fully knowing the guy across from me holding the same position probably makes almost double. It’s hard to get angry about it when I am aware that it is a societal norm indicative of our species.
Ultimately, that is part of the problem.
The hardest working woman I know is my mother. After having two kids back to back at the young age of 20, she still managed to put herself through school and work full time -- along with the help of my father who was a stock broker at the time.
She climbed her way to the top, dealing with crude men who berated her, harassed her and tried to manipulate her. These companies promised her the world, and ultimately failed to give her anything that was agreed upon in her supposedly ironclad contract.
Today, my mother is the executive vice president of a multi-million-dollar software company that has recognized her worth. She has even made the list of CRN’s 100 Top Channel Chief’s of the year, for the last three years in a row.
My mother has made me the woman I am today, and I can honestly say I know she is proud of me for paving my own way, yet still following in her lady boss footsteps.
I look at people like my mother as motivational and inspirational. I want to be as successful and accomplished as she is now, knowing full well that it may take me 20 more years to get there.
I urge all women to appreciate the lengths other women, like my mother, have gone to advance themselves to the next level -- not just as women, but as human beings. We need to believe in each other and support each other.
There's one quote that comes to mind that I especially take to heart; it was all I could think about when I was getting laid off by a female director who had just effectively fired the rest of my colleagues:
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” - Madeleine Albright
If anything, being let go gave me even more desire to succeed, and if I saw my director again, I would thank her. As she would probably have a look of bewilderment on her face, I would thank her for reminding me of exactly who I don’t want to be. In life, you have to take the bull by the horns, sail rough seas and take the road less traveled.
I think we women owe it to ourselves. It might not be easy, but it is worth it.
Photo via We Heart It