Women's Issues Are Not Just Women's Issues
General experience indicates that 'husky' girls-those who are just a little on the heavy side-are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters." This gem of advice comes from the "1943 Guide to Hiring Women."
Women were told it was their patriotic duty to get out of the kitchen and get into the factories to replace the men who were fighting in World War II. Fortunately, as more women have entered the workforce, the kind of thinking that produces advice on husky vs. slim hiring has changed.
Generally speaking, male executives have respect for the work product of their female peers. At the same time, there are certain unwritten rules about men during work hours that women may not be aware of. I found The Male Factor by Shaunti Feldhahn particularly interesting. She surveyed and interviewed men at all levels of the corporate structure, allowing them to remain anonymous to really get at what they thought about their experiences working with women.
What she found was not so much sexism as misunderstanding of each other. I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary last week. As any of you who have been in a long-term relationship know, men and women speak a different language. This translates in the office too, maybe even more so.
Still, some of the disparity in the workplace is justified. On the average week, 5.1% of women were absent from work for reasons other than injury or illness versus their male counterparts at 2.7%, according to the Department of Labor. About.com blogger Susan M. Heathfield predicted women will continue to have "primary responsibility for home and family matters, thus affecting work attendance negatively."
The American Enterprise Institute has published Women's Figures: The Economic Progress of Women in America, which states that childless women at age 30 earn 95 cents to a man's dollar, but working mothers earn 75% as much as men.
Women aren't the only ones to benefit from this. As WACUL has pointed out from the McKinsey & Company "Women Matter" report, companies with three or more women in senior management ranked higher in all areas of organizational excellence studied than companies with no women at the top.
Credit unions have done better than their for-profit counterparts. Just 2.5% of CEOs in the American finance and insurance industries are women. Among credit unions, the overall figure is 55%, according to CUNA's 2009 Staff Salary Survey. Delve deeper and you see that just 24% of CEOs of billion-dollar credit unions are women and only 12% of credit union CEOs at institutions between $500 million and $1 billion are women. Conversely, more than half of the CEOs at credit unions under $50 million in assets, which CUNA measured at various sub-categories, were women.