Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Postponed and Evolving Post about Girls/ Are We Giving Them the Right Stuff

It all started a few weeks ago when I was looking at a Bloomberg Business Week. I flipped through about 15 pages in a not particularly thick publication before I found a woman -- any woman -- in anything other than ads. I had looked at page after page of mostly white men who were heads of companies or serving on boards and wondered why more women weren't on these pages.

I had gotten this far when our daughter saw what I was writing and told me this wasn't really related to college admissions. I thought that maybe she was right, so I put it aside.

The post is back, after I read some facts backing up my concern. In the current issue of the same magazine, an article asks, Business Plan Contests: Where Are the Women?" It's about contests for student entrepreneurs, of which there are about 100 in the U.S. Apparently only about 20 percent of the entries are from women.

Entrepreneurship experts blame a lack of confidence and bluster, fear of risk and an ongoing lack of women in engineering. And guess where the problem starts! With us, in our girls' childhood. As one woman says, "You have to be able to toot your horn in a way that we're not seeing women doing." We don't seem to teach that skill to girls.

Some of these competitions are now focusing on increasing women's participation. Meanwhile, what can we do as parents to ensure that our daughters are ready, and eager, to take chances in their careers? What can we do to let them see and grasp options that go beyond the standard "girl" choices.

I can't believe we still must ask these questions in 2011.

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