Monday, December 10, 2007

The Death of the Glass Ceiling?

In an article on The Globe and Mail website Margarent Wente puts forward what, to me, is an extremely inaccurate agument. Wente claims that the glass ceiling is no longer the problem faced by women--in fact to her it is part of the now fantasy of "the patriarchy."

Wente argues that women's equality and our gradual, but, according to her, current 'equality' of access and success in all the fields where men previously dominated means that the glass ceiling does not adequately explain women's inequality in the work world. I would disagree that women have "penetrated" all the bastions of Wente's imaginary patriarchy, politics being a case in point.

Furthermore, I don't know what kind of experience Wente has had in her own life, but I would disagree with her argument for women's willingness to 'trust' and compromise. In my experience, women, when placed in 'team' environments tend to compete with each other as much if not more than men. To me, this derives from the teachings of a patriarchy that has taught us to compete with each in order to gain their privileges and rewards--as defined by them. Wente's insecurity of Manhood is projected into the female world precisely because the patriarchy is not dead--and may never die...

Thus, it is important women inform themselves because our equality lies in our action. Reaching the top and choosing to leave is one matter, never aspiring to it because of complacency is an entirely different one.

While I can't contest her academic's findings, I find Wente's argument problematic on many counts, and will refrain from summarizing it here because I think it would become an extended analysis. I encourage you to read it. For me, it was highly provocative.

I agree that men do tend to aspire to the Alpha Male position; but, I don't think we can exclude women from aspiring to the same--although perhaps for different reasons. Women's quest for power is most often a quest to legislate their own equality, since more often than not, the other sex will not do it for them.

While Wente attempts to refrain from gender essentialism she does not succeed: indeed, the crux of her argument lies in the fact that, for women, taking chance is "reproductively stupid."
All those who feel like a womb please raise their hands.

It is high time women became the heroes of their own stories...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a pathetic article from Wente. Perhaps she could read something like the following "Why Do So Few Women Reach the Top of Big Law Firms?" printed in the NYT in 2006 to understand that the Glass Ceiling hasn't disappeared...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/business/yourmoney/19law.html?_r=1&ei=5070&en=86cbdcefb77b6efb&ex=1143349200&oref=slogin&emc=eta1&pagewanted=all