I have a splendid sign over my desk. It is bright pink with white letters: “All men are created equal … poor things.”
I have believed for years that women should not aspire to equality with men, nor should any minority aspire to equality with “norm”. Women are better than that. So are blacks. So are Hispanics. So are all other minorities.
Whenever I forget this little lesson in life, something seems to crop up to remind me. Most recently, I read an interview that BusinessWeekOnline conducted with Marianne Sensale-Guerin, Small Business Administration’s Small Businessperson of Year. In response to question on why she thought SBA chose her, Ms. Sensale-Guerin said, “…I think they looked closely at how I treat my employees. I pride myself on taking care of my employees – they have to have insurance, flexible hours, vacation time. We live in a world where you have both parents working, and as an employer, I’m very sensitive to those issues.”
And Ms. Sensale-Guerin’s goal? To be successful enough so that she can sell her business to her employees – they, then, could reap benefits of their hard work while she retired.
How many employers have you ever worked for that were so sensitive to present AND future needs of employees? How many employers even care?
No, I am very glad that women are not equal to men. Women bring a whole new perspective to business world. And it’s about time.
I’m very glad, too, that we have managed to get past early years of “women’s lib”. Back then I was one of early members in businesswomen’s association of Silicon Valley. I am sad to report that we once devoted an entire meeting to talking about what kind of scarf/tie to wear with our business suits: should it be soft and floppy, or short and stiff? Worse yet, consensus was that it should be as much like a man’s tie as possible, so that we could “fit in.”
We’ve come a long way, baby. And it’s about time.
My grandmother was an entrepreneur before word was invented, as yours may have been. Many women were left alone to fend for themselves and raise their families. My grandmother ran a gas station and managed a small farm, with two stickers on her window that she was immensely proud of: one from Army, and one from Navy, each showing she had a son in their service. That was during WW II. She had raised those two sons herself with her gas station and small farm, and continued with both until her death a decade later.