Neutralizing the ‘isms’

I’ve watched with interest the last couple of weeks as first Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and then Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg took some heat for “betraying the sisterhood.”

Mayer, Yahoo’s 37-year-old CEO, was hired last summer and last month the company’s human resources department announced that staff would no longer be able to work from home. She approved the new rule as she built a nursery next to her office.

Sandberg made the spotlight for her book, “Lean In” which was released March 11.

The book talks about women in the workplace. The March 18 edition of “Time” magazine used the headline, “Don’t hate her because she’s successful” and likened her book to a mission to “reboot feminism.”

Both women have been criticized for preaching that women should work harder and show up to their careers, while hiring an army of help around their homes and offices. They have the money and resources to make such a crusade possible.

But, what about the rest of us? Those who don’t have millions of dollars tucked away or huge stock shares in successful tech companies can’t always make things happen the way these women can.
I don’t care. The point is they think we should try.

Yes, sexism still exists. So does ageism, racism and more –isms than I can name. They likely always will. We can pass as many laws as we want to protect such portions of our society, but they don’t matter if the underlying stereotypes and misconceptions still exist.

We don’t live in a perfect world and the “can-she-have-it-all” debate will likely continue through my lifetime. I don’t care.

Mayer said in 2012 CNN interview, “I’m not a woman at Google, I’m a geek at Google. If you can find something that you’re really passionate about, whether you’re a man or a woman comes a lot less in play. Passion is a gender-neutralizing force.”

I agree.

Kristen Czaban is managing editor of The Sheridan Press.

About

Kristen Czaban

Kristen Czaban joined The Sheridan Press staff in 2008 and covered beats including local government, cops and courts and the energy industry. In 2012, she was promoted and now serves as the managing editor for The Press. Czaban has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

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