Women in Banking, and Other Careers – (Womenomics seems right on the mark)

Recently, Sue Moore of UBS Financial Services (and a regular at the First Friday Book Synopsis), sent me a link to this excellent article (click on title to read article):

THE 25 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN BANKING:  Taking Charge in Turbulent Times.

The article includes a paragraph referencing Womenomics, which I recently presented at the FFBS:  Here’s the paragraph:
In their recent book “Womenomics,” television journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman note that up to one-third of professional women take a breather from their careers at some point, and that MBAs are more likely than doctors or lawyers to choose to stay home with their children. The problem with this is crystallized in something Jack Welch said recently at a Society of Human Resources Management conference: that women who choose to get off the executive track are more likely to get passed over for top jobs when they are ready to return. “There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences,” Welch says.
This is damaging for the individual women, and could have a ripple effect on younger executives, Offereins (Diane Offereins, executive vice president of payment services at Discover Financial Services) fears. “I think it’s important to have women in the senior ranks because they think about hiring and promoting women,” she says.

(Our own Cheryl and Sara blogging team members gently suggested that Jack Welch should consider keeping his opinions to himself from now on.  Read their post, Past Time to Retire, Jack Welchhere).

The article ends with this paragraph about a women who made it (back up) to the top, even after a four year period away from the corporate world:

One interesting newcomer to the rankings is BBVA Compass retail chief Shelaghmichael Brown. Brown was honored for smoothly integrating a string of acquisitions in the Southeast and Southwest. What we didn’t know until we interviewed her was that, after years of moving up the executive ladder, Brown left banking for four years earlier this decade to help her then-teenage sons with their studies. CEOs, boards and Jack Welch take note: Brown is proof that even after an extended hiatus, women can maintain their drive and passion, and pick up where they left off.

What shall we think about all of this?  Last year was the year that women received the majority of degrees at every educational level (Associates, through all Graduate Degrees) in the U.S.  Their preparation, their talent, their skills are simply too important for companies and organizations to cast them aside if they take some time off – even a few years off.  The terrain is changing, and the business practices have to adjust to the new realities.  These women bring too much to the table, and business needs to find a way to let their talents back in when they are ready to return.

To fail to do so is just… what’s the word I’m looking for…  stupid.  It’s bad for people, and it’s bad for business.  It’s dehumanizing.

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