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July 9, 2013 — It has been almost 100 years since women have earned their status as a contributing part of society, yet it seems that we have made little progress climbing the corporate ladder. Are men holding women down, or are we limiting our own potential?

Women make up 57% of college grads and account for 63% of the population with master’s degrees. So how does this translate into the business world? It seems that women should be running the corporate world with stats like this, yet somehow, we play a very small role in C-suite business. Women account for only 14% of executive-level positions, and only 21 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

So what can we attribute this disconnect to? Is there a fundamental problem in the treatment of genders in the developmental stages of life? Are there genetic differences that can account for this disconnect? The fact is that there ARE fundamental differences between the sexes. There are reasons that we are the way we are. Over time, society has taught us that “womanly” qualities such as empathy and compassion make us less likely to be strong leaders. In fact, some studies directly correlate these qualities with the fact that women are less likely to strive for high-powered executive positions. Perhaps the issue with self-esteem is a function of the media, though, and not to be blamed on biology.

Although we may not still be watching the blatantly stereotypical ads of the ‘50s outright stating that a woman’s role is in the home, we are still faced with media shaping our own opinions of ourselves. As much as we think things have changed over the past half-century, women are still taught to question themselves daily. Every ad for skin products, hair care and beauty urge you to be a better, prettier you. Cleaning products still feature a stay-at-home mom cleaning, with time to spare. What does she do with free time? Read gossip magazines of course. Furthermore, men are still portrayed in ads as heading off to work, returning home and facing issues in the office.

While not being offensive outright, these ads don’t show our full potential. They perpetuate the stereotypes that women are only focused on beauty, acceptance and family. While these are all relevant topics for women, they are also relevant topics for people. Women are also just as focused on careers, success and independence, yet rarely featured in ads promoting products of this nature.

Women are highly loyal and want to be respected. Why not look to reach successful women when they are in a success mindset? Place your brand where it will be unexpected, but refreshing. Make it clear that your brand respects women as a crucial and intelligent segment of its audience. Above all, blow up your sacred cows and lingering stereotypes. Want to know how to create explosive messaging that will get women talking? Contact Shaun…

Sarah Simmons About the Author
Sarah Simmons Media Supervisor

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