I had a strange encounter while getting my winter tires swapped. I brought my laptop along and sat at a communal table to work while I waited.
Another patron interrupted my work wanting to talk about an article in an advice column. A woman wrote that her fiancée manipulated that her name wasn’t on the house deed, even though she contributed to the equity. He couldn’t see how someone could get into that situation. Sadly, I could. But, that’s for another day.
The conversation flowed to differences in women and men in the workplace, a discussion on diverse teams and women in technology
It was really engaging. He was honestly trying to understand.
Empowerment is important, but is it enough
I mentioned Sheryl Sandberg encouraging women to take a seat at the table, adding that there was also a need to welcome them. All too often the pressure is on women to come forward and break barriers. Important empowerment. But should they be the only ones doing the work to bring down the barriers.
He cited Sweden’s efforts towards equality in the workplace. Saying that even with this in place, women still enter nurturing roles. Thinking women more naturally suited to them if they go in that direction. Didn’t that show that.
I looked at it differently. I believe more work needs to be done. Young girls are often channeled in that direction. We need to do more at a younger age to encourage girls to enter non-traditional roles, especially STEM. Time will show show the real impacts. The full impact may take generations.
On diverse teams everyone learns from exposure to the other
Also, traditionally masculine roles can benefit from an injection of characteristics that are considered feminine. A great side effect of diverse teams is that the expectation that a role is feminine or masculine disappears. We can focus on the skills and attributes needed. Male leaders learn empathy and to nurture employees. Female leaders learn to step into their power.