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The Global Woman’s Crusade

Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times article “The Woman’s Crusade” of August 17th is very moving, about the plight of women and girls in our world.  Hope you’ll check it out here.


In response to Kristof’s “Half the Sky” competition for compelling stories of individuals who are empowering girls and women in the developing world, I submitted for consideration my inspiring friend and colleague Theresa Wilson, Founder of The Blessing Basket Project.  Here’s my post on Kristof’s blog.


The New York Times Magazine this Sunday is a special issue focused on women in the developing world, including an extract from “Half the Sky,” the new book by Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn.   May it become a true movement that betters the lives of girls and women everywhere.


It’s truly amazing what one person can do to reduce world poverty and oppression. Each of us, in fact, can make a vast difference in our world. One small dream, followed by aligned action, changes everything.


Kristof’s work makes me want to do more, and be more, and it makes me think, “What else can I do today?”


May breakthrough be possible in ourselves and our world today,


Women Bullying Women at Work: Can We Reverse the Trend?

I was very happy to see that in a recent NY Times article, the widespread phenomenon of women bullying other women at work was explored in depth.  It touched on the various factors that contribute to and exacerbate women bullying women, and I’d like to add my two cents.


In my 18-year corporate life, I experienced a great deal of bullying from women, most of which came from female bosses and a handful of “equals” in the political hierarchy.  These experiences were traumatic, and I had no clue how to effectively navigate through them, mostly because they were so surprising and painful, and also because these women wielded great power and authority in the organization.  It felt like these ladies were “out to get me” or simply relished being cruel, but I always questioned how or why this could be.


I was, for the most part, strong and authoritative at work, and often, that strength would beget jealousy and anger from my female coworkers (interestingly, not from my male colleagues or bosses, who seemed to enjoy and respect the strength and confidence).


Once, one of my female counterparts in marketing indicated to me – in a cruel way – that an email I had sent to senior management (about my belief that we needed to explore a new business model as the current one was at risk of obsolescence), had been the “nail in my coffin.”  I hadn’t known I was in a coffin!  I realize now that she was an active participant in building this “coffin” and driving the nail even further with her mighty hammer!


Please don’t get me wrong – I’m no saint.  I did my share of back-stabbing too.  But after years of work (therapy training helped!), I’ve gained critical awareness of when I’m at risk of putting other women down.  Also, I feel better about myself than I did in the past, which makes room for empathy and compassion rather than cruelty.  I have a new-found vigilance about not allowing that cruel, back-stabbing, insecure little girl in me get the better of me, when I feel afraid or threatened.  I slip up sometimes, but I’m working on it.


So why do women hurt other women at work?  I could write a whole book about this, but I believe there are some potent underlying reasons:


·     Women are experiencing enormous pressure and stress (more now than ever), and haven’t learned effective ways to deal with it, so they turn on others

·     Women target other women because they feel insecure, and also believe women won’t fight back as hard as men will

·     Women continually feel threatened and anxious in their positions in the workplace, and have a mentality of  “it’s you or me” with regard to women

·     Corporations, from the top, often encourage this type of competitive warfare and infighting

·     There are precious few forums for women at work to experience each other as supportive, empathetic, and encouraging

·     From an early age, girls/women have been culturally trained to deal with their anger and insecurity through insidious ways — back-stabbing and gossiping, etc. — rather than dealing with their problems and conflicts head-on, directly, and overtly.


I’d love to see in my lifetime a reversal of this damaging trend for women at work (and in the world at large).  Can women evolve, stretch, and grow to the point where their deepest wish is to help and support other women, rather than hurt and diminish them? Can they learn to deal with their own insecurities and anxieties in more positive ways?


What do you think is at the heart of women bullying women at work, and what can we do about it?  Please share – we need to fuel a powerful dialog on this issue, and continue to create positive movement.





Will Women Outnumber Men in the Workforce?

Hi Friends:
Yesterday, in light of the NY Times article, “As Layoffs Surge, Women May Pass Men in Job Force” (see, I was interviewed on Fox Business Network TV, discussing this recession trend of layoffs hitting men harder than women, and women potentially outnumbering men in the workplace.

We discussed the following:
1) Will the trend continue
2) If so, what does it mean for women, and how will it affect our lives and work
3) What can families do to keep afloat financially

Briefly, my views are that this trend will very likely continue, allowing women to be more heavily represented in the nation’s payroll, for the first time in American history.  But for this trend to be beneficial for both men and women, some key things have to change.  Primarily, we need collectively to view this as a potential positive outcome – a change to be embraced for our growth and expansion (both men and women’s), not resisted as a terrible turn of events.

This trend represents great change on many levels for women. For women, access to new opportunities, new experiences of power, authority, and a majority voice in some cases that could help women eventually shape their lives differently, and the lives of other women.  For men, a shift in a power dynamic that may bring great new opportunity for growth.

A lasting trend like this will require, however, a transformation in long-standing rigid gender roles. Research has shown that women are still shouldering the majority of domestic responsibility, even when they work, and even when they are the primary breadwinners. From my view, a revision in thinking and behavior needs to occur in both men and women to allow for women to step up the new responsibilities of caring for their households financially. To do so, women have to walk away from their pattern of “overfunctioning” – doing more than is necessary, more than is appropriate, and more than is healthy. They also have to gain strength and confidence in being in a position, and having a voice, of power — in the family and at work.  Finally, women will greatly benefit from developing a stronger, deeper capability in earning and managing money – a true “money-mindset” – that will serve them well in all times and eras. 

Further, now’s the time for women to understand that women are not “men in skirts” – we will be less constrained now to lead, manage, and work in ways that are inauthentic or not appropriate for us. We need to resist the temptation to do things just as our male colleagues or counterparts have done it, if in fact there might be a different and better way.

Finally, regarding staying afloat in tough financial times, we all have to balance what needs to be done, with what we want to do. We may need to take work now that we wouldn’t have two years ago…work that helps us meet our financial obligations – work that may not compensate us as we wish, or match our skills or abilities perfectly. These are tough times, and these times call for strong measures. We have to find work where we can, and modify our spending and other aspects of our lives to meet these needs.

But the key is to remember that this too shall pass – a brighter future is waiting. My hope is that this future will allow women who want to, to take more of the lead than ever before.  Build for your future now – figure out what you want the years ahead to hold, and get on a course of planning for it (of skill-building, taking on new responsibilities and projects, shifting your roles at home to accommodate growth, learning to earn and manage your money capably, and building your network) so that when the time is right, you will be able to do the work you long to, in the way that best fits you, your priorities and needs.

I’d love your thoughts on both the article, and the views stated here. Please share them!
Thank you,

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