Setting: Sunday morning at the Original House of Pancakes, Northwest Highway unit. Newsprint litters a table. Bitey gulps coffee and tries for eye contact with Snappy, who has just done the crossword.
Bitey: Hey, Snaps — did you read the "The Glass Ceiling" thing in The New York Times? On the page where they Share Their Views on the World with Us? Huh?
Bitey: But you'd like it! It says things like women make up almost half of law firm associates but just 15 percent of "equity partners", six percent in big firms.
Bitey: Don't say that, Snappy! Just because you've done so great!
Snappy: Does it say why?
Bitey: Yes. It talks about a "presumption that women are less devoted to their jobs", "the buddy system" that results in better work going to men, the "stigma" of working on a flex schedule, and the need to "have transparent systems for evaluating, assigning and paying lawyers."
Bitey: [Heavy sigh.] Maybe you'd like this one better — "For Women, Parity is Still a Subtly Steep Climb".
Snappy: You astonish me. What does it say?
Bitey: Some of the same stuff. About "a corporate environment" instead of the law biz. Also mentions that people need "sponsors" to climb up to the top tier in a company.
Snappy: [Raising eyebrows.] Hand it here, you.
Snappy: Hmm. This bit looks pretty good:
”Women tend to be overmentored and undersponsored,” says Ms. Hewlett, who has done research to find out why. One reason is that women are more uncomfortable using their work friendships to land a deal or to join a team, she says. For men, those kinds of interactions tend to be second nature.
Another tripwire is more insidious because it is awkward to discuss. Most of the people in senior management are men, but many are very reluctant to take on women as protégées because of the sexual dynamics, Ms. Hewlett says. They fear that gossip will spread if they are seen regularly with a junior female colleague.
Companies must face this uncomfortable reality head-on, she says. They need to make sponsorship a transparent and integral part of the culture, so that when a male senior executive is seen with a lower-level manager, it will be assumed that he’s a sponsor.
“When women have a sponsor they really do move up,” Ms. Hewlett says, “but you can’t just be a wallflower and wait for someone to pick you.” Actively working to find a sponsor is good practice for a higher leadership position, she adds, because it is all about “leveraging the power relationships in your life.”
Bitey: Can you use that big of an quote without infringing copyright?
Snappy: Don't know. We'll just have to see.