HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Gender & Orientation » History of Feminism (Group) » My Life in a Binder

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 08:29 AM

My Life in a Binder

By Christine Jacobs | October 24, 2012

The author, after three decades maneuvering through corporate America, writes about what it means to be one of a binder full of women, and how to break free.

Mitt Romney’s comment in the second debate made many laugh but to me it was a summary of my 30 year career. There were always the likely candidates for promotion—white men who had the same background as the decision makers—and then there were the “diversity” candidates. We were seen as stretch candidates and only considered because we made the team picture look better.

Despite my engineering degree and MBA from Stanford and a solid record of performance and success, every time I was considered for a promotion or a new job, there had to be conversations about the riskiness of the choice or even how to avoid giving me the job.

Being in the binders meant that I was considered for roles but never the preferred choice. It is high time to move from being considered diversity candidates to real candidates, but the numbers are still not with us. We have not achieved critical mass in business since we make up only 3 to 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and about 15 percent of corporate directors. Being in the binders has not led to equity but has kept alive tokenism. For any significant breakthrough, we need new thinking. Here are five strategies to get things moving in the right direction:

Embrace Generational Changes I recently spoke to a group at an industrial company on the history of corporate women’s programs. Several men in the audience talked about hiring difficulties due to their non-diverse staff. Many new college graduates—male and female—commented that the company’s employees looked nothing like their diverse academic classes and that the largely male atmosphere was strange and uncomfortable. Further, with women representing 15 to 20 percent of engineering students, can companies ignore a large part of the talent pool? The millennial generation has been relatively unconstrained by traditional roles and open to many changes in society. Shouldn’t companies listen and let them drive us to a new corporate culture that encompasses a more equitable society?


1 replies, 594 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply My Life in a Binder (Original post)
ismnotwasm Oct 2012 OP
seabeyond Oct 2012 #1

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:10 AM

1. We do not need to learn how to work in a man’s world.


White men need to learn how to be comfortable in an atmosphere of diversity

Support Other Women Traditionally, women in business often felt that since there was only a token “diversity” role, they were in competition with other women. The new thinking has to be positive and active advocacy of women by women. My role model in the political world is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who uses the strength of her position to actively advocate for other women candidates and for women to run for office.

love this one.

Make Noise

i like this article. i like reading articles like this. we need to bring this to our norm and we can only do it, like they use it in a negative way in our world, by constantly bring noise.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread