Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.
Our June cover story will be about outstanding women in our industry and company cultures that support their success. It’s my fault that it’s overdue.
Not that I’ve lacked sympathy for the plight of women and the infuriating garbage they put up with daily. But in over-thinking the issues over the years, I had felt that honoring women for their outstanding work might somehow be condescending to them. Don’t ask me to explain that; I can’t. But I believed it. Now, based on watching the news and having many conversations with women, I don’t believe it anymore.
I was also bothered when other magazines seemed to pander to advertisers when one of their own was being honored. That was based on my belief that some of the men pitching the ads were, themselves, pretty darn sexist. It seemed cynical and hypocritical to me. But I was being horribly stupid. And it shouldn’t have held me back from honoring women who thrive in this male-dominated jungle.
So, I’m sorry. Really. But let me add here that back in 1973, I got into trouble with the newspaper where I worked because I refused to cover the Miss Coast Guard Contest. Supposed to be a plum assignment, I felt it was sexist and wouldn’t go. All hell broke loose, someone else was sent, and for years thereafter a couple of male reporters on staff insisted I had to be “queer.” Whatever.
I’ve asked Denise Leathers, our editor, to do the June cover story for us. I’ve also started making women the subjects of The Endcap, the page that appears opposite our inside back covers. So much still needs to be done. Have you seen how relatively few women there are at industry seminars and cocktail parties lately? Or in leadership positions?
Kate Manne, the Cornell University professor who recently wrote “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny,” argues that misogyny is not about male hostility or hatred toward women. Instead, she says, it’s about controlling and punishing women who challenge male dominance. As she sees it, misogyny rewards women who reinforce the status quo and punishes those who don’t.
She says she’s not sure how to fix this, but “What would need to change is for men in positions of power to accept that women can surpass them without having wronged them.”
Amen to that.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can leaders lessen or eradicate the conscious and unconscious biases across their staff that is holding back the advancement of women? Has your organization taken any steps to address any such biases?