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Head over Heels: Women Conquering the Business World

Pauline Lamboley_Krannert Masters Program

Over my time here at Krannert, I have experienced many kinds of differences, or diversity as people like to call it. “Diversity” has a more positive connotation. You are not ‘different” from a standard, but simply one of its many expressions. Like the paint fan decks, every student is a shade among others with a unique hue, brightness, warmth, texture. My shade is 24-years-old, French, short, female. Strengths or weaknesses? You tell me. Professional experience will help with the first point, a cross-cultural sensitivity often supports the second, high heels definitely come to the rescue for the third. But what makes up for the last? This color attribute is tricky, vicious... inevitable. You are a woman, or you are not. Two textures, that’s it.

This is a texture that the business world has learned to accept and display as equally as its alternative. And yet, the road to gender equality is a treacherous path disseminated with pitfalls. I won’t give you the  indisputable, striking figures about discrepancies in top leadership positions, limits in family leaves, gaps in paychecks, disparities in career advancement…that list goes on and on. Long story short, like all women, I am very happy I can go to work wearing a skirt and heels, but I’d be happier if I could bring home a man’s salary.

Having said that, I found that the picture is not as dark as most people, in particular women, claim it to be. Are women victims? Well, maybe. That’s one – common, widely spread – way to see it. We are only victims if we allow ourselves to be. What if we stopped looking at it this way? Instead of victims, what if we were conquerors?

Because if there is no battle to lead, no barrier to remove, no mountain to climb, if there is nothing to win, there is no victory. We are “diversity”. We don’t match with the standard mold, but does this mean our recipe is not as good? I don’t think so. The ingredients are different but the cake tastes the same. Here at Krannert, I took the same classes, I learned the same theories, I have been part of the same groups and have developed as many skills as my fellow  classmates. I am worth as much as any other professional. And the diverse environment here at Krannert has helped me acknowledge this, believe in this, wave this fact as high as possible in the crowd of potential candidates for a job. You’re a woman. Get over it. You can’t change it. So embrace it. And I do.

For a time, I can hide my need for sponsorship, I can hide my below-average height with heels, but never can I hide my femininity. Because I do not and should not want to. And neither should you. Being a woman is not a liability, it’s an asset to brag about to the world and first to yourself. Brag that you did it, you got the job, you got the signing bonus, you got the kids and the promotion. Go out and be conquerors.

Pauline Lamboley

2nd Year MBA