“Girl Power”

What does IMG_2275“Girl Power” have to do with state tax consulting?  Well, nothing actually.  But every now and then (since this is my blog) I feel that I have the liberty to wax poetic about something that isn’t directly related to my industry.  My “girl power” DOES have something to do with being a business owner for 13 years, so I’m comfortable that still have the business angle covered!

I’ve been thinking about gender issues a fair amount lately – maybe more so than usual.  I’ve grown up in life and in business where women have been easily half of the workforce.  In public accounting, at the staff levels, it seems that women even outnumber the men.  But we’ve all read the statistics that still less than 20% of partners in large public accounting firms, CFOs in private industry and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women.  And while it’s reality – it’s a reality that is still frustrating!

So, why has this bubbled up for me recently?  It seems that in the last month or so I’ve tripped over things in the world that still make me shake my head.  Here are some examples:

  • In Silicon Valley during the months of March & April, we were riveted to the news almost daily watching the Ellen Pao trial related to the lawsuit against her former employer Kleiner Perkins. Kleiner Perkins is the grand-daddy of venture capital firms in the Valley. And Ms. Pao sued the firm for discrimination when she didn’t make partner with the firm. Whether she had a good case or not, or whether it was “win-able” are all items for continued speculation.  She didn’t win.  But the case aired the dirty laundry of the firm and got the Valley talking about gender equity issues.  During the trial, there was testimony about bad behavior and lewd comments by some of her male counterparts.  It got me thinking – is there a woman out there who HASN’T been in a situation where there’s been some inappropriate commentary among co-workers?  It got me thinking about some of the stories I could tell, and do….occasionally.
  • I attended a California conference of NAWBO – the National Association of Women Business Owners last month in Sacramento. We helped to represent the over 1 million women owned businesses in our state alone.  It was so empowering to see the women in that room banding together and sharing the issues that are unique to not only entrepreneurship, but also to women owned business.  During the conference, we celebrated the association’s 40 year anniversary, and were reminded that our first national President, Susan Hager, founded NAWBO because she couldn’t join the chamber of commerce as a woman business owner.  Susan said, “Get a seat at the table or build your own table, and make sure to include other women at that table.”  Wow! Thank you to her for getting us our own table.  We were also reminded that NAWBO was instrumental in the passage of HR 5050 – the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, which was key in women gaining access to capital. Before the passage of this law, lenders could legally deny a woman access to capital without a male co-signer on a loan.  IN 1988!!
  • It’s 2015, and women are STILL earning just 78 cents (or less) to the dollar that their male counterparts are earning for the same jobs. Once again….it’s 2015.  Why is this still happening?  It’s important that we still talk about it and make strides toward closing the gap.
  •  I presented a webinar on April 30th (Sales Tax Hot Topics for CPAs) http://www.cpaacademy.org/archived_show/a0DC000000dfNBiMAM . It’s a presentation that is always well received and I get a lot of great feedback.  This time, one of the attendees sent me a message about the energy in my presentation and my “girl power”.  People always tell me I have good energy, but it’s been a while since someone has told me that I have girl power.  It gave me a boost.  Nevermind that I know my subject matter – I came through with power! And I like that!

In summary, these recent events remind me to be grateful to those pioneering women who laid the groundwork for women entrepreneurs today. And with all respect to my many amazing male colleagues, ladies – let’s not be afraid to flex a bit of girl power now and then!

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