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Surviving the ‘Ladyview’

Source | LinkedIn : By Jessica DiLullo Herrin

You’ve heard about the comedy of “mansplaining.” You know, the made up word to describe when a man explains something to a woman, in a manner that could be regarded as condescending or patronizing. A tone that men, no doubt, experience too. I am sure many men feel they’ve been womansplained to. 

Well, here’s a new one for you – “ladyviewing.” That’s when people (including women)  interview a woman in business – but all they want to ask her about is being a woman, instead of about being in business. They may be well-intentioned, but do these types of interviews happen a bit too often and do they focus more on problems than solutions?  Yes, we need to shine the light on the persistent and disturbing gaps that exist for women in business (in venture capital, pay, board seats, STEM, etc.), but is ladyviewing the way to do it? Why not, a bit more often, just focus on business, and the challenges that apply to both genders.

Judge for yourself. Here are the common questions I get asked during a ladyview.

Q: Can women really have it all?

A: No. And neither can men. But you can have what matters most, and what you are willing to make sacrifices and tradeoffs for. Have you ever met any entrepreneur – male or female – who didn’t have to make a boatload of trade-offs?

Q: Is raising venture capital hard for a woman?

A: Yes. Getting funding is hard – period. For women and men. Especially in our current business climate. You have to ask, listen, learn, iterate, ask again. Would you like to talk about how to learn from the 100s of “No’s” you’ll get along the way and how to structure a winning pitch? Or how to bootstrap? We could talk about that, and I could give you some useful takeaways, or we could just reiterate the stats that 97% of venture capitalists are male and and only 2.7% of companies that received venture funding from 2011 to 2013 had female CEOs.  Those stats are abysmal and must change, but as part of the solution, why not focus our time right now on how to persevere and succeed despite the odds and obstacles.  Pretty much everything about building a company from scratch is hard, so you better be resilient – regardless of your gender. Let’s talk about how everyone can get to work today and play to win, despite those figures.

Q: How do you balance work with family?

A: I juggle work and family. Some balls are rubber and some are glass. I try to keep the glass ones in the air and let the less important things bounce. But I don’t hold a monopoly on juggling because I’m a woman. In over 60% of families with married parents, both parents work.  Working dads juggle too. If we want to talk about working parent tips, let’s hear from those guys. 

If we want to talk about business… we all need to balance trade-offs to create a winning business strategy because success is all about focus and the discipline to say no to things. Let’s talk about that.




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