When Elizabeth Taylor died last year, she left a legacy of iconic movie performances, philanthropy, and lots and lots of diamonds. It was among these incredible baubles at Christie's auction house, where they have since been sold for astronomical sums, that members of global women's network 85 Broads convened to ask the popular question: Where are all the women?
While the guests of the Rothstein Kass-sponsored event were predominantly from the investment industry, the lack of female leadership across many fields was addressed by speaker Joanne Wilson, an angel investor and blogger who works closely with Millennial members of the tech industry and has noticed some generational differences. "When I grew up, there could only be one woman to rise to the top, and everyone put on sharp elbows," she said. "There was no collaboration." She is optimistic, though, that a prevailing harmony among today's young women could start to balance it out.
Other women in attendance took a less rosy view, with one financial services veteran quipping that it was easier for her to attain her job as the CIO for a Saudi family abroad than to find a management position in the U.S. She also mused that, "Women tend to think of [the career ladder as] a pyramid, where one of us succeeds, while men think of it as rays of sunshine, and they're all going up."
Still, there was something inspiring about the diversity in that afternoon's group of women. When Wilson discussed the importance of workplace flexibility, some women disagreed about the need for a shorter work week. When she described entrepreneurs following typically female-centric passions like handbag design, others shared their goal of sitting in corporate boardrooms.
The younger generation, according to Wilson, "wants to find something that turns them on."
Whether it be diamonds or derivatives. Or both.
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