Equal Rights Equal Opportunities, What matters more – degree or experience?

The Zicklin Women in Business (ZWIB) club through its various initiatives strives to provide a forum to help women overcome everyday corporate challenges. On March 8, 2011 this effervescent club celebrated the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day by hosting their signature event the Second Annual Women’s Day Luncheon with the underlying theme – ‘Equal Rights Equal Opportunities, What matters more – degree or experience?’ 

The luncheon included a panel discussion featuring a group of distinguished women: Eileen Finn (President, Eileen Finn and Associates), Segolene Prot (Vice President, Thomas Reuters), Susan Ganz (President, Financial Women’s Association of New York), Linda Zhang (Partner, KPMG), Diane Wallace (Partner, Deloitte), Angela Spencer-James (Partner, Ernst & Young).

The opening speech made by the dean of Zicklin School of Business, John A. Elliot, who introduced the guest emcee Ruschelle Boone. Ruschelle spoke about her shared her unique experience of moving from being an Accounting major at Baruch College to being a news reporter at NY1.  Ruschelle directed the flow of the conversation by posing the panelists with the theme question: What matters more for women– degree or experience? Each panelist highlighted their experiences and it was unanimously agreed that a degree is required to get a foot in the door but experience is what matters for long term sustainability; this experience becomes more important which each passing year for crossing vertical limits.

The event progressed as the panelists discussed their work issues and the omnipresent subtle gender bias. It is rightly said The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it” – Roseanne Barr.  The glass ceiling effect though no longer prevalent in the modern world, there is an ‘all boys group’ which hangs out together over drinks, sharing a smoke etc which women cannot attend owing to prior social commitments. At such informal ‘networking’ stints, the diligent woman employee-cum-wife-cum-mother loses her “equal opportunity” card. This needs to be stopped with women moving out of their comfort zone and making their presence felt in a team. On many occasions, it may even require them to participate in discussing sports and all the associated sweat thereby forgetting their lovely bags, shoes and clothes momentarily! There are many women who despite being in deserving positions lose their opportunity of being promoted because they fail to play their ‘optics’ card well enough to make their superiors take note of contribution and overdue growth prospects.  This explains, why even today, very few women hold top positions in an organization. To sum, women must be vocal about the rewards that they may rightfully deserve and backed by hard work.  Of course, women must not forget to smile, be nice and have a positive attitude at all times: God created women only because He could not be at all places!

Join us for our next action-packed event: Women in Leadership Series Marketing Panel on Thursday, March 24, 2011 (12:30pm – 2:20pm, NVC Room 3-165) RSVP here

One Response to “Equal Rights Equal Opportunities, What matters more – degree or experience?”
  1. Thank you for sharing and reminding us of the barriers still left in the world. There are plenty of the informal barriers you mention. Going out for a drink is one, so is the “smoker” network of those who duck outside for a quick smoke. I might even go so far to mention a “mom” network, or perhaps “new parent” network.
    There is an advantage for each of us to find the common ground and interact in each of those informal networks — women going out for drinks and men cooing over pictures and antics of children. We will all be the better for it.

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