Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
First of all, I would like to say that I did see a hint of good intention from Mr. Francis in this article. He acknowledged that women are gaining ground in the business world, and he tried to explore the reasons for this. However, whatever well-meaning that existed to begin with got lost in a sea of poorly articulated observations, unnecessary pop culture references, and a little bit of ignorance.
In the last paragraph of his article, Mr. Francis says that he finds the Women in Business organization at Boston College unnecessary since we are “not in the 1980s anymore.” While I admire his optimism about the “tolerance and acceptance” of modern society, I think that he needs to recognize that not everybody is quite as open-minded as he is. In case it is not clear to Mr. Francis, gender discrimination does still exist, and it is not just a “slight inequality that will be obsolete in a decade.” I’m sure that most people at this University are aware that women still do not earn equal pay for equal work. Perhaps they have also heard the term “Glass Ceiling” which refers to the very real barrier in the business hierarchy that women are somehow still prevented from passing. Plus there are countless examples of sexism in the way that women are treated on a daily basis (some subtle and some not so subtle) that carry over into the workplace. I could list off statistics about gender discrimination, but usually all it takes to see it is opening one’s eyes.
Mr. Francis points out that women have come very far in the business world, and he refers to this well-deserved and hard-won progress as “the modern day’s girl power” (maybe he should have dotted the i’s with hearts and made smiley-faces out of the o’s just to emphasize the momentous accomplishment). However, he fails to recognize that the progress that has been made for women in business is a direct result of the hard work of (you guessed it) women. It is not simply the result of a growing sense of tolerance in society that magically appeared on its own. Women have been fighting gender discrimination for decades and continue to struggle with it today. I completely agree with Mr. Francis that we as a University should celebrate the successes that have been achieved. In fact, we should encourage further progress as much as possible—hence the reason for the Women in Business organization that he opposes.
Regardless of my opinion about his article, I do feel sorry that Mr. Francis felt that he was excluded from seeing Diane von Furstenberg when the Women in Business club sponsored her visit to campus. I am not personally a member of the organization, but he should have felt welcome to attend if he was so passionate about it. However, I would encourage him to take the initiative to express his interest to the event organizer the next time he would like to attend a club-sponsored event. I am of course referring to ANY event sponsored by ANY club on campus, not just the gender-specific ones. Many co-ed clubs also host events for their members, but often they are open to sharing their interests with other students. Next time he feels so strongly about attending a Women in Business event, he should just ask the organizer. Women can actually be pretty open, and we aren’t always just “feigning it.”