That is the question of the day. I was doing some research and came across an article and discussion about Forbes Life Executive Woman. FLEW is a relatively new magazine that Forbes decided to launch earlier this year or late last year targeting executive women. I subscribe to Forbes so I automatically get it each quarter. I’ve read through them and at first I was a little thrilled that Forbes decided to do a magazine for executive women. I figured it would be chock full of articles from the perspective of power women. The first issue I received was good. I was impressed and it even featured a woman in France who is a headhunter, so that spoke to me because of my industry. The articles weren’t whiny and full of the girly woe is me stuff. I looked forward to the next.

The next issue I read was focused on fashion. That kind of worried me because I thought OK, let’s not turn this into a doctored up version of Elle or Vogue. We want the business world to take us serious. Still had some good articles but I was less impressed. At this point even though I’m on my 3rd issue, I’m confused about the focus of the magazine. I’ve seen great stories about women who powered ahead to the higher ranks within corporate (still haven’t seen any ethnic women, but I’m willing to give it a chance to get better with that). I have not seen anything in there that gives strong advice to up and coming corporate women. I’ll give it one more issue.

Hey Forbes! If you’re reading, how about some diversity in your magazine?  There are some successful women of color too you know. If you look hard enough, you’ll find them.  I’d be more than happy to suggest some names for you.

But the reason for this blog post is not to discuss my opinion of FLEW. I was a little shocked by the response to the new magazine even before they barely got past the first issue. There was a lot of resistance to this magazine (mostly by women believe it or not). They said that the need to always separate and compartmentalize women is actually setting us back and not helping us. It was an interesting conversation. Here is the link: http://www.mpdailyfix.com/2007/03/do_women_need_genderspecific_b_1.html

Now I believe that the glass ceiling has long been shattered. We have some phenomenal women who made sure of that and I dare anyone to discount their contributions to breaking that ceiling. However, I do acknowledge that there are still inequities. The problem though, is not the inequities themselves, but (in my opinion) how we respond to them. On the one hand I do believe we will always need to continue the good fight. In some industries it’s going to take a much longer time to balance out. But on the other hand I feel we can’t keep playing the “girl” card all the time. Sounds weird coming from a woman who has her own women’s networks and this very blog. But you know what? I don’t limit myself. I learned a long time ago that I have to toughen up and “roll with the fellas” on occasion. It’s par for the course. But it’s up to me as an individual, as a woman, to set boundaries and expectations. It’s up to me to present myself in a manner that let’s people take me serious. I can’t play the girl card when something doesn’t go my way.

That said, if a magazine is published and it has information in there that I can take serious, or focuses on issues that men deal with but from a female perspective, I can take it serious. One such magazine I’m keeping my eye on is Pink Magazine. I happen to like the magazine and never miss an issue. I like that they don’t oversimplify the magazine or message. Yes, it’s called Pink but when you open it, there are thought provoking articles. The minute they start switching to the “girl” format, I’m done. But I think there is a need for business magazines for women. Not a ton of them, but maybe one or two that get it right. There are some magazines I’m a little disappointed in.  I really, really miss Working Woman. I’m not too happy that they converted to Working Mother because it lost some of its bite after that.

So how do you feel about having separate women’s business magazines? What are your thoughts on the comments made by women in the article above?

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

Advertisements