Must Women’s Success Be Measured Against Men’s to Count?

Two articles that recently discussed women in business this week made me want to puke. The first one is from the Wall Street Journal and asked the question “What’s holding back women entrepreneurs?” It says that although women are starting their own businesses at much higher rates than men ““ the women-owned businesses are not as big as the men-owned businesses.

Generation XX

Problem #1 (and yes, they called it a problem)? Men tend to start businesses to be the “boss” and women start businesses to be personally challenged and balance work and family.

The second article in

Time Magazine touts the accomplishments of three Wall Street leaders who are women who were underestimated by men.

What I find most appalling about both these articles is that they set the standard of success/accomplishment/whatever on how the women compare to the men. It’s so 1980s

Working Girl that I have the urge to put on my acid wash jacket.

Let’s be honest here ““ if more women were willing to do what the top dog male executives and CEOs did to get to their position, then more women would be top dog executives and CEOs. A lot of women make choices that impact their income/status ““ me included. I worked part time for 5 years when my girls were younger. I don’t regret a minute of it ““ it was MY choice. I wasn’t being held back by The Man.

I would like to see an article about the strides that men have made in parenting. Today’s dads spend significantly more time with their children than their own dads spent with them – and

they wish they could spend even more time with them. Does it impact their careers? Of course it does. My husband and a lot of his friends took paternity leave after their children were born ““ and they paid the price at work. The old boys don’t like it when you do that.

The issue here is not a gender issue ““ it’s a generational issue. “Being challenged” and “balancing work and family” are legitimate reasons to start a business. I’ve

argued for a while that Gen Xers don’t define success the same way the Boomers do. If “bigger” is the only measurement of success ““ this myth that women are somehow not equal will persist.

If you want to achieve bigness, there’s a way to go ““ and both men and women can do it. If you want to achieve something else, there’s another way to go ““ and again it’s an option for both men and women. We don’t all have to be the same, but we do all have the same opportunity.

Editor’s Note: This is a cross post from our new friend and content sharing co-hort, Suzanne Kart. Suzanne, who is a Gen Xer, has more than 10 years experience writing, speaking, and studying generational communications and has spoken on the local, state, national, and international level. She can be reached at  You can find her blog, which I’ve just read and enjoyed a bunch of, by clicking here.

Leave a Reply