Women are just different
Thanks to Jessica's smarts, all three of us have moved to a woman internist who specializes in women. She is an impressive human being. I had sent her all my medical docs over the past umpteen years and so needless to say our first appointment was an overview discussion about me. Not only my medical history but also my career history. After all this is why we chose her as our primary care doctor.
I talked to her about my connection to promoting women, investing in women and the Womens Entrepreneur Festival. We began to talk about how women are different. Is it learned or is it innate? What she said was beyond interesting. Her belief is that women are fundamentally different from men from the get go because womens bodies are meant to have children. That makes us very pliable and that physiology shows itself to the outside world in other forms. We are multi-taskers, we are right brain/left brain thinkers, we tend to be more emotional, we look at things differently, etc.
I asked her if she had written on this very topic because I am fascinated with what she said. She has been doing this research for a long time. She had written a book called Our Health, Our Lives in 1996 which is really like the second edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves that came out in 1973. I went home and bought it on Amazon. I am looking forward to reading her research.
She left me with these thoughts and a big smile on her face. When women hit their pre-teens around 13 they begin to shrink into themselves. I actually knew that as I had read a slew of sociology books about this years ago. Then women start to come back into themselves in their mid-30's and really hit their stride when they turn 50. What is interesting is that I could easily fall into this category.
There are so many conversations about women and my guess is there always will be. Women aren't on enough boards, women aren't getting as much funding as men, women who go to the best schools in the country opt to stay home and be a mom, women always say I'm sorry, etc., etc., etc. I could go on forever.
I remembered that Emily McKhann from the Motherhood send me a note after the festival congratulating us on the success and linked to something my husband had written on his blog in March of 2007. It was titled: The Sex Question. He wrote about this particular comment on one of his posts around that time. It was this:
I am a first time entrepreneur, I am a mother in my 40s and I have four children. My business partner, whom I have known and worked with for 20 years is also a mother in her 40s. We are as young, and new and open to ideas as anyone, without ANYTHING holding us back. We came to be “founding mothers” of our internet company after years of a combination of high level corporate America and the motherhood place of infinite possibility where we are now. I feel like my business partner and I operate on an exciting, healthy, smart, fresh slate. There is nothing that will get in our way, except, maybe - from what it sounds like - the fact that we aren’t guys in our 20s and everyone thinks we should be.
That certainly sums up what my doctor is talking about. Yet Fred summed up his post with this and I believe that is what make women truly different.
But sex has nothing to do with how good an entrepreneur is, what kind of entrepreneur they'll be, and whether they'll get funded. It certainly also has to do with the life decisions women are forced to make. Stop working and raise a family versus give it all to the career and find another way to raise a family, or possibly don't raise a family at all. These are agonizing choices and I've watched the Gotham Gal go through them, a number of times. She's going through this family and lifestyle versus career thing again right now. I think it's just one of many burdens a woman must bear. It's frankly a lot easier to be a man in the business world.
It might be easier to be a man in the business world but I do believe that is getting much easier. Remember this post was written in 2007 and alot has changed since then. I saw the excitement, the conversations, the mentorship, the connections about women and business and women and balance being made this past week at the Womens Entrepreneur Festival.
Yet, as my doctor pointed out, women are just different because we are physically made of a different cloth. You know what I say to that, thank god.