Is this really life for business women in 2014?

Thanks for  Max Schireson for putting the word out that everyone struggles with work-life balance and its not just something for women to worry about. Have you ever heard of a male being asked how he manages the demands of his busy life with the demands of his family and young kids? Never. Why do women continually have to face this question, this expectation?

An excerpt from Schireson’s blog:

“Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO. The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.”

You can find an excellent write up plus the full text of his blog here

This article comes hot on the heels of a article about raising funds as a woman in Silicon Valley, which you can read here. The anonymous interviewee talks about being groped and propositioned by men in high management roles who don’t think anything of it. She talks about how the balance of what to wear to work everyday is such a fine line – not too tight, not too baggy, ‘classy, but not too expensive’  -and also how just plain old removing her gender from the equation meant the difference between a chance at funding or not.

“I asked my allies and colleagues to stop using certain descriptions—“force of nature,” “fire cracker”—because they were loaded with gender assumptions. I asked our business development lead to remove gender-specific pronouns from his initial descriptions of the company and me, and instead to say things like, “This CEO is exceptional. I’ve never seen an entrepreneur work so hard.” The longer we went without mentioning my gender, it turned out, the further the conversations progressed.

Is this the corporate world we still live in in 2014? It’s hard to believe we are still here, still facing these kinds of barriers. In so many ways it feels like we are moving forward but the actual numbers and stories like these show that the movement is minimal.

What can we do to shake things up? Will it take the next generation? Check out this excerpt from the Forbes article:

If we believe this issue is isolated to an older generation that ‘doesn’t know better’, we can review the comments of 28-year-old Justin Mateen, who stated that having a young female cofounder at Tinder “makes the company seem like a joke” and “devalues” it. Or the comments of the male 20-something Twitter employee, who told me, “You should really hire a nerdy looking dude to represent your company publicly. You know, to make up for your looks.”

Its hard not to get angry and it’s hard to know where to start or what to do. I hope Woolf Works can be a refuge, a place of encouragement and nourishment. I also take comfort in the very supportive community of women’s business groups in Singapore-

Athena Network


Singapore UN Committee for Women

Women’s Register


and more.

Am I missing any groups?

What is the Singapore corporate scene like for a woman? Have you experienced anything like the woman above?

Are you a male? How do YOU balance the demands of work and family?





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