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Women face double standard, Greuel says

Wednesday, October 23, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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In politics and in corporate America, women continue to face a double standard, judged by different measures than men, according to Wendy Greuel, the former Los Angeles controller and mayoral candidate, who addressed NEW members at the NEW Leadership Summit, Oct. 22, 2013 in Los Angeles.

Women face "a double-bind dilemma," Greuel said. "No matter what directive is followed, the response [a woman makes] will be construed as incorrect.”

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Career-minded women are often challenged by a decision to "lean back” — holding off on life decisions while making career choices — before "leaning in,” Gruel said, noting she had a child while in office.

Typically, women only run for office after they have their children. "Unless you have women in positions of power, people who look like you and me, we will never reach our full potential," Greuel said. "Whether in politics or corporations, women bring a different dialogue to these conversations.”

Women are clearly scrutinized more than men when they run for office, she added. They are often rated on "likability,” while men are not subject to the same criteria.

Even after changing her image in a series of photographs, Greuel found she was judged as either not feminine enough or too feminine. "Did the guys have to do that? Did they look at what they wore?” she asked.

While engaged in a media dispute with another female candidate, a television interviewer asked Greuel, "How could you do that to another woman?”

When Greuel responded, "Would you have asked that question if it was two guys?” the television reporter promptly went to a commercial without answering the question.

For women to advance, the world needs to accept the whole spectrum of life experience. "We have to allow women to have different choices,” Greuel said. "You can balance, it’s just not every day. I call it the ‘see-saw.’”

Seeing women at the top of different ladders is key to changing perspectives on women’s roles in society. "There is an important part to having women in the c-suite as well as women in elected office,” she said.

"I believe that we can smash the double-bind dilemma. We can’t wait for attitudes to change. We need to change attitudes.”

Wendy Greuel, former Los Angeles mayoral candidate,
women continue to face a double standard.

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