“I blame women for not being more confident” and other things that you should not do

Yesterday one of our very accomplished adjuncts and alumni and I were having a conversation about how different the male and female students were as presenters during their comp exam. We had young women with really great work who undersold it so that it looked merely adequate, and young men with acceptable work who acted like they had just invented the internet. Now, I am proud of all of my students, and my characterization here is a generalization. But it happened enough during the day that my compadre noticed it.

We discussed how lack of confidence affects young women’s careers in consulting. In my case, it lead me to stand behind a much more voluble man for years while I produced analysis after analysis for him. I never learned to sell myself the way he did, and as a result, people credited him with the originality and technical skill that I had actually contributed.

This obviously has consequences for pay, and my compadre said to me, as we were drinking coffee, “You know, I think the pay gap is really women’s fault, for not being more confident.”

Um, no.

You can’t just expect somebody to be confident when they are told from the minute they enter this world that they can’t be any good at anything besides being pretty, taking care of other people, deferring, or being nice. And you can’t expect them to be assertive when every time they are assertive, they are punished either socially or professionally, and usually both.

#ReadUrbanAndPlanningWomen 2014, riffing on #ReadWomen2014

I’m not sure who came up with it, but #ReadWomen2014 is the idea that readers in 2014 should consciously dedicate some of their time to reading the ideas put down by women. Woo! As I note, you are not educated until you get off your fanny and start to see the world from perspectives other than your own.

So I’ve decided to decided to spend a goodly portion of this year reading and rereading the works that have come to us from female planning scholars. I’m going to try to get as many of women of color as I can, but both planning and urban studies scholars and the media that covers them don’t support and promote the work of women or people of color the way we should.

(If you are a white male urban scholar, your every dribble will be celebrated with glitter and star shine, particularly if you have restated something that a black or female scholar wrote 15 years ago and that everybody ignored, because, well.) (Did I say that out loud? I wouldn’t want anybody to second-guess how they got where they are, except I am mean and its payback for the several hundred of times I have been told that I “only won X” or “got X” “because I am a woman.”) Enjoy!!

Powerful women and becoming one yourself

CNNMoney.com released their list of the 50 most powerful women, and once again, I failed to make the list, just like I didn’t win any Nobel prizes this year.

Sigh. You learn to live with these things.

However, I urge you to go over and take a look at these amazing, beautiful, successful women because we all need role models, brazen capitalists or not.*

Towards that end, the Faculty Women’s Interest Group of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning annually prepares a resume book to post on the ACSP website a compilation of the two-page abbreviated resumes of women seeking tenure-earning teaching positions in planning and related programs in North America. Many Chairs and faculty search committees have found previous editions to be valuable in their faculty searches.

This is call for resumes from those with an earned PhD in Planning or in a related field who are just starting their teaching careers. The deadline for receipt of the two-page c.v.’s is October 16th, 2009. If you have any questions, please ask me or Sandi Rosenbloom (rosenblo@u.arizona.edu).

*Given that many of these CEOs are about my age or younger, I may just spend the rest of the day in bed. With some ice cream. Maybe I’ll just reflect on one of my favorite childhood role models, Endora, who never took any crap off of anybody. At least not without turning them into something vile.