About handicaps

Today after a long time I opened a website of a Finnish “Markkinointi & Mainonta” magazine which is a professional magazine for marketing and advertisement industry professionals in Finland. I thought about checking the latest inspiring stories of the industry from but instead I ended up getting exasperated. On the front page there are were headlines that caught my eye, first one goes something like this “Women and Marketing Directors – Common Handicap?”, written by a female journalist and second one is a column “What Frightened Women” written by a male columnist. The first article is explaining that women and marketing directors, despite of their sex, are rarely appointed to high profile positions such as CEOs and thus they experience a common handicap. What is this handicap is not really explained, it is just said that women and marketing people bump into the same glass ceiling before getting to C-level. Say that again?

The column in turn argues that women have some kind of gene for worrying and that many women have a frightened look in their eyes, as if they are always worrying about something, contemplating for the worst thing to happen. The possible explications given, cave women’s instinct, insecure childhood or an asshole husband, are so infuriating that even if the mentioned columnist is apologizing (wisely) beforehand for his words, there is only one word to describe this column: LAME. At least in my close circles, I have almost only seen brave women, no matter the job, position or industry, and no, they don’t all live in Punavuori hipster district.

Is this just an incident, or is this really the editorial level of a leading marketing magazine in Finland? Working in France, in cosmetics industry where about 95 % of our company’s employees, including the CEO, are women (even young women), dealing with Product Development, Purchasing, Logistics, Marketing or Sales, often with male counterparts, this subject seems just ridiculous.

In terms of gender equality by any statistic Finland is one the best countries for women to work, so why are we still talking about this? Who has a handicap here? Why I don’t read about glass ceiling in France? (Ok, I have to start reading more French newspapers, i’m sure there are issues here too…) Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to talk about the real barriers that may keep women from advancing in their careers, but I wish that the level of the discussion would be higher than this.

It would be nice to hear your experiences, from men, women, marketing people and not.

Peace out.

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