You are here

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

During an interview in the Spring, 2005 issue of AAUW Outlook,
Madeleine Albright weighed in with advice to help women, also noting some differences between men and women. She wasnâ??t trying to provoke discussion about
genetic attributes vs. socialization.

Instead, she spoke candidly about her own experience with practical suggestions. Take it or leave it.

AAUW Outlook: In your leadership positions, what characteristics that could be defined as typically female got in your way? Which helped you be effective?

Madeleine Albright: The same things that get in our way are also things that make us different and good. I wouldnâ??t want to be like a man. I like to be liked, and I think thatâ??s a female thing. And even though everybody thinks we talk so much, women basically wait in a meeting to kind of get a sense of the room and to see whoâ??s who and what the point is. You think of things and youâ??ve got something you want to say and you think, â??Oh my God, this is going to sound stupid.â?

Youâ??ve felt that yourself?

Yes, and then some man says it, and everyone thinks itâ??s brilliant, and youâ??re really mad at yourself for not having said it. So I began to force myself to speak up.

Thatâ??s what I teach in my classes. One of my mottos is â??interrupt,â? because I think you listen differently if youâ??re going to speak than if youâ??re just absorbing information. You then become a part of the discussion. The female thing of just waiting to see whatâ??s going to happen is often counterproductive.

I especially appreciated her response to the following question:

A reporter once wrote that you fought a â??daily war against sexism.â? Is that accurate?

No, it is not, because Iâ??m not an angry person. Itâ??s obviously inherent in me to want to see women recognized, and I want to promote women and mentor women. But Iâ??m not angry. I go about it in different ways. But I am offended on behalf of women.

What I have to do is constantly make sure that I and [all] women are respected and treated properly.

No argument there.

Add new comment

Topics: