I don't begrudge people who study for an MBA, especially an MBA from Harvard Business School. In a recent article from Bloomberg News I couldn't help but look at the date. It read as if it was ripped from the (virtual) headlines of The Onion on April Fool's Day.
Harvard Women Freed From Urinal 50 Years After First Female MBA
That's funny stuff, and recounted how Nancy Koehn used to wait in line outside of the "woman's" restroom that was still in the process of a remodel and included a number of urinals. However, for the amount of money that one spends on an MBA from Harvard couldn't she, and other female students, have made the urinal work? I've seen, firsthand, a woman evacuate her bladder while in the backseat of a 86' Honda Accord traveling at 110 miles an hour during a blizzard piloted by a coked-up driver named Josh Albrecht who refused to stop and lose his bet that he couldn't get from Madison, WI to Boulder, CO in less than twelve hours. Mr. Albrecht is dead, and that unnamed, yet resourceful, passenger was a high school dropout. Isn't an MBA supposed to teach some resourcefulness in the face of both Bulls and Bears? To complain about the situation Ms. Koehn faced seems tantamount to Rosa Parks returning to the back of the bus because there were too many white people in the front. It's going to involve struggle and the world is full of Josh Albrechts.
Obviously, things have changed at both the school and its misused urinals in the last 50 years.
Forty percent of the class of 2014 is female, up from 25 percent in 1985. Of course, that 40 percent will still spend 92 percent of their time with case studies studying men in business. But eight percent is still progress.
Women still fill only 16 percent of senior executive jobs at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 3 percent of chief executive officer jobs and while that number may seem egregious, there is a simple reason for this beyond simple discrimination. Men don't have uteri. A uterus, hell, you choose.
A Harvard Business School MBA does not change biology. Many woman with this degree leave work to have kids.
My girlfriend is beautiful, full stop. My wife...not so much, but that's another story. Does that stop her from feeling less so? Of course not. To borrow from the Bloomberg report:
Fifty percent of women said they’re doing work that is meaningful and satisfying, versus 62 percent of men; and only 42 percent of women said they’re satisfied with opportunities for career growth, compared with 52 percent of men. One reason: Seventy-seven percent of women said they were “impeded in their advancement” by exclusion from informal networks, compared with 49 percent of men.
Is it possible that the women in this group of 6,458 surveyed are not dissimilar to my girlfriend, or my wife, and just like to complain?
“Even women from Harvard often don’t get the hot jobs or the experience that will give them the leverage to qualify to advance,” said Ilene Lang, president of Catalyst, a New York- based research and advocacy group for executive women. She continued, “How successful a woman becomes depends a lot on who she marries -- and how much he supports her career."
There is probably something to that statement, it's also quite possible that with advocates like Ms. Lang, I may have to revisit the definition of advocate.
I don't have both a wife and girlfriend, I did, however, enjoy writing this piece and I hope you enjoyed reading it. It's possible that Facebook's COO, and HBS Grad, Sheryl Sandberg said it best, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat, just get on.”