I was talking this morning with my fellow students of the finance lessons I’ve taken, and during the conversation, one of the students said that in her bank, they generally hire young graduates from business schools for their asset management department. They do that so they can send them to follow the CFA training program (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this, it’s a training program for financial analysts and it takes three years to complete it) . My fellow student said that they can afford to spend 5 hours a week studying for this very difficult training, because they are still young and for most of them single. She added that this year, her bank hired three female graduates from the most reknown business school in my country. And another of my classmates just joked and said that these women must be terribly ugly to be single at that age. The three women (including me) present in the conversation didn’t reply, but I could read the offense on the other women’s face.
So this is it. You cannot be beautiful and smart at the same time. My classmate probably thinks that, since those new recruited young lady graduated from the most prestigious business school of my country, they have to be ugly. Well, in fact, I know one of them, and I can tell she’s really beautiful. She told me, when she started to work for that bank, that she was glad she had her diploma and an excellent resume. Because when she entered the room for her job interview, the other people who were sitting in the waiting room looked at her, and one even asked her if she came for the secretary job offer. “When people in the professional world don’t know me, they presume I’m not an analyst, but the secretary. I don’t get offended by that. In fact, I find it funny to see their face when I’m about to do the presentation in a conference” she says.
I do believe it can be funny. I also like to create the surprise, or even panic, with the people I’m interviewing. But I also believe it’s tiring, because it’s a constant battle.
I was reading once an article in Businessweek where it said that among the highly graduated women, those who had an MBA were the most likely to quit they job when they have children. The article explained this by the fact they married an ambitious man who wants them to look after the kids while he’s busy getting his upheaval. And for the woman, the reason is because she can’t adjust her professional schedule for her kids like a lawyer or an MD can. I still doubt that a female lawyer can adjust her schedule like that. One of my friends was a lawyer, and she had no choice but to opt out when she had her baby because she felt that, at her job, people weren’t so keen to deal with her absences for baby time. Her employer told her that she cannot do this anymore because it made her colleagues (especially the male ones, btw) jealous.
So, for the women reading this, do you think that we still have a long way to go before the end of the stereotypes against us? And for the men reading this, do you really think that a woman can’t be smart and beautiful at the same time?