WOMEN LIKE US: What Is Happening to the Women of the Harvard Business School, Class of '75 by Liz Roman Gallese

WOMEN LIKE US: What Is Happening to the Women of the Harvard Business School, Class of '75

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They are having just as many personal problems as women who didn't graduate from Harvard. And their coveted ticket to success (the MBA) is not taking most of them as far as it is their male classmates. All those personal problems keep holding the women back. And when the confusion of their lives becomes too much, some of them start having babies. Gallese's findings come from interviewing 82 out of 88 women graduates from the class of 1975. (The first class to be 10% female.) Gallese selected six women from the graduating class representative of the whole, everything from a born-again Christian to a successful computer executive who made it all the way from junior college. We also get a consultant who subconsciously doesn't want to surpass her husband; a ""maverick"" who probably won't make it to the top because she is; a woman who maintains a career, a husband and three children; and the one woman Gallese thinks will make it to the highest rungs of the corporate ladder (after being the only interviewee who admitted that ambition candidly). Gallese cloys her portraits with too much logistical detail how many phone calls it took to reach them, etc.), but she draws some interesting conclusions about American business, and elicits reader empathy for these women characters. As a Wall Street Journal reporter for 10 years, Gallese is able to make some interesting comparisons of her women with the male CEOs she interviewed. "". . .People who do well are basically very simple people."" For all its glamour, ""business is nothing but a trade (and a microcosm of business, the Business school, nothing but a trade school""). Successful corporate executives are concerned about little else but business and the bottom line. The antithesis are the mavericks (often women, to no one's great surprise). Gallese finds women's resistance to fit in with the male business milieu to be a positive thing: ""The Women's reluctance to forfeit their entire selves for the sake of their careers, moreover, strikes me as a particularly thoughtful and intelligent attitude. For no matter how often a particular woman may choose to deny the feminine side of herself, the fact remains that women as a group are society's childbearers."" Although her conclusions are obvious, the book is worth reading to confirm what many suspected all along: The Harvard elite have ""a great deal in common with women in general."" And women who want a career still face roadblocks (of the society and their own making).

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1985
Publisher: Morrow