Destructive Attitudes about Women Remain too Common
The following letter to the editor appeared in the Washington Post on May 28, 2013.
By Barbara Krumsiek, President and Chief Executive of Calvert Investments
Paul Tudor Jones’s comments about women nursing babies and their resulting inability to focus in the fast-paced world of hedge fund trading [“Billionaire’s take on motherhood roils U-Va.,” Metro, May 24], were striking but, sadly, not unusual. I suspect that many people in fields beyond hedge funds may share similar “concerns” about the commitment and abilities of women in the workplace, particularly working mothers.
When I informed my boss in 1988 that I was pregnant and intended to return to work after a brief maternity leave, he said his wife told him that women who love their children stay home with them. I laughed, because I truly thought he couldn’t be serious. But I returned from a three-week leave to find my responsibilities reduced. When I pushed back, I was told there was a “personality” problem between this executive and myself.
Prejudices toward women existed then and exist now, despite what appear to be sufficient legal protections. That moment in 1988 propelled me to move forward with my career in financial services despite the obstacles, and to work to uncover and change the norms and unwritten codes in the corporate workplace that directly inhibit and intimidate women from reaching their full potential. These norms and codes detract from the competitiveness of the U.S. economy; they detract from the performance of U.S. corporations; and they are destructive to the professional and personal aspirations of the record numbers of talented women who graduate from our colleges and universities.
Calvert Investment Management, Inc., 4550 Montgomery Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814