One of the most exasperating things about coverage of women and business is that it’s often ultimately reduced to the question of whether or not women can “have it all,” a phrase that Kelsey wisely questioned last week, asking: Can anyone?
I think part of the reason the conversation of work-life-balance has become reductive is because there aren’t enough women from a variety of perspectives, classes, and races writing about business.
I started thinking about this a few months ago when I read this guest post at Feministing by Doreen Bloch, a young entrepreneur and author. The day she visited the Strand Bookstore in New York City, she noted that she could “put on one shelf all the books written by women, versus the dozens of shelves it would take to contain business books penned by men.”
That day, I began compiling data about the grave disparity of women in business book writing. If women make up 46.8% of the workplace in America (Source: Department of Labor) and 58% of college classrooms (Source: The New York Times), where are the female voices in our business thought-leadership?
You may not know it, but business literature is an extremely important category in the US book business. Showcasing its importance, business is one of two categories that The New York Times’ monthly bestseller lists specifically provide; the other category is Politics. Market share statistics for business books are hard to come by, but a recent article noted that while “consumer trade books get a majority of the attention, professional and scholarly books [including legal, science, and business segments], hold 75.9% of the $1.76 billion U.S. E-book market.” The apparent lack of women in the business book space is not a niche problem.
I can think of a half dozen women who have recently published books that might qualify as feminist business writing and including Jill Geisler’s Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know, Judy Smith’s Good Self, Bad Self. Over the years, my favorite feminist business book was written by Dr. Lois Frankel, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers. I’ve read or skimmed a lot of the writing Suze Orman has published, too. What are some good feminist business books you’ve read?