Vrouwen zijn nog steeds opgejaagd wild in het bedrijfsleven

NEW YORK – Toen Mary Barra begin december tot CEO van General Motors (GM) werd benoemd – de eerste vrouw die de leiding in handen neemt bij een grote Amerikaanse autoproducent – kwam dat op velen over als een mijlpaal in de vrouwenstrijd voor gelijke rechten en kansen. Maar is de promotie van Barra werkelijk een triomf, in een klimaat waarin volgens Catalyst – de feministische organisatie die het ‘glazen plafond’ waar vrouwen telkens weer op stuiten in de gaten houdt – slechts 4,2% van de CEO’s van de bedrijven uit de US Fortune 500-lijst uit vrouwen bestaat?

Je kunt deze vraag beantwoorden door te kijken naar wie het oordeel velt. Volgens één telling zou twee derde van de professionele journalisten in de Verenigde Staten uit mannen bestaan, en zouden mannen bijna 90% van de inhoud van de economiesecties van de traditionele media voor hun rekening nemen. Het hele verhaal over een ‘triomf’, voor Barra of de rest van ons – inclusief be•ïnvloedbare meisjes van 15 die op zoek zijn naar rolmodellen – wordt onderuit gehaald door het feit dat het door mannen gedomineerde zakennieuws nog steeds het beeld bepaalt.

Uit feministische analyses van het taalgebruik in de media uit de jaren zeventig, met name door Dale Spender, blijkt hoe de taal wordt aangewend om vrouwen roem, macht en handelingsbekwaamheid te ontzeggen als hun successen worden opgemerkt. Die kritiek geldt ook vandaag de dag nog evenzeer.

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