I have some additional thoughts on this subject, Charlotte, but wanted to make a quick note of one of the items McKinsey and Co. Chairman Vikram Malhotra says may “discouraging and holding back such highly qualified, highly motivated women.”  He says one of the items might be that there is “a lack of women role models.”

I’ve heard this before and I always find this comment to be incredibly patronizing to women.   Why does Malhotra (and many others who comment on these issues) suggest that females in the workplace require a female as a role model?  Can women not be inspired or mentored by a man?  I’ve worked for some wonderfully supportive and inspiring men.  Many remain good friends and I still sometimes seek their advice.  I find it pretty condescending to women to suggest they can only be motivated by a female boss or colleague. 

Heavens, what would we say if men suggested they could only be motivated by their own sex. I believe that used to be called “the old boys network.”  Now we wouldn’t want to encourage a similar “old girls network” for women, would we?  I thought we were trying to move beyond such things.