Hi there. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the new Mary Johnson, and I am honored to continue writing for this incredible blog in an effort to make myself just as amazing as she.
(I fully expect a chastising phone call from Mary three seconds after this blog posts. She’ll say something like, “Stop that. You’re equally awesome. And you’re going to do great things.”)
Mary doesn’t know this, but when I first arrived at NJBIZ I immediately labeled her my mentor. She is funny, intelligent, driven and accomplished—pretty much exactly the kind of person I’d like to be every day. Clearly, I was not the only one to notice (thanks A LOT BizWomen).
While the office sure did lose a lot of light when Mary (and also the incredible Beth Fitzgerald) relocated, I will say I am quite happy to be a woman-in-business at NJBIZ. I am always treated as an equal, and my ideas are often championed and supported by the now-predominantly-male editorial staff.
I will admit that I have quite a lot to learn about the challenges women often face in the workplace. Since I come from a family where women-rule-all and have often surrounded myself with male friends and mentors, I’ve felt more discriminated for my generation than for my gender.
Perhaps this is due to the industry I come from — since graduating college, I have worked primarily in the film and television industry as an assistant, a production coordinator, a project manager and an accounting clerk. I have also contributed as a script consultant and continue to work on scripts and sketches of my own.
In the arts, it seems that women and men tend to respect gender differences in the workplace; the pay scale, from what I know, seems equal (yet always disrespectfully low); and the women-in-film movement has recently led to an increase of award-winning female filmmakers.
But as I’ve attended events honoring or bringing together women in business, I’ve listened closely to the women who have fought for the kind of equality I’ve been privileged to experience during the beginning of my career. The pay statistics are still jarring. Men still outweigh women in rank. And most disturbingly, women are still being treated as less-than when it comes to job responsibilities.
So as backwards as this seems, I would begin by encouraging more men—especially my age — to attend such events to hear the women who have helped build the businesses they now work for talk about the additional hardships they’ve faced due to their gender. Yes, there’s always a bit of Rosie-the-Riveter jargon and discussions about maternity leave that men can’t possibly understand—but there are also the stories from the women who’ve been there that should be inspirational to both genders.
Here in this blog, I plan to tell those stories and many more in a small effort to continue merging the divide — and showcasing the women who’ve made that merge possible in the first place.
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