It is both ironic and a privilege that I would have the opportunity to review Women Count: a Guide to Changing the World by Susan Bulkeley Butler and attend Jill's Konrath's Sales Shebang meeting in Chicago in the same week.
Women Count is a book that's part women's history lesson and part "let's get to work," inspiration. Younger women will be stunned at what we seasoned types have literally worked through these past decades. Those of us on the far end of the work-life-cycle, with scars of self-preservation to prove it, will appreciate the reminder of how far we have come. Conversely, the younger crowd will be able to read and jumpstart their careers.
Susan, who also wrote Become the CEO of You, Inc., makes her second book personal by including her own experiences as she rose through the business ranks to become the first women partner at the company that became Accenture. Her life anchors the book which highlights the work of many female benchmark setters.
Once the history lesson is captured, she then switches her focus on what women have left to do to let their values and their ideas become the norm instead of the afterthought. To underscore the unbalance she reminds us that only 3% of the Fortune 500 have women CEOs and yet 50% of the population is made up of women. That shouldn't matter if men and women made decisions the same way, but we don't, if we did there would be no need for women's groups to be forming by the thousands. Clearly we get something from business relationships with each other that we cannot get in a mixed crowd--for example, the Sales SheBang meeting is an all women event.
Perhaps the most useful part of the book comes at the end where Susan addresses how to put a plan of action together. She has seen many great ideas die without this critical first step accomplished.
If you're at a crossroads in your life and need a shot of pride in your past along with pragmatic next steps, Women Count will help you change your own world first.