Friday, June 20, 2008

The Alpha female-- don't look to the Alpha male!

We were recently at a friend’s home for a dinner party and shortly after arriving, their Scottie dog ‘Jacques’ came right over to me and sat at my feet. My girlfriend (the dog’s owner) looked over at me and said, my dog always knows who the Alpha female is in the room.
I laughed and took it as a compliment. Strong, independent, decisive, a leader--- these would be the qualities of an Alpha male, wouldn’t they? Then naturally, I would be all of those things in a female body. Funny in this context but how does this apply in everyday life? Or, in the boardroom?

In male business communities, Alpha males congregate and celebrate their common strengths and superstar characteristics. They join the YPO, they play golf together, they have each others’ back. As an Alpha female there is no such community. While we have many women’s associations and clubs, women are still very uncomfortable sharing their success. And why is this? 1) we were not socialized to self promote and 2) when we do, it usually isn’t genuinely received and celebrated by our female peers. So where do Alpha women toot their horns? When a strong, powerful, trailblazing woman like Hilary Clinton—the quintessential Alpha female --is still scrutinized based on what she is wearing and characterized as too aggressive, the double standard remains clear.

When you hear Alpha female, who do you think of and does it conjure up a positive impression?

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