I received a very interesting comment from a male "bleader" who wondered why a man would be interested in a book that profiled high-achieving women. Not surprisingly, I have a few answers to that question.
First of all, it's important to remember that every male has been influenced by females--grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, teachers, etc. The more accomplished these females are the more likely it is that boys can grow up to be sensitive, productive members of society. In the NY Times magazine article I referred to (number 9), Kristof reported that one of the reasons rape and other crimes against women were so prevalent in Africa was because so many boys had escaped the socializing influence of family bonds.
Secondly, most men coexist as adults with females in the workplace, and whether the interaction is with a secretary, an account executive, an attorney or a concierge it can only help matters to have an understanding of (and, preferably, an appreciation for) the different aspects of women's lives.
Thirdly, when it comes to emotional attachments a father, husband, brother or son will interact better with female family members once he learns to respect differences and applaud accomplishments. The impact of a father (grandfather, uncle, brother, etc.) on a girl's life in absolutely profound, yet all too many males simply don't know how to be a positive influence. Why? Usually because they're not aware of what a girl really needs in order to become a fulfilled adult female. Any man who genuinely cares about helping a little girl grow up to be all that she can be needs to read this book.
The days when fathers urged their daughters to "hide their light under a bushel" are (blessedly) over, and The Self-Empowered Woman can serve as an eye-opening introduction to the amazing things that little girls can grow up to do.
Finally, the five exercises at the end of each chapter are relatively gender free. Before the manuscript was sent to the printer I had three men read it carefully, and they each confessed that the questions touched areas of their own lives that needed to be reexamined. As to the question of how to persuade men to actually BUY the book, I only wish I were wise enough to know the answer. Perhaps untold numbers of wise women will give the book as a gift to the men in their lives...
Today's quiz is what do U.S. Army General Ann Dunwoody, jockey Julie Krone, TV journalist Lisa Ling, and writer Anna Quindlen have in common?
Still looking forward to your comments...