Photo: Michel Euler / AP
At this weekend’s Women In The World conference in New York City, Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett spoke about the economic recovery and how it’s disproportionately affecting men and women. She also talked about the gender gap more broadly, and shared with the audience — filled with big names like Diane von Furstenberg and Chelsea Clinton — her trepidation over asking for a promotion early in her career:
The first time I was working in city government, and a friend of mine who was a client — a woman and mentor — thought I was deserving of a promotion. … She said, “You need to go to your boss.” For months I hemmed and hawed, and she kept asking me, “Have you done it? Have you done it?” I finally go in, and I’ve got my crib sheet with my notes, and I was bracing myself. I don’t know what I was bracing myself for. The worst thing he could have said was “No.” So I go in and say, “I think I deserve a promotion.” And he said, “OK.” It’s not always that easy, but if you sit around waiting for someone it could be a very long time. Let me tell you, men do not do that. We really need to believe in ourselves and ask for what we want.
Jarrett also spoke about how equal pay is good business, and with many women now breadwinners or equal breadwinners, “a woman’s income has never been more important” — and that “it should not come as a surprise that the senior advisor to the President of the United States is a woman.”
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