This Story From HP CEO Meg Whitman Shows Just How Far Women Have Come In The Business World

Meg WhitmanLinkedIn/HPHP CEO Meg Whitman

Here’s a story that tells you just how far work place equality has come since 1979.

That’s when HP CEO Meg Whitman began her career. She was hired at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, where she worked in a marketing role until 1981.

Whitman would one day become one of the most powerful women in the tech industry, but in 1979 she was one of four women hired by P&G, she recounted while speaking at the Montana Economic Development Summit last week, reports The Missoulian’s Jenna Cederberg.

“After the first day of training, everyone got a credit card except the four girls,” Whitman said. “We told the instructor, ‘I’m sure there’s a mistake here but we’re the only four here that didn’t get credit cards.’ “

But the women were told it wasn’t a mistake. They weren’t given a credit card because the company didn’t think it was safe for women to travel alone.

Whitman didn’t take no for an answer and in few weeks, she helped all of the women get credit cards and, presumably, the corporate OK to book their own business trips.

Flash forward to today. Women are still subject to a lot of offensive sexism in the workplace, particularly at tech industry trade shows. In the past few months alone, sexist presentations were showcased at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon and at DefCon.

But Whitman said the difference today is that women are speaking up against it.

“I’m quite an admirer of this next generation. I think they have a lot more confidence than my generation did,” Whitman said.

And Whitman herself is in a position to change things. Not only is she CEO of one of the planet’s biggest tech companies, Hewlett Packard, she’s also on the board of directors at P&G.

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