Monday, June 17, 2013

Warren Buffett is Bullish...on Women

Attention all Women...And Men!

 I found this Interview with Warren Buffett in the May 20 issue of Fortune Magazine to be enlightening and thought provoking.  And a call to action, not so much for women who already know this, but for also for you guys out there.

Warren Buffett with the late Katharine
Graham of the Washington Post in 1980
Let me state that I don't have any shares in Berkshire Hathaway so I'm not shilling for Buffett.  I do have two daughters however and this is important for them.

Read the whole article but here is the excerpt that really got my attention:

"Start with the fact that our country's progress since 1776 has been mind-blowing, like nothing the world has ever seen. Our secret sauce has been a political and economic system that unleashes human potential to an extraordinary degree. As a result, Americans today enjoy an abundance of goods and services that no one could have dreamed of just a few centuries ago."

"But that's not the half of it -- or, rather, it's just about the half of it. America has forged this success while utilizing, in large part, only half of the country's talent. For most of our history, women -- whatever their abilities -- have been relegated to the sidelines. Only in recent years have we begun to correct that problem."-- Warren Buffett

How far have we come?  Check out this article in the Washington Post on June 8 titled, "52 years later, she responds".  In a letter sent by Harvard in 1961 in response to this student's application, Professor Doebele writes; 

"However -- to speak directly -- our experience, even with brilliant students, has been that married women find it difficult to carry out worthwhile careers in planning, and hence tend to have some feeling of waste about the time and effort spent in professional education."

Now before we jump all over poor Professor Doebele, which the on-line community is already doing, let's remember the times and the reality of that day and age, half a century ago.  He was simply reflecting the reality of past experience up to that point in time.  

So like Buffett (it's all we have in common I suppose) I too am "an unqualified optimist" about the future of our country.  Add to our technology advances of the last few decades this doubling of brainpower and creativity and talent.  And we won't even have to wait 300 years more to see where it takes us. I see it every day in the classroom.

Stewart McHie
Director, Master of Science in Business Analysis

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