A few years ago, the two of us found ourselves at the U.S. Capitol, listening to a series of speakers talk about the ever-vexing issue of women and work. We’d just finished writing Womenomics and were now on a master list of some sort for every women-themed meeting. This particular session was in a crowded basement room. Meetings about women’s empowerment are apparently still best conducted in nooks and crannies and with a bit of discomfort.

Much of what we heard we knew already: Women help the bottom line of companies, companies want female talent, but somehow the pipeline to the top is still broken. We listened to a litany of predictable-sounding solutions having to do with flexible hours, legislation, and meetings with mentors. ...

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