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View from Venus: Women need to band together to reach the top

Sunday - 12/30/2012, 12:37pm  ET

Randi Martin, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - We've got the numbers: Women are 52 percent of the world's population. We've got the earning power: Women are responsible for 66 percent of the world's output. So what's the problem?

I asked this of Anne Doyle, author of "Powering up! How America's Women Achievers Become Leaders," who supplied the statistics above based on U.S. State Department numbers.

"Women (are) not going anywhere we haven't already been, in terms of continuing forward or upward progress," she says.

Now progress did not stop after the boomers. Doyle says women went into law and medicine, government and engineering, but then we stalled for 10 to 15 years -- hitting the glass ceiling, the steel ceiling, the marble ceiling, whatever you call it -- because we didn't know how to go forward.

And now we must learn new rules, or as Doyle calls them, new skills. Follow your passion, for one. (Hey, Oprah's been telling us this for years.) If you're passionate about something, you will go all out to achieve it.

Women must also learn to communicate better, or as Doyle says, "raise your voice." My grandma always told me to speak up if I want to be heard. I guess she was ahead of her time.

And, I like this part, go forward with your hand out so you can pull other women along.

Men, Doyle says, have been trained for leadership roles for centuries, and they know it takes help to get to the top -- that's what the good old boys network is all about.

We don't have one, but to be competitive, we better pay attention. Women need to learn how to put our networks to work and to actively help other women so that Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton are not exceptions to the rule, but rather the trail blazers for a new outstanding generation of women.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)