Women have long been underrepresented as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. In 2015, women ran only 14 of the 500 most-profitable corporations in the country. Why might that be? Corporate America’s notorious character as a boy’s club? Inherited inequality? Circumstance? Or what if the real reason why men seem to be making a clean sweep in the business game is just because they wrote the rules?
In her book, Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, Gail Evans reveals her secret to how not only to cope, but also how to thrive as a woman in a male-dominated environment. With the thematic analogy of the business world to a board game, she explains that for women, we often have all the right game pieces; we just started playing well before reading the directions.
Evans is a seasoned scholar, teacher, author, businesswoman and media veteran who was instrumental in the success of CNN—she has played the game with the best of them. Through her inspiring personal anecdotes, testimonies of belief and reaffirmations of the steadfast nature of women at work, Evans helps us to understand the reasons why men and women have entirely different experiences moving up the corporate ladder and offers ways to change those rules and come out on top.
Her firm belief in the idea that a woman can and should be whatever she dreams of is asserted in every statement she makes. Evans is an expert on the dynamic between the different genders and business—in fact, she even once taught a seminar on gender issues in business at Atlanta’s Emory University Business School, while also raising her children and staying heavily involved in her business ventures.
She instructs that first, you need to learn the rules of the game—not so that you can follow the steps exactly, but so that you can, quite literally, even the playing field. Once you’ve learned and understood the rules and the secrets, you can begin to use that knowledge to write rules of your own.
“My greatest desire is that someday we will eliminate the conversation about inequality between women and men at work, so that when we come to the workplace as peers, how we do our jobs will be all that matters,” says Evans.