RAISING THE FEMALE consciousness apparently still takes some heavy lifting, and there is a teeming subcategory of self-help books for women. By and large, these are often more specific and more interesting to readers of either sex than the general titles. The best of the lot is The Managerial Women (Anchor/Doubleday, $7.95) by Margaret Hennig and Anne Jardim - both Harvard Business School Ph.Ds. They make the controversial thesis that women have an entirely different attitude toward work and careers from their male counterparts. The authors found that women do not perceive their jobs in the context of careers or long-term investments, but "in the context of now . . . and see a career as some future self-realization far off in the distance." They trace this difference to women's exclusion from the "outdoor classroom" of football teams and Little League games, which experience permits men to look at a career as a series of upward movements, including rewards and recognition in a structure of teamwork. Men are able to take risks as "a loss or gain; winning or losing; danger or opportunity," whereas women perceive risk as "loss, danger, injury, ruin, hurt."
This difference forces the female manager to focus on immediate concerns and the mastery of specific day-to-day skills, with the result that "nothing leaves her small department unless it is perfect. To ensure this she often prefers to do the job herself. Her supervisory style is a close one, she is a scrupulous checker, a dotter of is and a crosser of ts . It is not a style which breeds initiative nor does it lend itself to delegating responsibility. She sends a very clear message - she trusts and relies on herself alone."
Consequently, when judged by her differently oriented male superiors, even the most hardworking woman manager will be rated as "probably terminal in present position." They book's final chapters detail specific changes which women can make in their own thinking to avoid terminality. Although mainly for women and written in an often flat and dismal style, the book is also valuable for men who are interested in how they thing about women - and it should be read by enlightened managerial types everywhere.
Seemingly more reactionary in its premises is The New Executive Woman, by Marcille Gray Williams (Chilton, $9.95), which insists that "As long as you're not devious or insincere, using femininity is fighting fair." That is, "the power of femininity works because men need to feel masculine . . . Help a man feel good about himself, and you have a friend and supporter . . . Stroking the male business ego is an art perfected by most executive owomen early in their careers." The book goes on to show how to live and work amid the strokes to your advantage, if possible.
Jane Trahey on Women and Power (Rawson, $8.95) is certainly the best written and most personal of the women's titles, and less doctrinaire in its advice. The author is a very successful advertising executive who had to work her way up in a male business. Her book is almost entirely anecdotal, and there are some wonderful stories, particularly those involving escape from lecherous account executives in a chapter entitled "The Sex and Booze Power Ploys." For men who want to understand what goes through the mind of a tough and capable woman in the locker-room ambience of big business, this is a first-class book.
Speaking Up, by Janet Stone and Jane Bachner (McGraw-Hill, $8.95), was written because women are doing more public speaking these days and often lack the elocutionary skills to be successful. THere is nothing here that you would not have learned from a good debate coach in college, and almost all of the techniques have nothing to do with the sex of the speaker, but there are some behind-the-podium tricks and specific tips for women that make this volume useful.
Finally, it seems fair to mention The Power of the Positive Woman, by Phyllis Schlafly (Arlington House, $8.95) which sets up the definition of the "positive woman" - who "looks upon her femaleness and her fertility as part of her purpose, her potential, and her power" - in contrast to the "the women's liberationist [who] is imprisoned by her own negative view of herself and of her place in the world around her." The book argues against the ERA, as well as "the menace of government 'child care,'" and answers the pressing question of "Unisex toilets red herring - or real worry?"