6. How about the cultural differences obvious in so many Asian Americans? Asian Americans may be underrepresented in managerial positions because we just don’t have sufficient managerial ambition and ability, language skills, or the right sense of humor.

Recall that “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” So the cultural difference between men and women is not only large but possibly intrinsic. But that has not prevented women from becoming leaders nowadays. Think Sandra Day O’Connor, Carly Fiorina, Diane Feinstein, Hillary Clinton, Condi Rice, Madeleine Albright, Meg Whitman, and Donna Shalala.

When discrimination against women was rampant, women were thought to have less managerial ambition, ability, and communication skills, and to lack a sense of humor. At the time, not only did most men believe in this stereotyped image of women, but so did many women themselves. That is the most insidious aspect of prejudice. The strong and powerful can get the weak and powerless to doubt themselves!

In 1965, Executive Order 11246 was issued and subsequently enforced by the Labor Department in order to give women a fair chance at becoming managers. Women rose to the challenge. The same will be true for Asian Americans.

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