I was raised by my father, who never treated me differently because I was a girl. I didn’t experience gender inequity until I was an adult.
In the construction industry, where I work, male domination in the workplace is a constant presence. These days, it doesn’t bother me. I try to be amused instead of frustrated by it. But when it slows me down or gets in the way, I have to put my foot down. Usually this happens when a new subcontractor on a job comes in and tells me I can’t do something for some unreasonable hypothetical. I have no time for this behavior; furthermore, I’ve usually accomplished my task once or twice before. My core group of contractors, who are all men and with whom I’ve worked for a long time, like to watch the dance as the subcontractor figures out who’s in charge.
I’m also a co-owner of the Golden State Warriors and the professional sports world is very male-centric. In this situation, I’m somewhat of a mom, among other things, to many on our staff. I listen to personal problems. I give out advice. I hug people hello and goodbye. I know most people by name, from management to towel boys. At the executive level, I’m aware that my male colleagues go away on golf trips together. Sometimes a part of me is hurt that they don’t invite me, the only woman. Then I remember that I wouldn’t really want to go on a golfing trip. So the lesson here is—be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.
To me, gender equity is not letting anyone tell you that you can’t do something, especially because you are a woman. If they do, you should ignore them. If it’s your passion, nothing should stand in your way.
It’s encouraging that the conversation about gender equity in this country is getting louder every day. However, there is an important element of gender inequality in health care remaining today: heart health care in women. I joined the board of the Women’s Heart Alliance to end this inequality. Women’s heart disease impacts everyone, in that all of us have a mother, a sister, a daughter and/or a wife: we must do more, we must do better, and we must do it now.
Erika Glazer is a real estate developer, philanthropist and co-owner of the Golden State Warriors. She is also a WHA board member.