Woman in a man’s world talk

This was the speaker:

Brigadier General Tate-Nadeau is the first female general in te Illinois Army National Guard. She served a tour in Iraq as the Chief of Operations, Plans, and Public Information at Camp Lincoln and completed a three-year tour in Ramia, Istrael as liaison officer to the Israeli Home Front Command. She retired from the military in March 2017. Since active service, General Tate-Nadeau worked for FEMA and is now the executive director of the Emergency Management and Communications Office in Chicago. Sponsored by the Psychology Department, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and ICAC.

She spoke for about 45 minutes and took questions along the way. Here are some highlights..some are very interesting.

As far as the pros and cons: she regrets missing key moments with her kids and felt that, when talking to her Army peers, she had to “hide her feminine side” at times. But she was proud of her career, said that her husband and kids were very supportive.

One “pro” of the military: pay was by rank (and by job/duty); no difference between females and males.

She was sensitive to being seen as “the best female”..she wanted to compete to the best period. She also thought that, at times, senior officers took it easier on women (and other minorities) which harmed them later in their careers; they never learned how to meet the tougher expectations that would be expected of those in higher ranks. She was sensitive to the thought that she was promoted as a token, or had “slept her way to the top.”

In terms of combat positions and other jobs: she felt that females had to meet 100 percent of the qualifications, but the qualifications had to be relevant to the job.

An important observation she felt that changes to the culture had to come from within the culture itself. So she had to prove herself and conform to the current culture; that meant drawing some lines and never been seen as being ‘too female”. Once accepted, she could influence the culture. But those “on the outside” really aren’t taken seriously.

Learning to do small things such as develop a “physical posture of confidence” mattered.

In interactions with others: living apart from males meant that she sometimes missed informal or quickly called meetings, so she learned to be the one that called them. She also felt that she had to outwork her colleagues.

Regards to VP Pence’s remarks of not eating alone with a female She was aware that her reputation could be damaged by innuendo. So she never socialized “one on one” with males; she had a rule of 3 when it came to things like meals. She admitted that this sort of thing may have hurt her career; for example generals have aides who stay closely with them. In such a job, one learns much about how a senior officer operates and thinks; the logistics of quarters, not being able to be alone, etc. made it difficult to impossible for a male general to have a female aide.

As far as having it all She admitted that it was “impossible to have it all”. If you do one thing really, really well, you’ll do other things at most “average”.

It was a nice event and I am glad that I went.


April 6, 2017 - Posted by | social/political, Uncategorized | ,


  1. I’ve worked with mostly men my entire careers in accounting and consulting. I was very fortunate to work with decent men almost all the time. Always a few who will try something, but most didn’t. Because they are honorable men, and at least smart enough to know they could lose their jobs. It seems to me that the men who are most insecure but have power are the ones that abuse women – Trump, O’Reilly, etc. If you are a man who is secure in himself and has honor, you have no need to prey on women. Another aside – it’s always the men who are really unattractive in every way that seem to think all women are after them. Who else would WANT Mike Pence?

    Comment by Lynn Dempsey | April 6, 2017 | Reply

    • I liked your comments. I would have taken you to this talk had you been here. I commented on this on FB; I got some interesting responses.

      Comment by blueollie | April 6, 2017 | Reply

      • And I would have enjoyed it!

        Comment by Lynn | April 7, 2017

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