(CBS News) - Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown and Bobbi Brown discussed the challenges facing women in the workplace as part of the "Eye-Opening Women" series on CBS This Morning.
"Newsweek" and the "Daily Beast" editor-in-chief Tina Brown explained to Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell that women should "create your own culture, your own ethos, your own different patterns of hiring and development." Brown continued to say that women shouldn't "wait in a sense for the structures to embrace you, but go out and start your thing, where you create the culture."
Excerpts and video of the interview are below.
NORAH O'DONNELL: So let's talk about that. Women have been going to college at the same rate as men for the past 30 years, there's really no educational disparity for the most part at the top. Why are there so few women do you think in leadership positions, Tina?
TINA BROWN: I do think we're somewhat stalled in that whole debate. That whole fact, we're somewhat stalled. As I see it, women seem to still be impeded by existing structures. And what really is better for women is if they break out and start their own structures. We're sitting here today with two other women who have actually done exactly that. Don't wait in a sense for the structures to embrace you, but go out and start your thing, where you create the culture. And we see here at this table women have done that and very successfully. And I think that's a better way for women to go. Be more entrepreneurial. Create your own culture, your own ethos, your own different patterns of hiring and developing.
BOBBI BROWN: Well, I think a lot of women are making choices. Men don't have to make the choices to stay home with the kids, and we're more concerned with how do we do this, how do we balance it. Men don't have to worry about that. So I do think more companies should offer support for women who have kids.
NORAH O'DONNELL: So Arianna part of this debate has sparked because Sheryl Sandberg, who is COO of Facebook, is coming out with a new book called Lean In, where she has a new take on an old problem, which is that it's not just the institutional things, sexism that exists, it's women that hold themselves back. Do you agree?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: Absolutely. And also having read Sheryl's book, unlike a lot of the people who are criticizing it, she makes very clear that there is also institutional bias standing in women's way. There is discrimination, there is a double standard. But also we women are holding ourselves back, I've called it in another book the obnoxious roommate living in our heads, who constantly criticizes us. Who tells us we're not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, and those voices are much louder in women's heads than in men's. Sheryl's book deals with those voices and it's very important for all of us to deal with them. At the same time, especially after you just showed the Wall Street Journal story on stress, I think it's imperative for women to do success differently, not just to enter the workplace and do success the way that men did it, which meant working around the clock, burning themselves out. What we're seeing already with women, there's a 40 percent higher incidence of heart disease among career women, and a 60 percent higher incidence of diabetes. This is not a price worth paying. That's why I think we need to lean in, and lean back, in order to recharge ourselves and lean in again.
BOBBI BROWN: I think it's important for women to be supportive of other women in the workplace. We had a brief conversation about how uncomfortable high heels were. We will all wear high heels when we go into a party, but you know–
TINA BROWN: It is the burden of that inner perfectionist that you're talking about.
CHARLIE ROSE: Have you noticed how smart I am? When women talk, I simply listen.
NORAH O'DONNELL: But Tina, what about that? There's been such a backlash to Sheryl Sandberg's book, there's been a backlash to Melissa Mayer, who is the CEO of Yahoo! who just recently announced that there's no telecommuting blanket. Is that the kind of policy that helps women who want to work from home, and men who want to work from home?
TINA BROWN: Well, first of all, I think it's terrific by the way that there's this explosion of debate in the women's space, because quite honestly, a lot of these things are subterranean, and then all of the sudden it comes bursting out like a geyser in the street. In the case of Marissa Mayer, I think she was talking about her own company, which needs to be turned around, she needs to get her company together and re-bond it and rebrand it and get everyone out there. So I don't think she really deserved the kind of huge attack that she got. I think that maternity leave is a very interesting case, I personally needed maternity leave when my daughter was 15. The notion that you take six months off and then come back to the war zone. I actually think that should be rethought. Maybe maternity leave should be a month at the beginning, a month when they're one and a half. There's something to be said for staggering that – so that's an interesting debate that I'd like to have.
BOBBI BROWN: But it's also important to work for a company that really supports a working woman, a working mom.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: And there are now more and more companies doing that. There is a growing effort by companies including Target, and Google, of course, but even in middle America offering nap rooms as we do, or meditation and yoga exercises, anything that would reduce stress in the course of the day.
CHARLIE ROSE: Are women supportive of one another? Are women mentoring other women?
BOBBI BROWN: Not enough, not enough. Some are, and I think that often you have to realize that when a woman is being mean to another woman it's because she's insecure.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: I know that Tina and I, having known each other since our days at Oxford and Cambridge, have dealt with that. The minute she launched The Daily Beast, everybody would come to me to try to say something negative or to pick a fight. So women have to go out of their way to avoid what the culture expects them to do, which is kind of engage in catfights.
TINA BROWN: The catfight is incredibly boring. I think that women's success is very often dependent on other women. My own success could only have been facilitated by my mother, because my mother came to America, lived with us and helped me with the children. So I think we depend a lot on that, frankly, on other women being supportive of one another.
NORAH O'DONNELL: A lot of women in our respective age groups have raised the question about millennial women. Are they ambitious enough? Is there an ambition gap? Are you concerned?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: I don't think there's an ambition gap, but they do want to do it differently. I spoke last week at Etsy.com, you know, which has a lot of women who are making things and then selling them through Etsy. The way they put it is they want to make a life, not just a living. So they do have different priorities and we need to encourage them, not criticize them for that.
BOBBI BROWN: I think that there are a lot of choices for women. A lot of women are starting their own businesses. A lot of women are doing flex time at companies. So there are choices. Maybe that's why there aren't as many women in CEO positions, because they're making lifestyle choices, and I think that's OK.
CHARLIE ROSE: Do you think women bring different skills to the table?
BOBBI BROWN: No, I don't.
TINA BROWN: I think they do. I think there's a lot of collaborative, emotional content and so on that women can bring into a work situation.
BOBBI BROWN: Sometimes women leaders are tougher than men leaders because they think they have to be.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: I think we are bringing different skills in terms of collaboration, nurturing. But also evolved men like Charlie also have those skills too.