After having worked so hard to get a seat at the proverbial and literal table, many businesswomen proceed to remove themselves from their seat without even being aware of it. Let me set the table (pun intended) for this discussion.
Case Scenario #1
You are the only woman on the team in a meeting. My guess is it doesn't take long for another team member to ask if you would like to take the "minutes" or "notes." Or perhaps you weren't even asked, but everyone in the room turned to look at you when the leader of the meeting said: "Who would like to take the notes for today's meeting?" And much to my dismay, you immediately whip your hand up into the air and reply: "I will" with enthusiasm better reserved for winning the lottery!
Case Scenario #2
You are the only woman at a business event (or meeting). Someone mentions the popcorn machine isn't working -- sorry folks -- no crunchy comfort food for the afternoon. Without giving it a second thought, you "pop" right out of your seat and state (while leaving the room) your intention of going to see what you can do about this pending disaster -- after all, the show cannot go on with the popcorn.
Case Scenario #3
You are the only woman attending a professional conference. You are the first attendee to walk into the empty conference room and rather than taking one of the most strategic (aka influential) seats at the table, you seat yourself at the back of the room, maybe even right by the doorway; heaven forbid you are perceived as being ambitious and/or influential by taking on of the more "coveted" seats reserved for the movers and shakers and decision-makers (and you should all know where these seat are around a table).
The problem with all of the above case scenarios is that after having worked so hard to get a seat at the table, women sabotage themselves (albeit unconsciously) with actions that remove them from the power and influence of being at the tables -- sometimes by making themselves almost physically invisible. In other words, you remove yourself from the table after you have worked so damn hard to get there!
The moral of the story is this: Do not remove yourself from the table by unconsciously slipping into "traditional" female role(s) of Madame Secretary, Ms. Goody Two Shoes or Ms. Please Don't Call Attention to Myself. This behavior will take your career down a path to nowhere.