Cathy Belk grew up on a steady diet of biographies about successful women — books her mom, a teacher, made her read in elementary school.

She remembers reading one called “Girls Can Do Anything.” She thought it was an odd title, given all the other books she’d read. “I was like, ‘Of course girls can do anything!'”

But two decades later, Belk started to realize that many women in the business world did not feel so free.

Belk was a commercial lender working on the East Coast for Bank of America in the mid 1990s when a female coworker asked what at first seemed like a trivial question: She wanted to know whether Belk would support her decision to wear a pantsuit to work.

Belk’s first thought was right in line with her response to the “Girls Can Do Anything” book: Why wouldn’t you wear it? Afterward, however, she started thinking about what would cause a woman to ask that question.

Read the full story at Crain’s Cleveland Business.