I am a great believer in empathy.
In my opinion, it’s very important for writers to establish reader empathy for the lead character as soon as possible. That is why so many stories concern the transformational arc of someone who is at the bottom of a power hierarchy. Authors want readers to “root for” the protagonist, so they set up stories about “underdogs” who struggle against powerful people who are doing wrong or treating others in an unfair manner.
The “underdog” that I wrote about is a young, female intern in a modern corporation. Big companies usually have very well-defined pecking order, so a “young, female intern” might be easily understood to have the least amount of power.
My story also has a strong element of romance AND a happy ending. Nevertheless, I don’t think the book should be classified in the Romance genre, simply because my protagonist’s transformation is front and center — and not her relationship with a man (as important as that might be).
That’s why the book belongs in Women’s Fiction… and maybe even in Chick Lit, even though I’m not the typical kind of author in these genres.