On July 24, Becky wrote an insightful blog using much of the same research that is now getting all the buzz. We thought this would be worth a second look. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this hot topic. Happy Sunday!
What’s Holding You Back at Work?
Posted by lipstickchat
To prepare for today’s post, I did what I thought was an innocent enough Google search, “Hot topics for women in the workplace”. I really, really wanted to write about social media dos and don’ts or water cooler etiquette, something light and super fun. But, the search results surprised me.
It seemed that with the appointment of a very pregnant Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo, cyberspace was abuzz with concerns about persistent gender inequality in the workplace, the glass ceiling. Surprise turned into vague discomfort, like waiting in the gynecologist’s office for an annual checkup, as I read more statistics and reasons for the gap.
It’s not like I am completely unaware, I work in a field dominated by women and as such pay is low, but part of me thought that things must be better in the private sector, it being 2012 and all.
Let me say that this topic is too huge and complicated to cover in a post, or even in a lifetime, but what I can do is present the facts and highlight some of the areas that are within our power to change. If we continue to follow Warren and Kathleen’s advice and take an honest appraisal of where we falter, we can chunk the problem into workable pieces and take small steps to change.
So please read on and when you are done take a moment to share your experience so that we can grow together. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” ~Henry Ford.
Studies show that women in the workforce are more collaborative, inclusive, flexible, and empathetic than their male counterparts. Sounds pretty fabulous, right? But despite these positives, a gender gap still exists in pay and opportunity. Graduating males make more money than graduating females, upwards of 7%, and are promoted at a faster pace.
Why this disparity? Experts point to the following areas of weakness:
- Negotiating skills. Men are more likely than women to negotiate for not only pay and promotions, but also recognition throughout their careers. Accordingly, the salary gap increases over time.
- Team building. Men are better at building a team around them that accentuates their strengths. They are also better at networking. Men will connect and help colleagues they barely know. In contrast, women feel they need to build a relationship before helping, leaving them with far less contacts.
- Feelings of self-doubt. Ingrained feelings of inadequacy lead women to doubt their ability to lead others. Women are also less likely than their male counterparts to answer difficult questions or volunteer for unfamiliar tasks.
- Lack of self-promotion. Women tend to underplay their achievements and coworkers and superiors believe what they say about their performance. Self-promotion is key and men tend to be better at it.
What’s holding you back at work? What can you do to change it?
Sources & Resources
Laura D’Andrea Tyson, What Holds Women Back: New Views.
Bonnie Marcus, What Holds Middle Managers Back From Leadership?
Anita Bruzzese, Women in the Workplace: Where They Shine, Where They Struggle.
If you haven’t heard about Sheryl Sandberg yet, it won’t be long. She is the author of the recently released Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and COO of Facebook. The premise of her book is that women hinder their professional growth by backing away from challenges, risks, and leadership roles when they should be leaning in and embracing success.
And this notion is being met with much conversation and its fair share of controversy!
She’s been criticized for being out of touch with the average working woman as she makes upwards of $30 million dollars a year. She’s also been criticized for putting the responsibility on women to get ahead and ignoring the ways that companies make it difficult to balance work and family.
She is praised for pointing out areas where we can challenge our thinking about women and success. For example, Sandberg cites a 2008 study that found that when girls who are reminded of their gender before taking a test, even by simply checking the F at the beginning of the test, don’t perform as well. That’s a little scary.
So today I thought I would offer you Sheryl Sandberg’s 2010 TED Talk to get the conversation going.
So, what do you think about Sheryl? Should she be the face of modern feminism? I would love to hear what you think.
- Sheryl Sandberg Facebook COO asks us to Lean In … should we? (womenunlimitedworldwide.com)
- Mommy Mondays: Many women are doing it all, but are they happy??? (chatonsworld.blogspot.com)
- Sheryl Sandberg on Why It’s OK to Cry at Work (jezebel.com)