Shela here again, filling in for Paul and talking about girl power. I’ve been lucky enough not to have faced any gender discrimination in my relatively short time in the work force. But I know it’s out there and it’s still a problem for many women, especially those trying to climb the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, changing minds takes time. It’s a real bummer, but there are things women can do to help effect change.
This article reviews a book that instructs women on dealing with double standards at work – What Works for Women at Work by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey. This book is big…365 pages of advice for staying on par with men in the workplace. It’s a little sad, to me, that women need SO MANY pointers just to get noticed at work. But I digress. This book has a lot of information. Some “easy-to-follow” strategies (that don’t seem so easy) encourage women to walk the “tightrope” between appearing too feminine and too masculine. If we’re too feminine, we’re seen as weak. But if we’re too masculine, men think we lack social skills.
These strategies include things like “talking about your children as little as possible,” “controlling your anger and deploying it strategically,” and “speaking louder and more rapidly.” There’s a lot of stuff we’re supposed to do and think about when we’re just trying to have a conversation. It’s exhausting. But the book also has some humor and a great message, which is: making ourselves and the men around us aware of what we face will help us move ahead more quickly.
It should come as no surprise that men are more confident at work than women. What is surprising is how big that gap is. And how unfounded. This article sums it up nicely with some interesting factoids about confidence. While women will only apply for a promotion if they’re sure they’re 100% qualified, men will apply for promotions all willy-nilly when they only have 60% of the necessary skillset.
Or how about this one: women with an MBA think that five years after graduating, they’ll deserve $64,000, while men think they deserve $80,000. Women are undervaluing themselves by a whopping 20%. Is the issue just that men think too highly of themselves? Well, that’s always a possibility.
But this gap in confidence doesn’t really make sense, when you look at how the business-world actually works. Companies that employ senior-level women make more money than their competitors. Women also get more degrees, post-graduate degrees, and evenPHDs than men. Our skills aren’t the problem, it’s our self-assurance. Or lack thereof.
How do we fix this? By going for that promotion, even without ALL the necessary qualifications. Or at least by asking for that much-deserved raise or taking credit for a job well done. You go, girls.
About the Author
I’m a Copywriter at Leggett & Platt, which means I spend my days writing about wire, wire-forming, wire-related products, and products made out of wire. In my free time, I enjoy writing about wire, wire-forming, wire-related products, and products made out of wire. Not really. I do enjoy writing, though.
As a child, I would write stories and have my much more artistic sister illustrate them for me. And when I’m not writing, I’m reading. I bring a book with me everywhere I go (seriously, the Nook app on my phone is my most-used app by a landslide). Though I mostly read fiction, I’ve recently made a personal vow to read more news and stay more informed. So now, I read the news while I’m drying my hair in the morning, I read books during my lunch break, and I go back to the news before bed. And occasionally I squeeze in some time to binge-watch TV shows on Netflix (like the time I watched a season and a half of Breaking Bad in one day).