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What's a Woman in the Workplace to Do?

by Lisa Belkin  |  1084 views  |  2 comments  |       Rate this now! 

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This is yet another great but sad article from Lisa Belkin, in which she sites findings from various studies of leadership qualities and how women are perceived in them. While the studies focus in on different aspect of leadership, the answer is fairly--and sadly--consistent: Whatever the particular leadership quality, women are perceived to be more lacking in it than men.

Here are examples of finding from some studies she sites, read the article for more:
  •  ...while men gain stature and clout by expressing anger, women who express it are seen as being out of control, and lose stature;
  • [one study] found that women who act in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes — defined as focusing “on work relationships” and expressing “concern for other people’s perspectives” — are considered less competent. But if they act in ways that are seen as more “male” — like “act assertively, focus on work task, display ambition” — they are seen as “too tough” and “unfeminine.”

The article's author poses a great question: What are we, as women, supposed to do with these findings? Should we even pay attention and alter our behavior at work or do the ways women are perceived in the workplace have to change before more women can hold leadership positions?

Share your thoughts in the comments! 





2 comments so far...

  • (I don't necessarily believe that, btw. I'm just pondering.)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 29th November 2007

  • Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    That idea that men gain stature by getting angry? Who was polled for that? Because I'll tell you: anyone who throws a hissy fit in the workplace -- male of female -- goes solidly DOWN in my estimation.

    Of course, there are positive ways to express anger. If it's done properly, it can be very effective. Could it be that men, having been societally permitted anger for longer, are more practiced at doing it properly, whereas women, trained from the cradle NOT to express anger. are more likely to express it in inappropriate ways, because they have to be driven past the point of reason to let it out?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 29th November 2007

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