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Gender in the Workplace

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Presentation on theme: "Gender in the Workplace"— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender in the Workplace
Dr. Heidi Strobel & Professor Meg Atwater-Singer

2 Women Working Outside the Home
Detail from Winslow Homer etching of women filling cartridges at the U.S. Arsenal in Watertown, MA; Harper’s Weekly cover, July 20, 1861

3 The 20th Century 19th Amendment extended suffrage to women
Proposed June 4, 1919 & Ratified Aug. 18, 1920

4 Double bind: femininity quotient
Does this still exist today?

5 Real increases after Title IX
Inroads made during the Depression and World War II Real increases after Title IX


7 Biology v. Gender Biology = physical body
Gender = social organization of sexual difference

8 Masculinity Intelligent Courageous Honest Machismo Potent sexuality
Affinity for violence Provider Ambitious Confident Competent Strong

9 Femininity Soft Passive Domestic Nurturing Emotional Dependent
Sensitive Delicate Intuitive Fastidious Needy Fearful

10 Women’s Double Bind Madonna Whore Chaste, domestic, caring mother
Sexy, seducing, fun-loving playmate Double-bind: 1) psychological impasse created when contradictory demands are made of an individual…so that no matter which directive is followed, the response will be construed as incorrect. (2) A situation in which a person must choose between equally unsatisfactory alternatives; a punishing and inescapable dilemma.

11 Contemporary’s Ideal Woman
Smart Competent Independent Beautiful Thin Sexy Loving Sensitive Competent domestically Emotionally healthy

12 Key Leadership Skills Consulting Delegating Influencing Upward
Inspiring Others Intellectually Stimulating Mentoring Monitoring Networking Planning Problem-Solving Rewarding Role Modeling Supporting Team-Building Ask audience: What are key “female” leadership skills? Which are key “male” leadership skills? Research shows that both male & female leaders buy into gender stereotypes believing that women excel at female skills and men at male skills. This limits both male & female behavior in the workplace because of the false dichotomy (either/or).

13 Think-Leader-Think-Male
Women are ATYPICAL leaders Gender stereotypes Emphasize “natural differences” Mutually exclusive Men & women are more similar than different More variation among women than between women & men

14 Numbers at a Glance 50.6 % all management & professional positions held by women in 2005 1.8 % Fortune 500 CEOs who were women in 2006 0.7 % Increase in women’s representation in Fortune 500 companies from

15 Some Corporate Practices
Gender Discrimination Lawsuits in last 10 year Walmart, Home Depot, Lucky Stores, and Smith Barney 2004: Walmart vs. 1.6 million plaintiffs

16 Potential Corporate-Gender Pitfalls
“Women don’t want this kind of work” Gender-associated stereotypes in evaluations “a sweet person” Influence of job assignments, training, or promotions Existence of gender-segregated job ladders or career paths No incentives for bias-free decision-making Disparate opportunities for advancement & pay for equal skills

17 Catalyst’s Damned & Doomed
Extreme Perceptions High Competence Threshold Competent but Disliked Catalyst is the leading advisory & research organization working work businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work. The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Damned if you Do, Doomed if you Don’t was published in 2007.

18 Extreme Perceptions Too Soft Too Hard Acting in gender-consistent ways
Cooperative, relationship-focused manner Not a leader Too Hard Acting in gender-inconsistent ways Authoritative, ambitious, task-focused Leader-like, not ladylike

19 High Competence Threshold
Prove again & again More time and energy than male counterparts Manage stereotypical expectations Work harder to prove equal competence

20 Competent but Disliked
Social disapproval Less likely to trust or follow instructions Less effective Less personable Less likely to exert interpersonal influence Appreciated for leadership style or interpersonal style – not both

21 Women Leaders’ Strategies
Talk Openly Show them Otherwise Use Clear & Effective Communication Minimize the Issue

22 Talk Openly Immediately confront the inequitable situation
Clearly communicate concerns Note when a comment/behavior is inappropriate Do not discount your own feelings or perceptions Address assumptions to create awareness

23 Show them Otherwise Show your competence Be consistent
Be visible, seek high-level assignments Speak up at meetings Find a mentor

24 Clear & Effective Communication
Let people know what you want Ask questions Be diplomatic Learn the jargon

25 Minimize the Issue Learn to ignore gender and act in gender-neutral ways Reframe the issue to your advantage Adapt yourself to the context

26 Recognizing Current Limitations
Women now comprise a majority of college graduates Underrepresented in leadership positions Held to a different standard (Clinton)

27 Conclusions No single “woman’s point of view”
Acknowledge gender’s role Push for alternative (nonlinear) career path options

28 Conclusions Groups emphasize preexisting gender inequities more than independent projects Gender differences impact leadership positions Mix assertion with sociability

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