Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What doesn't work for women at work

My weekly book post on s+b's blogs is up today:

Outing Gender Bias
I’ve never had any problems with women in the workplace. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, they can have the workplace. But, unfortunately, that says more about how I feel about working than how I feel about working with women. And with International Women’s Day approaching, I find myself compelled to admit that I’m as likely to exhibit gender bias as the next guy.

Here’s how I know: A while back, I attended an all-hands strategy+business editorial meeting during which we discussed our coverage of business books, among many other things. I had an idea about our book reviews, and as is my wont, I blurted it out. Everybody liked it. We decided to adopt it. I patted myself on the back (also my wont): Good thinking, Ted!
A day later, while considering what needed to done to implement the idea, it dawned on me that I had heard the idea before. Not once, but twice. In each of the previous two all-hands editorial meetings, female members of the team had suggested the exact same idea. I remembered that my reaction had been a distinct “meh” and that their suggestions hadn’t gone anywhere…except to the area of my mind reserved for stolen ideas. (My wife and writing partner believes that this particular area of my brain is extremely well developed.)

As it turns out, there was something more insidious going on than run-of-the-mill intellectual thievery. Joan C. Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, and the founder and director of its Center for WorkLife Law, and her daughter, Yale University School of Law student Rachel Dempsey, find that the “stolen idea” phenomena is related to a common type of gender bias that they call “prove it again!” In their book, What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know (NYU Press, 2014), they explain that the “prove it again!” pattern requires women to demonstrate their competence repeatedly, far more often than men, because “information about men’s competence has more staying power than equivalent information about women” the rest here

No comments: