Why We Need More Women in Hollywood and Television

Movies and television are important shapers of culture and provide us with role models for ways to be in the world. I remember the first time I saw a woman portrayed in a movie as a strong heroine. She was the warrior in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the year 2000, and I was thrilled to see a woman as the lead on screen showing strength, cleverness, and tenderness. Most recently we have the character of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies. Her creator, author Suzanne Collins, presents young girls and women a complex role model who never settles into a stereotype, is never upstaged by a love interest, is both a hunter and nurturer, and who has positive relationships with women. But this chance to see such a role model is rare: this is the first movie with a lone female lead to top the annual domestic box office in four decades. It is not just as lead characters that we need more female presence in film and television. Women as screenwriters, directors, editors, and producers have important talents and contributions to make as role models and shapers of culture; however, gender discrimination is even worse in Hollywood than in Silicon Valley and corporate America, and women are shut out. In 2005, actress Geena Davis commissioned a research project at the University of Southern California to study the issue and bring attention to gender discrimination in Hollywood. Here are some of the findings from that research:

  • Between 2007 and 2014, women made up only 30.2 percent of speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing fictional films.
  • Between 2013 and 2014, women were only 1.9 percent of the directors of the 100 top-grossing films.
  • In 2014, the six major studios released only three movies with a female director.
  • In 2014, 95 percent of cinematographers, 89 percent of screenwriters, 82 percent of editors, 81 percent of executive producers, and 77 percent of producers were men.
  • A recent Directors Guild analysis of 277 television series in 2014 found women directed only 16 percent.
  • The Writers Guild of America Staff Board showed women’s share of writing positions for television has flatlined since 2001 and is the worst on staffs of late night shows, where women represent only 18 percent of writers.
Events in the past year have brought additional problems to light that helped trigger an industry-wide investigation by the ACLU and EEOC into gender discrimination, which has yet to be resolved. One of the additional problems highlighted came out in the data hacked from Sony Pictures databases which revealed that female stars, such as Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams, were paid less than their lesser-known male costars. What can we do? Fixing the gender problem in Hollywood requires that we raise awareness of the problems by talking with others and lending support to women in the industry. I try to do this by noticing the credits and commenting on the presence or lack of women in creative roles. We can also tweet and post our support for women in Hollywood and television. They influence our culture, and we need their perspectives and talents.   Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]]>

Hopeful News on Paid Family Leave Policies: Change Is in the Air

I have written previously about the poor representation and inhospitable climate for women in the technology sector. Only 17 percent of technology positions in the United States are filled by women. In addition to facing unconscious bias that makes it difficult to succeed, the lack of family-friendly policies also discourages women from being attracted to jobs in the technology sector. But suddenly, change is in the air. Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times reports the following:

  • Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook recently announced that he will take two months of paternity leave when his daughter is born (his company now provides four months of paid parental leave).
  • Spotify just announced they will provide six months of paid parental leave.
  • Microsoft recently doubled paid leave to twenty weeks for new mothers.
  • Netflix recently announced they will provide fully paid leave for one year for new mothers and fathers.
  • IBM, on the Working Mother’s list of family-friendly companies for thirty years, recently expanded benefits to include fertility treatments, backup childcare, and shipments of breast milk home from business trips.

Why Are These Changes Coming Now?

Several social factors are converging to create pressure for companies to change, though Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project at the University of Pennsylvania, cautions that it will take another 15–20 years for this movement to be complete. Here are some factors currently having a positive impact on company policies:
  • The founders of many technology companies, such as Mark Zuckerberg, are becoming parents.
  • Pressures to diversify the workforce have been intensifying. As it becomes more difficult to attract and retain talent in a tight labor market, technology companies are competing for talent by trying to offer the best benefits.
  • Millennial men and women, the largest generation in the workforce, are more likely than their predecessors to rank family obligations ahead of work.
  • Educated women are demanding paid family leave.
And most interesting of all—men are filing gender discrimination lawsuits. Joan C. Williams of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of Law explains, “suddenly men feel entitled to take time off for family. It’s revolutionary.” These lawsuits by men for the right to take parental leave without retaliation are also starting to take place beyond the technology sector.

Continuing Challenges

The implementation of paid family leave for some employees in some companies is a welcome change, and I am hopeful that this change will eventually spread to cover everyone. There are still a number of challenges to support for families that we need to be aware of:
  • Workplaces are still structured based on the model employee who has no other demands on their time (and someone at home to provide unpaid family support).
  • The number of workplace hours have increased and there is still an expectation of 24/7 availability.
  • In many companies and sectors, fathers are discouraged from adjusting their schedules or taking full paternity leave, and retaliation does occur.
  • Overall, parenthood still affects women’s careers more than men’s. Men’s decisions to take family leave are scrutinized for signals about commitment, while women are quickly written off as uncommitted as soon as they have a child.
  • Overall, the number of companies providing flexible work options or other family-friendly benefits has remained stagnant for the last five years.
  • Only 12 percent of workers in the United States have access to paid family leave.
  • There is a significant income divide in the United States. Only 5 percent of the workers in the bottom earnings quartile get paid family leave compared to 21 percent of those in the top earnings quartile.

Next Steps

Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of the research firm New America and author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family, notes that while some organizations are starting to offer paid family leave and other family-friendly benefits to some of their workers, “we are not going to be able to do this (make sufficient change) one woman at a time or one company at a time, without actual legislation, policy, political action.” We need to keep the pressure on our own organizations and on our politicians as they run for office to institute policies and pass laws that value both work and family life. What is the status of paid family leave in your organization? What changes are you seeing in support for families?   Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]]>

Good News for Gender Equity: It Can Happen! Two Success Stories and Lessons Learned

Two recent stories about efforts to achieve gender equity provide encouragement about what’s possible and some useful lessons about how to get there. Here are the two cases, one from science and the other from technology. The Microbiologists Women have been underrepresented as speakers and presenters at scholarly meetings for many years, but one group, the American Society for Microbiology, found a way to achieve gender parity in three short years. Between 2012 and 2015, the percentage of presentations by female scholars went from 25.9 percent to 48.5 percent—almost parity. Why is it important that women scientists have equal visibility at professional meetings?

  • Women now constitute a majority of the students and postdocs in microbiology and represent the future of the field. A message of “no glass ceiling” is important to keep them engaged and to ensure their talents are fully recognized and utilized.
  • Being a speaker or presenter at a professional meeting impacts career advancement. Invitations to speak at major professional meetings are used by faculty promotion and tenure committees as evidence of external recognition and are critical to advancement decisions.
How did they do it? Several valuable lessons for other organizations can be learned from the steps taken by the American Society of Microbiologists to achieve gender equity. To begin with, the women scientists who were members of the Society rejected the conventional wisdom that there were not enough qualified women to be speakers and that it would take a generation for parity to be achieved. They insisted that steps be taken to correct the imbalance. Specifically, three steps were taken that led to parity in three years:
  • The program committee studied historical data to learn about the gender gap among speakers.
  • More women were recruited as conveners, or organizers, of presentation panels. These panels usually include several presenters who take turns giving talks on related topics. The female conveners invited more women to present research papers than had occurred in the past.
  • Conveners were urged to avoid creating all-male panels. This was not an absolute requirement, but the intention to include more women resulted in a drop to 4.1 percent of the panels being all-male in 2015, down from 35.7 percent in 2011.
The Technology Company The next case comes from Salesforce.com, a Silicon Valley technology company. The story begins when, one day, the CEO noticed that his meetings with managers only included men. He was aware of all the talk about a lack of gender diversity in Silicon Valley and realized that his company had that problem, too. He was concerned and took the following steps:
  • He set goals to achieve 100 percent gender equality for pay and promotion in his company.
  • He started what he called Women’s Surge in 2013 where he asked managers across the company to identify their top executives for advanced leadership training. If they sent him lists that were mostly men, he sent the lists back and asked for more diverse lists. Promotions of women started to climb.
  • Two of the women promoted during the “surge” decided to leverage their new positions to help other women. They went together to the CEO and told him they felt certain that women were being paid less than men for the same work in the company. He was shocked but commissioned a salary review that proved them right. Salary adjustments have begun.
This company still has a long way to go to reach gender equality. Only 29 percent of the employees are female, including only five of twenty-one executive team members and two of eleven board members—but they are on the right track. What are the lessons from these two cases that other organizations can learn from?
  • Women need to join forces and push for change.
  • The gender pay gap is usually invisible, which helps perpetuate the gap. Organizations need to regularly conduct salary reviews and make adjustments. Scrutiny and transparency about salaries are critical to closing the gaps.
  • Efforts to promote equality must be intentional and consistent:
    1. Set goals (not quotas).
    2. Hold managers and conveners accountable for promoting and including women in visible roles.
All of these lessons learned also apply to achieving equity for all dimensions of diversity, including race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. What other suggestions do you have?   Image courtesy imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]]>

Do You Work Too Many Hours?

Several of my coaching clients are trying to find a solution to the same challenge—they work so many hours a week that they have no time for relationships, friends, exercise, relaxation, or children. These clients are men and women in large corporations, academia, small businesses, and large and small nonprofits. Their stress levels are high, their sleep quality is poor, or their hours of sleep too few. They often love their work—but they are not happy with their lives. Does this sound familiar? Robin Ely of Harvard University and her colleagues Irene Padavic and Erin Reid of Florida State University and Boston University recently reported the results of a new study they conducted for a large consulting company. The company asked them to conduct the study to determine what they needed to do to retain, and increase promotions of, women. The researchers concluded that the problem is not a lack of family-friendly policies—it is a surge in the number of hours worked by both women and men. Ely explained, “The culture of overwork affects everybody.” Here are some startling facts about the current situation when it comes to work hours:

  • The number of hours worked has increased by 5 percent for high-wage earners over the last four decades.
  • The typical professional employee works 60–65 hours per week, although in some sectors, like finance, employees are expected to work 80–100 hours per week.
  • Long hours have become a status symbol in high-wage sectors.
  • A combination of globalization and technology has created the expectation of 24/7 availability for work.
  • In addition to creating an expectation of 24/7 availability, the use of technology can become an addiction that does not allow for a balanced life.
  • The number of hours worked by low-wage workers has increased by 20 percent over the past four decades
  • Low wages that have not increased as the cost of living has gone up (and, consequently, are not living wages) combined with unpredictable work schedules mean high stress for workers who have to juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Study Findings

In their study, Ely, Padavic, and Reid found that men and women at the large consulting firm were equally unhappy about long work hours. But, interestingly, the women and men dealt with the pressure of long hours differently, with different consequences:
  • Women took advantage of flex-time or part-time policies, and stalled their careers.
  • Men suffered silently and complied with the expectations of long work hours, or they worked the schedule they wanted, without asking permission, with no career consequences. (This same strategy did not work for the women who tried it, however.)
The authors found two cultural assumptions behind these different outcomes:
  • Men are expected to be devoted to work, and it is assumed they are working even when they are not in the office.
  • Women are expected to be devoted to family, and it is assumed they are not working when they are not in the office—even when they are.

What You Can Do

Here are some steps you can take to fight the trend toward long work hours:
  • If you are a team leader, you may be able to create a team culture where people agree to rotate coverage for nights and weekends to give each other dedicated family or relaxation time when there is a need for someone to be on call.
  • You may be able to change the expectation that you are available 24/7 by announcing that you are not available outside the office, at least on some nights and weekends—or during vacations. If you are the boss, you can be a role model by not sending e-mails during off-hours.
  • You may be able to get your boss to prioritize your work and eliminate low-priority projects or reassign them to create a more manageable workload.
  • If a lot of your work requires travel for meetings, you may be able to use technology for meetings instead.
  • Working for a smaller organization may allow you more control over your work life. Some small law firms, medical practices, and nonprofits are committed to real work-life balance. The pay may be less, but the tradeoff may be worth it.
  • Join with others to put pressure on organizations, and governments, to pay a living wage for low-wage workers.
We can all be part of the solution to bring about reasonable work hours and schedules for everyone, but it can be hard to make changes on your own. It’s unlikely that organizations really need us to work all these hours, or that hard-working people can’t be paid a living wage. Start talking with your coworkers and see what you can figure out together.   Photo credit: Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]]>

Women in Science: Myths and Facts

Why are there still so few women in the top levels of academic science despite equal numbers of women and men at the undergraduate and graduate levels? Let’s examine some myths and biases about women in the sciences and consider some facts that help explain the current situation. Then I’ll close with some good news!

Myths and Biases about Women in Science

In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Joan C. Williams and Jessi L. Smith note that there are distinct patterns of gender bias that affect female scientists:
  1. The first pattern, which is also a myth, is the belief that women are less competent at science. The impact of this bias is that two-thirds of female scientists in a recent study reported a double standard when going for promotions. They had to provide more evidence of their skills than their male colleagues did to be seen as equally competent.
  2. Another pattern is a familiar double bind for women leaders in many sectors—walking the “tightrope” of being seen as too feminine to be competent or too masculine to be likable with very little room to maneuver between the two extremes. The authors quoted one of the women scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as explaining, “To get ahead here, you have to be so aggressive. But if women are too aggressive, they’re ostracized, and if they’re not aggressive enough, they have to do twice the work [to prove themselves].” Three-fourths of the women in one study reported experiencing this double bind.
  3. A third pattern and myth is that if you are a mother, you cannot also be a high-achieving scientist. Williams and Smith explain that the operating bias is that to be a high-achieving scientist, you must be “tirelessly and single-mindedly focused on research” without the distractions of a family. In a recent survey, two-thirds of the female scientists reported experiencing this bias, and female scientists are more than twice as likely to be childless than American women in general. Can it be that talented women are opting out of academic leadership positions in the sciences and choosing other careers because the price to stay in science is too high?

Training as a Scientist—Structural Barriers for Women

Molecular biologist Sara Clatterbuck Soper offers some insights into the ways that gender bias impacts training opportunities for women scientists. In an article in the New York Times, she explains that training in the sciences resembles the medieval apprentice system—scientists must spend a lengthy period of time training in the lab of an established principle investigator who has near-absolute authority in hiring. This apprenticeship is the pathway to a senior position, and eventually to having your own lab. The problem is the leader’s near-absolute hiring authority. Clatterbuck Soper cites a 2014 study that found that male scientists more often hire other men for coveted training positions. This study reported that the more prominent the men, such as Nobel Prize winners, the larger the gender gap in hiring. The elite male professors in the study employed 24 percent female postdoctoral researchers compared with 46 percent in labs run by women, and 36 percent female graduate students compared to 53 percent in labs run by women. Because training in the sciences requires high-quality apprenticeship and mentoring and so few women are lab leaders, there is a shortage of training opportunities for aspiring women scientists. Clatterbuck Soper explains that women represent half of the graduate students in biosciences but only 21 percent of full professors.

Good News

What is the good news in all of this? Did you notice that half of all undergraduate and graduate students in science are women? That is good news, and it debunks the myth that women are not interested in the sciences. What is needed now is a change in the biases, attitudes, and practices that limit opportunities for talented women in the sciences.   Photo credit: Image courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]]>

How to Stop Apologizing

If you’re like me, you say “I’m sorry” way too often when you have nothing to be sorry about. Men apologize too, but recent studies suggest that women are 37 percent more likely to apologize than men. Sure, an apology may be in order when our behavior impacts someone negatively and in a way we hadn’t intended. For example, I recently upset a colleague when I interrupted her during a meeting with a client. I apologized sincerely. I regretted my actions and regretted upsetting her. But too often we say sorry when we have done nothing wrong. Sloane Crosley of the New York Times suggested that this behavior may stem from centuries of women lacking rights and having to be very indirect to survive. In fact, Mika Brzezinski, in her book, Knowing Your Value, shares current-day advice from many successful women about the need to “smile and be relentlessly pleasant” and to be “tough as nails and warm as toast” when negotiating for a raise or promotion. But none of these women suggest that apologizing is ever an effective negotiating tactic, or an effective way to communicate to get what you want—unless you are trying to mend a relationship. A recent article included this list of situations where it is common, and counterproductive, for women to apologize:

  • When asking for a raise or promotion you have earned
  • When asking for vacation time you have earned
  • When reminding someone to do something they said they would do, but didn’t
  • For having an opinion
  • For not responding to someone immediately
  • For having an emotional reaction to something
  • For not getting the dish you ordered at a restaurant
Here are some steps you can take to stop apologizing:
  1. Get clear about what you want before you ask. Many women are so focused on meeting the needs of others that they don’t know what their needs and wants are.
  2. Practice asking for what you want, or saying what you have to say, without apologizing.
  3. Be prepared with information about why you should get what you want. Be clear that you deserve this promotion or raise and present your accomplishments. Be prepared with alternatives if you don’t get what you first ask for, don’t ask yes or no questions, and don’t apologize for asking.
  4. Be direct. Make declarative statements about what you want or what your opinion is, without apologizing. Don’t raise your voice at the end of a sentence to imply you are asking a question instead of making a statement. Many women feel that it is rude to make statements, but your communication will actually be clearer and less confusing to others if you are direct.
  5. Be pleasant. There is rarely a time when being rude is either appropriate or effective. Think about it. If someone is rude to you when they ask for something from you, how motivated are you to get it for them? Being pleasant is useful for everyone but especially important for women. Remember, simply asking for what you want is not rude, so there is no need to apologize.
For many of us, apologizing is a habit and breaking a habit requires determination and practice. Make a pact with a friend or coworker to point out when you are apologizing unnecessarily. Becoming conscious of this behavior goes a long way toward stopping it and support helps. Are you ready to take the pledge to stop apologizing? Have you been successful in breaking this habit? Let me know what worked for you!   Image credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]]>

Why Is It So Hard for Women in the Military to Fit In?

Two million US women are now veterans. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the United States military attempted the integration of women into the military in unprecedented numbers (15 percent of service members during these conflicts were women), opening combat and leadership roles to women for the first time. Yet, although women distinguished themselves as leaders and soldiers, Emily King of the Minnesota Women’s Press noted that “service women often feel disrespected and devalued, and many face discrimination.” Benedict Carey of the New York Times and King agree on two of the main factors that make life in the military so hard for women:

  • A sense of isolation for women that undermines their confidence and can lead to depression and suicide
  • The way the military treats sexual trauma, an experience that is more common for women than for men in the military

Isolation—Why Does It Happen?

The isolation women face in the military is not unlike what happens to women in other male-dominated industries and organizations, as described in my book, New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together. As in other male-dominated organizations, women often see other women as their competition and do not support or bond with each other. King quoted military women who said, “Women generally don’t bond with other women,” and “There’s a sense of competition [between women] . . . fed by their superiors comparing them with other women rather than with their male peers.” While this dynamic of competition is not unique to the military, the impact on women under conditions of deployment and war may be especially severe. In addition, women in the military also have difficulty bonding with their male peers because they must all live together. Fear of rumors of romantic alliances, along with the potential misinterpretation of friendly gestures by a male peer, results in more isolation for women. It is not surprising, then, that their experience of exclusion has led to an alarming level of hopelessness and alienation felt among many women in the military and a resulting increase in the suicide rate for female soldiers during and after deployment. The rate of depression after deployment is also higher for women than men. The exception is for women who found companionship with other women while in the military.

Sexual Assault

King reported that according to government statistics, “About one in four women experience unwanted sexual contact in the military, ranging from inappropriate touching to rape.” Because reporting sexual assault is discouraged by the structure and procedures of the military, the percentages could be as high as three in four women. The chain of command system of determining guilt means that cases are not reported to civilian authorities, and a highly sexualized boy’s club culture means that perpetrators are seldom held accountable. Consequently, little support exists for those reporting sexual assaults. While Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, proposed a bill in 2014 that would move these cases out of military courts to prevent commanders from making decisions about prosecuting subordinates for rape and sexual assault, it did not pass in the Senate.

What Needs to Change?

The military needs to recognize the challenges faced by women that men do not face. To create a healthier and more supportive environment in which women can continue to excel without enduring the psychological and emotional damage that results from isolation and sexual assault, the military needs to make several changes:
  • Encourage supportive environments where women can bond and be supportive of each other. Organizations do this by promoting the formation and functioning of affinity groups.
  • Reward a wide range of leadership styles. As in corporations, while women can adopt a masculine leadership style, this style doesn’t play to the strengths of many women. Having to pretend you are someone you’re not, especially in the stressful context of military deployment, can take a toll.
  • Support passage and implementation of laws and policies that would move prosecution of sexual assault cases to civilian authorities to restore credibility and accountability.
Ultimately, we need more women in the senior ranks of the military, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff level, to get the changes that will allow everyone who desires a military career to thrive and bring their best to their service.   Image credit: Photo courtesy of US Army (http://www.army.mil)]]>

Our Discomfort with Powerful Women: What We Can Do

I recently met a woman from India while we both waited for a train. The first question she asked me was, “Why have you never elected a woman leader in the United States, as we have done in India?” All I could say was, “That’s a good question.” She went on to ask, “Do you think Hillary Clinton will win the election this time? Is the United States ready yet for a woman leader?” I truthfully answered, “I really don’t feel confident that we are ready. The facts are not very encouraging—and I hope I’m wrong.” In a recent article in the New York Times, Bryce Covert cited these discouraging facts:

  • There has not yet been a woman elected to the White House.
  • The US Congress is less than 20 percent female.
  • In 2009, the year after Hillary Clinton conceded the nomination for president to Barack Obama, 13.5 percent of the top jobs in Fortune 500 companies were occupied by women. By 2013, that number rose to only 14.6 percent.
Covert goes on to note two troubling trends:
  • Women and minorities usually make it to corporate leadership in times of crisis.
  • They face backlash and added challenges once they get there that men don’t face.
Covert cited one study of large companies on the London Stock Exchange, which found that those companies who had put women on their boards “had just experienced consistently bad stock performance, while companies were generally stable before they appointed men.” Covert also cited a large study of all the promotions to chief executive at Fortune 500 companies over a fifteen-year period. The study found that “a company’s return on equity was consistently and significantly negative just before a woman or a minority got the job.” Because companies are commonly in crisis when women get the chance to take a senior leadership role, it is harder for women to succeed and more likely that they will be forced out and blamed for the problems. The second trend shows that once hired, women and minorities face challenges and forms of backlash that make success more difficult. Covert cited polling that shows both women and men prefer to have men in senior executive positions. (I have written in a previous article about the preference for male bosses.) In addition, Covert reported research on backlash against women when they act assertively at work. He noted that “female leaders are more likely to be called abrasive, strident, aggressive and even emotional.”  Women of color are also more likely to be called angry and militant when they act assertively. (Read more about this dynamic in another of my previous articles.)

What We Can Do to Help Pave the Way for Women Leaders

Because all change has to start with ourselves, we can take steps to fix these problems:
  1. Support women’s leadership in general. Remember, studies show that both women and men prefer having men as leaders, so we can reverse this trend by starting to be more supportive, in general, of women leaders at all levels and positions.
  2. Notice your own reflex reactions to quickly judge or feel uncomfortable with women leaders. I recently caught myself starting to be critical of a book by a well-known woman. I challenged myself to look for the value in the book, and I found plenty of value. Challenge yourself to ask, “What else could be true?” when you find yourself with an urge to negatively judge a woman.
  3. Whatever your political persuasion, challenge others when they judge a woman candidate as too aggressive, too ambitious, strident, or angry. These were many of the negative adjectives, often expressed by women, that were used to describe Hillary Clinton when she ran in 2008. Challenge people to speak about qualifications, facts, and issues, instead of personal characteristics.
Yes, we have work to do as a country to be ready to elect a female president, but by pushing through our unconscious bias and making conscious choices based on awareness, facts, and issues we can get ready to support women leaders. We can challenge ourselves and others to become aware of unconscious bias that stacks the deck against women leaders. Think about how important it is for girls to have more role models so that they are encouraged to aspire to be all they can be. Your decisions today will impact their future.   Image credit: Photo courtesy of Ralf Roletschek, Wikimedia Commons  ]]>

Vision Statements and Codes of Conduct


Sample vision statement and code of conduct

Vision statement The women of [this organization] are a community of high-performing women who support each other to realize our own potential and the potential of our teams and to provide exceptional service to our clients. Code of conduct To realize our vision, we

• Surface our friendship rules—we talk about our expectations • Stay present and engaged with each other, even in the face of disappointment • Give each other feedback about the impact of our behaviors • Are trustworthy—we transknit, but we do not gossip • Maintain confidences when asked to do so or else say we cannot • Celebrate and acknowledge each other’s achievements • Compete for rewards and resources while affirming our relationships • Engage in meaningful disagreement and listen to each other • Challenge ideas, not people • Help each other feel heard in meetings • Self-disclose to the degree we are each comfortable • Are authentic—we share where we are directly to each other • Ask ourselves, “What else could be true?” when we feel judgmental of another woman

  An excerpt from my book, New Rules for Women, available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982056982/).]]>

Next Steps for Dealing with Negative Stereotypes

  • Discounted or doubted yourself?
  • Apologized before presenting your ideas in a group or meeting, such as saying, “I may be wrong” or “This is probably a stupid question”?
  • Felt like an imposter or fraud when you got a promotion or opportunity?
  • Looked in the mirror and really disliked what you saw?
  • Tied your self-image to your appearance or clothes?
  • Level II—Have you ever
    • Said something negative about another woman and denied it when she asked?
    • Talked negatively about a woman behind her back and smiled to her face?
    • Made a commitment to support another woman and didn’t do it when the time came?
    • Said to someone, “She’s such a bitch”?
    • Made fun of another woman’s appearance behind her back?
    • Said or thought, “You can’t trust women”?
    • Spread a rumor that you had heard that cast doubt on another woman’s competence?
    • Seen another woman’s ideas attacked or ignored in a meeting, whether you agreed with them or not, while you sat back and watched in silence?
    Use the following scoring guide to reflect upon your answers:

    1–3 checks = You exhibit low internalization of negative stereotypes about women.

    4–6 checks = You exhibit moderate internalization of negative stereotypes about women.

    7+ checks = You exhibit strong internalization of negative stereotypes about women.

    2. Think about your vision for how you would like women to behave toward each other at work. Create a personal code of conduct for how you want to behave. Post it and look at it daily to remind yourself of how you want to be.   An excerpt from my book, New Rules for Women, available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982056982/).]]>