Dating Magazine

Women Working Harder in the Boardroom and the Kitchen

By Datecoachtoni @CoachToni

The NY Times has a great piece running on how women are often the ones in the office who volunteer to step up and help other employees, plan an office party, offer extra mentoring to new hires, and/or stay late when a project needs someone to put in more hours. In this piece titled Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee, authors Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg detail how gender stereotyping is apparently alive and well in this age of post feminism, even though women have made so much progress in educational and professional achievement.

What is most interesting (disturbing) are their findings that even though women go above and beyond in their efforts and achievements, they are often passed over for promotions that men easily get. They often highlight what we have all witnessed that when men volunteer extra time and effort in the office, they receive a lot of attention and praise for it, when for women, it’s just taken for granted. After all, men are expected to get bottom line results and women to be the nurturers. Therefore if a woman behaves more like a man, she is labelled as selfish and aggressive…don’t we know it.

A study that was headed by psychologist Madeline Heilman from New York University found that when men offered to stay late, they were rated 14 percent more favorably by study participants than women. If both men and women refused to stay late, women were rated 12 percent lower than their male counterparts. Given the same effort and contributions, the men were much more likely to be recommended for promotions, bonuses and raises than the women. If a woman contributed well above and beyond her rating often matched the guy who did nothing extra.

Women are often expected to be the ones who bring the baked goods, answer phones if no one else is assigned to do so, and take notes at meetings (someone has to.) What was particularly interesting is that men tend to be very public when they offer to do more, making sure others see and recognize their efforts. Women on the other hand, do so quietly and behind the scenes, not expecting anything from it.

What I found fascinating is that this mirrors what happens at home. Women are the caretakers, the nurturers, and their contributions are both expected and rarely acknowledged or praised. Women themselves have no expectation of this as they get satisfaction from doing for others, especially those they love. Women are “we” centered and men are “I” centered. Yes, these roles most likely developed for a very good and practical reason ages and ages ago—but with women taking on careers and so much more outside of the home, the imbalance is burning women out and harming marriages and family life.

I was reflecting on what might help and I kept going back to how we as mothers raise our sons. Do we expect from them what we expect from our daughters? Do we see them as being just as capable? Do we give our daughters the message that it is important to allow others to do for them and to set limits on what they are willing to do? My guess is that all of us have failed a bit in this regard. Yet if we all really think about it that is where any real change will happen. Women need to parent more evenly and women also need to learn to set more limits at home. What they do at work is harder as that promotion or raise they have worked so hard for could be put at jeopardy.


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