Monday, 11 April 2016

A tip for career women

Recently I read an article by Ashley Stahl, on what she has observed tends to prevent women advancing within their careers.

Ashley says, "We’ve all been there — you pen a strongly worded email, confident in your stance, and hit 'send'. Then you immediately cringe and begin to question yourself. Should you have used softer language? Should you have called instead of emailing? Maybe you should have just kept quiet?"

Ashley suggests this is doubt, but I feel it is fear. It is fear based on social construction, where those who are around us "disapprove" of our actions, simply because we are women, and not conforming to the societally constructed views of what is considered to be appropriate actions for women to take.

Ashley continues, "You’ve probably read plenty of articles about women missing out on opportunities in the workplace — because they don’t speak up enough. Because they aren’t taught to be leaders like men are. But the second we start to chime in, to assert ourselves and establish boundaries, we earn the reputation as the office bitch. While gender stereotypes are slowly improving, these biases are an unfortunate reality for women in the professional world right now. It’s the ultimate double-edged sword." She notes,"There’s a fine line between being aggressive and being assertive — and that line is much finer in society for women than it is for men. But that one thought — 'Are they going to think I’m a bitch?' — can truly sabotage your career. If you fail to assert yourself because that fear is holding you back, you’re doing yourself a major disservice. You’re stifling your career and likely missing out on opportunities".

in addition, Ashley notes a study which suggests "women who are aggressive, assertive and confident, and are adept at exhibiting each trait in the appropriate situations, receive more promotions than even men". A write up of this 2011 study can be accessed via Stanford's blog.

What Ashley suggests we do instead, is to "take a moment" before we take action. "Monitor your energy… Are you sending from a clean place within yourself, or is it charged with emotion? If you feel an aggressive approach is necessary for the particular situation, go for it. After all, it’s all about the energy field it comes from within you."

Wise advice.



1 comment :

  1. Good post Sam - I'm sure that others who work in female dominated fields, like ours, also resonate with Ashleys comments - i.e.the line between aggressive and assertive is much finer in society for women. Thanks.