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Two of the stumbling blocks in defining success in women’s careers are the longstanding gender stereotypes and the men-centric system in the workplace. Despite the rise of women empowerment movements, societal bounds continue to be a hindrance. How can we move forward toward a diverse and inclusive work environment?
In today’s podcast, we’re joined by practising lawyers and married couple Andie Kramer and Al Harris. They are here to talk about the role of women in the workplace and the challenges of gender bias on women, men, and organizations alike. Andie and Al have been mentoring women and speaking and writing, together and separately, about gender communication for more than 30 years.
If you want to know more about overcoming workplace bias, check out the episode highlights below and tune in to the show!
The Education System and The Corporate World (04:15)
- Andie and Al’s theory is that because women outperform men in the educational sphere, men build a fair amount of resentment.
- They bring this resentment into the male-dominated corporate world, where they see it as an opportunity to protect their turf.
- People have certain biases. We tend to hang around people like us.
- In the corporate world, men usually identify with the in-group and the leaders while women are in the out-group.
- The Goldilocks Dilemma: People like to perceive women as gentle and sweet. However, when they are assertive and speak their minds, they are viewed with distrust and dislike.
Women’s Behaviour in The Workplace (08:51)
- Women are fine the way they are. Trying to behave like men will only backfire.
- Because of gender biases, women need to figure out how they can demonstrate their competence without making people feel they’re unlikable.
- Consequently, men and organizations need to work toward solving gender biases in the workplace.
- The best possible version of ourselves is not always the same version.
- We all have moldable sides to our personality. The key to women’s success is recognizing the ability to use this in the right circumstances and ways.
#MeToo Movement (12:59)
- The positive: Women feel more empowered to talk about behaviours and experiences that have been brushed under the rug for many years.
- The negative: Instead of working toward supporting women’s careers, men in position pull back or are reluctant to show support. They either think there is nothing in it for them, or they fear people will misunderstand.
Women’s Contribution to the Problem (17:10)
- Some women buy into the same stereotypes that men have about women, men, leaders, and families.
- Women need to own their accomplishments. They are not going to be recognized without self-acknowledgment.
- Women working for women expect them to act the way society has moulded their image—gentle and understanding. They end up resenting working for female leaders who are direct and assertive.
Bringing Change to the Workplace (23:13)
- The only way to change male-dominated organizations is by getting a critical mass of women into senior organizational leadership.
- The bottom line: Cultures aren’t going to change unless more women are running them.
- For women: Find a way to navigate through difficult situations by being versatile with your characteristics.
- For men: Put yourself in the women’s shoes and see what the problems are.
- And for organizations: Change policies and procedures to take the bias out of the overall evaluation and decision-making process.
The Role of Corporations (29:00)
- Diversity in the workplace is not a corporate priority.
- There needs to be pressure from the vendors to commit behind their mission.
- Studies have shown that increasing the number of women in management and senior leadership will increase corporation performance.
Tips For Men (35:00)
- Recognize how much harder it is for women to make it than it is for men.
- Get over the notion that you’re working in a meritocracy.
- Take small steps to reach out to individual women by supporting them and making sure they are involved.
Tips For Women Executives (38:27)
- Conversation with themselves: About what they need to do to succeed and having grit and a positive mindset
- Conversation with others: Find a way to work around or confront the biases of other people
Book Recommendation and Daily Rituals (32:43)
- Breaking Through Bias by Andie Kramer and Al Harris
- It’s Not You, It’s The Workplace by Andie Kramer and Al Harris
- Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien
- Their ritual: Making it a point to always have dinner together as a couple and as a family.
Get to know more about their advocacies and projects on Andie & Al’s website!
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