If it’s not about accommodating the women, then what is it?

Happy PeopleFixing the glass ceiling isn’t about accommodating women. It’s about engaging the workforce.

There are many schools of thought when it comes to the glass ceiling.  I’ve encountered opinions that vary from “you go girl!” to “pick a new battle… that one’s been won” to “we’ve given you equality and now you want favour?”  What I find interesting is the view that the gender diversity issue is something that caters to women at the expense of men.  People have said that when parents choose to have children, they shouldn’t expect the government or their companies to have to look after them.

While I agree with that last statement, that viewpoint tells me that people still have an antiquated and limited view of what it means to have women in the workforce.  It tells me that some people are still living in the past and haven’t adjusted their thinking to the new realities of the world we live in today.

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How to handle hidden and unfair bias

cat with rind on headPowerful women are often in the news, but the topic of interest seems to be their image instead of their message.  It’s tiring listening to it, and for the women themselves, I can only imagine how annoying it must be.

That’s overt judgement, but what about the stuff that happens under the surface and behind the scenes?  Are you aware that as a woman leader you’re often the victim of hidden prejudice?  Are you aware as a man that you may be making these judgements and you don’t even realize it?

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Caught between a rock and a hard place

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Women seem to be caught between a rock and hard place.  And that place is called the double-bind.

Unfortunately, we’re stuck in the middle between two beliefs.

One belief is that effective leadership traits are masculine in nature; think command-and-control.  The second belief is that feminine characteristics are not effective leadership traits; think collaborate-and-communicate.

The dilemma then becomes how a woman can be perceived as an effective leader, and still an effective woman.  Not that this should be a problem, but it is.  When we behave in line with expectations of a woman, we’re viewed as an ineffective leader.  When we behave in line with effective leadership traits, we’re judged harshly because it’s misaligned with expectations of a woman.

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