Navigating Corporate Culture: Gender Stereotypes at Work

In 2009 do gender stereotypes still play a role in the modern workplace?   A recent article in the college magazine Jungle Campus, called "Watch Your Step" highlighted that although women have made "significant leaps in the business world"; they "lag behind men in pay and leadership positions." 

Are you being held back by stereotypes in your career?  Many women say yes.  The article highlights a 2004 study by Catalyst, in which 46 percent of women chose gender-based stereotyping as a top barrier to advancement compared to only five percent of men.

Weigh in on the issue and comment (below).  I did.  As part of the panel of experts quoted in the article, I agreed with some of the stereotypes and disagreed with others:

Stereotypes I Agree With:

  • Women are less aggressive - I have coached many of my female clients to aim higher when asking for a raise, promotion or more responsibility.
  • Women underplay their professional accomplishments - Many times I have had to quote author Peggy Klaus and remind my female clients that, "It's not bragging if it's true."  Unfortunately when women achieve great success they are afraid it will threaten others.  In reality, people are impressed by your achievements when presented in a factual way.  It can demonstrate confidence and self-assuredness, which only help your career!

Stereotypes I Disagree With:

  • Women are catty with each other - The women I've worked with in my corporate career have been just as helpful as the male bosses and coworkers.  It hasn't been about gender but about finding supportive mentors willing to help me succeed.
  • Women can't take criticism - I think this is a misconception because women tend to question the criticism and want specific examples.  It's good career development to understand feedback you receive.  How else are you supposed to improve?

Read the article (on page 11) and hear from other experts such as Gail Evans, former CNN executive and author of Play Like a Man Win Like a Woman and Barbara Adachi, Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte and national managing partner of their Initiative for the Retention and Advancement of Women (WIN).

I invite you to comment on your experience with gender in the workplace and if you agree or disagree with the stereotypes.  You can also call into SIRIUS 112/XM 157 at 866-675-6675 on Tuesday Dec 8th, 2009 at 3:30pm ET. I'll debate gender stereotypes with host Mario Bosquez on Living Today.  Click here for a free 30-day trial of SIRIUS radio.

Also coming up a Making a Living Holiday Special Thursday Dec 10th, 2009, 4pm ET.  I'll focus on proper business etiquette during the holidays.  Judith Bowman'll join me, author Don't Take the Last Donut.

Happy Holidays!

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