Posted by: elisetaylor6588 | April 11, 2019

Public vs Private Sector

While I was interviewing my woman leader, she brought up a very interesting point that I have not been able to figure out. While she worked in the private sector, she claims she experienced much less sexism and intersectionality.

As described by Tammy, the private sectors were easier for her to work in because she experienced less outright sexism. “Private sectors value innovation and effectiveness. When I was younger working at a private organization, I experienced less sexism than I do now, working in government work.” While in the private sector, Tammy felt that she was on more of an even playing field with her male coworkers because you had to prove yourself and prove your worth. She argues that it is much easier to see someone’s achievements when you are looking for innovative ideas and improvements in technology, but in government work you do not get paid based on your performance, but because you work there.

She brought up many good points, and the idea about incentive and general behavior seemed to resonate with me. However, upon further research it seems like Tammy may have experienced something rather unique. According to an article I have listed below, women make up 34.4% of senior executives in the public sector, but this number significantly decreases to only 14.6% in the private sector. The article further discusses that this may be due to the fact that there are (generally) more jobs available in the federal government. But this article fails to analyze other public jobs that are separate or below the federal level. It should also not go unnoticed that this article was written when Hillary Clinton was making massive strides in the 2016 Presidential election.

The very thing that Tammy praises about the private work sector – that you are judged off of your incentive, and thus removed from your gender – contradicts the current belief that private sectors are harder for women precisely because they need to “prove themselves” in a way that is dependent upon someone else’s recognition. Tammy also mentioned that private sectors are more innovative in technology which she believed helped remove her gender from her attributes and qualities. However, Tammy experienced the private work sector nearly 50 years ago and times have clearly changed.

What do y’all think about the use of technology and specifically is it helpful in removing gender bias by leveling the playing field for men and women to make equal strides.

“At the company in the private sector it became “not who are you, but what can you do”, which set men and women on the same grounds. With my current organization since it is considered government work, there is noticeably less incentive and all you have to do to get paid is to stay out of trouble.”

Regarding her statement on incentive, do you believe that someone who works in the private sector has more incentive, and if so, is this because private sectors are built solely off of people’s achievements, whereas government work is more stable? Lastly, by looking at the most recent election and all of the women who were elected to Congress, do these top federal employees taint the true experience of women in government. What if we were to briefly disregard females in the White House and focus on women who, like Tammy, work at public universities or corporations. Do you believe this would change the statistics and stories of women and the challenges they face in the work force?

Posted by: hannah.yaz | April 10, 2019

Leadership Presence

I found this article that I really like because it acknowledges various topics we have discussed throughout the semester and ties them together well.  It’s called “The Secrets of Leadership Presence for Every Woman Leader.”  They surveyed 25 rising women leaders, and 65% of them listed leadership presence as the skill they want to develop the most.  It explains that leadership presence is a crucial component for women who want to advance in their position or simply be heard and respected.  It then goes on to discuss what it means to have leadership presence, and I’d like to talk about a few of their main points. 

Every woman needs to have a strong sense of confidence.  Many women tend to think “I wasn’t good enough,” while men usually blame their failures on external factors totally unrelated to themselves.  We need to change our attitudes and stop being so hard on ourselves.  Become more self-aware and try to correct your negative thoughts about yourself.  Believe that you are capable and you are enough; you are in your position for a reason.  Do not doubt your abilities as others will be able to sense this doubt and question you.  Achieving small wins (tempered radicalism) in your company will build your confidence while also benefiting your credibility and reputation.  Others will respect you for your attempt to instill change in your company.

Establish a strong voice and be aware of your body language.  Pay attention to how many times you instinctively apologize when you speak; many women have a bad habit of saying “I’m sorry” a lot which can discount what they are saying.  Be comfortable in your own skin and embrace who you are.  Correct your posture if you find that you are making yourself appear smaller; hold your head high and bring your shoulders back to convey a sense of authority and confidence.  Look at people directly in the eye when you are speaking to them.  This will communicate your self-assurance to others.

What do you think of this whole idea of leadership presence?  Do you agree with everything this article suggested?  Do you think there are other key components they are missing?

Posted by: libbywilbur3 | April 10, 2019

Women in a Man’s World

“The glass ceiling keeps females locked in a paradigm where men hand out the permission slips to female progress.” -Heidi Dangelmeirer

While searching for a topic for my blog post, I came across an article with a title that stunned me : “Why Millennial Women Need to Stop ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling'”. I was shocked! I wanted to write about millennial women and some of the challenges we face, but I did not expect to be hit with something that told me to not keep pushing forward. When I read the article, I was pleasantly surprised at the path it took.

The article says that the workplace is still built for men and that women who continue to break the glass ceiling are perpetrating this notion that women must adapt to a workplace that was not built for us. The fact of the matter is that many men still do not see how hard it is for women or people of color or people of other identities rather than white, rich, privileged and male have a harder time in the workplace because it was not built with us in mind. I feel like while taking this class all of us have been knee deep in these issues, constantly thinking about them and how they may affect our daily lives, but not everyone out there has been exposed as much as we have to this phenomenon. Men are not terrible for creating this system, but many are still unaware of the hardships women face in the workplace with regards to leadership and representation. It is time for a change.

The article suggests that women, specifically millennial women and younger generations, reinvent the workplace. Instead of continuing to work under the system that was built for men, we reinvent it to include the needs and perspectives of all genders and races. By reinventing the workplace, we can encourage inclusivity and maximize people’s satisfaction at work because they are not held back by factors such as 9-to-5 schedules and shortened maternity leave (or a lack of paternity leave). I think this is a great way of thinking about the workplace, especially since we’ve been talking about how late night meetings and having a child can adversely affect women more than men in the workplace and could hold them back from achieving their highest leadership potential.

For me, I find this article extremely important to consider. I hope to one day open my own theater company and I want to make sure my employees feel comfortable and feel like they can reach their creative potential, without barriers like gender holding them back. With this new mindset of reinventing the workplace to reconstruct the male-dominated systems to work better for all genders, we can create a new era in the workplace where both men and women can thrive. Maybe more women leaders will come to fruition if we put in place systems that they can benefit from instead of keeping in place obstacles women must hurdle over in order to succeed the same way as men.

I’m eager to hear what you all have to say about this topic and the article. I would love to hear what methods you think could be helpful in implementing this new mindset. Are there systems in the workplace you’re already worried about overcoming that relate to your gender? How could you start reinventing the workplace now?

Posted by: Sydney Shaw | April 3, 2019

Gender, Leadership, and Sport

Although we haven’t had the chance to talk about gender and sport leadership, this topic is of huge interest to me. From playing soccer to dancing and now cheering and watching my brother play football, baseball, and hockey, sports have been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. After taking leadership in sport last semester, it really showed me how interested I was in the field and how much of it I could relate back to my personal life. In the future, I hope to get my master’s in sport leadership and pursue a career in sports.

Before Title IX, women represented a vast majority of all athletic director positions, but that number today has significantly decreased. The dramatic decline not only affected athletic director positions but head coaching positions as well. Since the passing of Title IX, the overall number of female head coaches is less than 2%. Title IX was created in order to prohibit sex discrimination in educational programs that received federal funding, and although the number of female athletes did increase, the number of women in leadership positions did the opposite. So, I pose the question, where are our female leaders? While researching for my annotated bibliography, I found that there was a direct relationship between the gender of the athletic director and gender of the head coach. Therefore, with more male athletic directors in position today, more male head coaches are being hired over females. I found this to be very interesting because even when a female was more qualified and experienced than a male applicant, he was still chosen over her, but why? What is holding back women from being hired as head coaches?

In an article I found about paving way for more women to coach football, the author discusses how the first woman to coach in the NFL is with the Alliance of American Football as a defensive specialist. Jenn Welter is one of three coaches who are women in the newly formed AAF, a high-quality professional football league fueled by the players, fans, and game. From the beginning, the AAF has been employing women, showing signs of progress being made in the sport and the league pushing boundaries when it comes it comes to diversity within the sport. One thing I like that Welter said was, “So the thing that kind of drives me and excited me about that is once it’s been done, it can’t be undone”. Through years of hard work and breaking through barriers and stereotypes, she has helped pave the way for more women to coach football, and once one woman has done it, the door for other females is left open. The article ends with a pun that goes perfect with what we have discussed in class about the glass ceiling, it goes, “Thanks to the trail Welter has blazed, she’s lived up to one of her slogans and has helped ‘kick glass’ for other women like her”.

With this, I want to know what you think about gender and sport leadership. Why do you think less women been employed in leadership positions after the passing of Title IX when it was supposed to prohibit sex discrimination? Do you think Jenn Welter is making an impact on women, allowing them to look at her and say “I want to be her”? What kind of message do you think Jenn and other female coaches are sending to women and to men? Take a peek at the article to read about Jenn and the AAF. I look forward to reading your thoughts!

Posted by: katherineransone | April 3, 2019

Media’s Influence on Women

Something that I wanted to talk about in my blog post for this week was the influence of media and celebrities on women’s empowerment, self-worth, and ambition for leadership. An article that caught my eye this week covered the ongoing argument regarding influence and feminism between actresses Jameela Jamil and Kim Kardashian.

The general gist of this debate stems from the frequent advertisement posts by the Kardashian family shilling for appetite suppressants and “flat tummy teas”. They are paid by the companies to advertise these products that claim to cause weight loss, whereas Jamil has been replying to/commenting on these posts stating that they are creating a “terrible and toxic influence” towards young girls and women. Jamil’s comments and posts stem from the fact that the Kardashian family already makes huge sums of money from their TV shows, and they don’t truly need to advertise these products in order to make money. She states that the companies are selling these products to young and easily influenced girls that want to look like the members of the Kardashian family, and who believe that this change can be done so using these products, rather than having surgeries and/or highly paid trainers. The majority of these comments that Jamil has made have been towards Kim Kardashian, though the other members of the family post similar advertisements.

Relating this argument to leadership, I believe that both of these women can be considered leaders to people, simply because of them being well-known and celebrities. Influence from people that are famous can end up being a form of leadership, because there are millions of people across the world that follow them on social media and can be swayed into purchasing products or thinking a certain way due to the approval of a celebrity.

Personally, I believe that Jameela Jamil is more of a leader than the Kardashian family because besides her acting career, she works as an activist for body positivity with her “I Weigh” movement on Instagram, which highlights both men and women for “more than just what’s on the outside”. Both Jamil and Kim Kardashian have discussed the idea that they are both feminists, but the promotion of these harmful products by the Kardashian family perpetuates the idea that women have to have a flat stomach or be in shape to be beautiful or accepted. To me, this doesn’t highlight the basis ideals of feminism, which regards the equality of men and women, and with this the equality of one’s actions. By using one’s influence to promote misleading and destructive products, I believe that they are continuing to highlight the differences of how women and men must appear to be considered desirable.

While the article I read did show some narratives that stated how Jamil had been oppressive in her feminism in the past, she has talked about how her viewpoints used to be narrow-minded, and how she has changed for the better. I feel as though the Kardashian family and mainly Kim Kardashian are continuing their influence over young girls in a negative light, choosing instead to make money from harmful products rather than encouraging their followers to be confident with themselves like Jamil’s I Weigh movement.

With this, I was wondering what you all thought of this debate between the two women. Do you think that the actions from the Kardashians are harmful to the young, easily-influenced girls that follow them on social media, and why? What do you think of the messages that Jameela Jamil responds to these posts with? I’d love to see what you all think!

Posted by: emilyschoka | April 2, 2019

#EqualPayDay – the Gender Pay Gap

One thing that we have touched on briefly in class is the idea of a gender pay gap. For a long time, it has generally been the view that women typically make somewhere around 78 cents on the dollar compared to men. Today, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on social media about this topic- since today is “Equal Pay Day,” the hashtag “#EqualPayDay” has been trending on Twitter all day. Since there are a lot of varying, and even polarizing, opinions on this topic, there have been a lot of posts in support of or against the idea of a gender pay gap. It seems that the widely accepted view is that this pay gap does indeed exist, but there are also many people who are arguing the opposite side, claiming that the idea of a gender pay gap is statistically inaccurate.

When looking through articles on this topic, I found many that supported the narrative of the prevalence of a discriminatory gender pay gap. However, I also found several in opposition; one particularly interesting article (which I linked below) was posted by Forbes in recent years. The article is titled “Don’t Buy Into the Gender Pay Gap Myth.” The author of the article recalls speaking to a large group of undergraduate women attending Harvard, and upon asking them if they believed they would face a gender pay gap in their future, they overwhelmingly responded yes. This was interesting to her (and I think she also found it sad), because these women had worked so hard to distinguish themselves from their peers and attend a very prestigious university, yet they still believe that they will face discrimination in their future careers. She says that the view from the outside is that these intelligent young women “hit the jackpot” in terms of opportunities to succeed after college, and that they would have a wealth of open doors for them. However, they still believed that they would face extreme gender discrimination in the workforce.

The author then recited some of the claims that women are essentially being shorted in their wages in the workforce- generally being paid somewhere between 77 and 79 per cent of what men in their position are being paid. However, she writes, these statistics are not reflecting the reality of the situation. She says that these statistics fail to account for a lot of factors that influence earnings, such as “education, years of experience, and hours worked.” She explains that in order to be able to truthfully talk about the gender wage gap, we need to make adjustments for these factors.

This article also includes an excerpt from a Slate article that says:

“The official Bureau of Labor Department statistics show that the median earnings of full-time female workers is 77 percent of the median earnings of full-time male workers. But that is very different than “77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.” The latter gives the impression that a man and a woman standing next to each other doing the same job for the same number of hours get paid different salaries. That’s not at all the case. “Full time” officially means 35 hours, but men work more hours than women. That’s the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35.”

I think this is an important illustration of how the statistics could possibly be misleading when people see that women are making 77% as compared to men. It shows that we need to account for factors like working hours, among other things.

So, I guess my question is just what do you guys think about this concept? How do we decide what to believe, when there are so many opinions flying around and different statistics being cited? Do you think that the idea of a gender pay gap is accurate to the situation of women in the workforce today, or do you agree with this article that factors such as job choice, time in the workforce, and hours worked need to be (and are not being) accounted for when looking at these statistics? Do you think it’s dependent on the context/specific organization?

Here is the link to the Forbes article:

Posted by: samramsey97 | March 31, 2019

From Adversaries to Allies

Several weeks ago, Marge came into our classroom and shared her story of how she turned an adversary into an ally. Since then, I have become increasingly intrigued by this concept, as it is not something that I have heard as a strategy for alliance building within the workplace. Furthermore, when Dr. Shollen brought this concept up again in a subsequent class,  I struggled to find an example from my life where I would be willing or able to approach an adversary of mine and turn them into an ally. The thought alone makes me immediately run through all of the costs and benefits of tackling such a hurdle – is it worth my time? What if they turned around to sabotage me? Would I come off as ingenuine for trying to change the current relationships or status quo?

In 2014, the New York Times published an article titled “Portraits of Reconciliation,” that showcased instances after the Rwandan genocide where the Hutu perpetrator was granted pardon by the Tutsi survivor of his crime. In these portraits, female Tutsi survivors are seen standing side by side next to the Hutu men who murdered the woman’s husband, children, or siblings. The people in these photos were part of a national reconciliation effort that counseled small groups of Hutus and Tutsis over many months, culminating in the perpetrator’s formal request for forgiveness. While different degrees of forgiveness were granted, the testimonials provided highlight the emotional strength required to grant forgiveness. Below are some quotes from survivor testimonials:

  • “He and a group of other offenders who had been in prison helped me build a house with a covered roof. I was afraid of him — now I have granted him pardon.”
  • “Now, if I cry for help, he comes to rescue me. When I face any issue, I call him.”
  • “Before, when I had not yet granted him pardon, he could not come close to me. I treated him like my enemy. But now, I would rather treat him like my own child.”

These excerpts serve as a strong example of the power of forgiveness. In some instances, following the reconciliation process, these individuals are able to form a mutually beneficial alliance where they are able to assist each other through hardships and day-to-day struggles. This concept of alliance building can be easily applied to leadership situations, as we have discussed in class. Strategic leaders know that when individuals share information and work together, the group is able to perform more effectively as a unit. Additionally, strategic alliances can serve as important tools for professional advancement and workplace unity.

Upon hearing about Marge’s experiences with turning adversaries into allies, I was cautious about the idea, due to the potential ramifications of associating with and adversary. However, the portraits shown in the New York Times showcase how forgiveness and alliance-building can have a positive affect on both parties involved. Have you ever turned an adversary into an ally? Do you think you would have been able to forgive the Hutu perpetrators in this case? What are the costs and benefits of turning adversaries into allies?

Posted by: jessmcdonnell | March 28, 2019

Women & Power

When you hear the word power what do you think of? Traditionally the word power means force and control and in the 21st century that is not something many women resonate with. Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take the Lead, wrote an article that we read for class about women’s relationship to power. She notes that women are hesitant to admit to a strong relationship with power out of fear of seeming too pushy. Many women view power as speaking to dominance and some even find it offensive. show 32 definitions of the word “power” in addition to the numerous connotations it is bagged with. FORBES approached several “powerful women” including Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, WikiMedia’s Sue Gardner, billionaire Shari Arison and many more to ask how they defined power. Not one of their definitions included using force or control, but instead they viewed power as creating positive change, the ability to influence, and helping others. All of these women were deemed “powerful” by FORBES and agreed they have important and influential roles, but would not admit to being powerful.


I found a similar theme when interviewing my woman leader. My interviewee is the Director of Secondary Instruction for a public-school district in Virginia. She has a lot of control over curriculum, instruction, policy, and decisions made when it comes to K-12 education. She defined power as “the ability to initiate change” and considered herself to have a large impact on the direction of teaching and learning in the division yet she had a hard time admitting to being powerful.

In her writing, Fledt believes that women must transform their own relationship with power and redefine power as the power to accomplish their goals. After watching the video of FORBES “powerful women” talk about power and reflecting on your own views of power, what do you think? Does power mean something different to male and female leaders? How do you define power? Does the traditional definition need to change as the world we live in changes?

Posted by: madisonmccormick0173 | March 28, 2019

Moving Forward

After reading many various articles on the struggles of women in leadership, it is time to address ways to move forward. Yes, slowly but surely, women are becoming more accepted in leadership positions but we should not settle for mediocracy. If we are willing to take the time to learn about how women have to go through so many barriers, it is important to stop to create and implement plans that can help ease these issues for women and promote women’s success.

I came across an article that does a wonderful job of applauding women’s current initiatives and providing new ideas that have been tested to help women’s success. The article talks about the two points corporate women’s leadership programs focus on, women’s network and formal mentoring programs.

Women’s networks typically hold a monthly or quarterly event inviting women and men to gather to listen to a speaker. The speaker usually develop great energy for the company and the participants are able to hear no ideas that are valuable. The downside is that life gets busy and when the participants return to normal work that the new ideas get pushed to the back of their to-do list.

One-to-one mentoring is a great way to connect and is the solution to supporting women in their struggles. Having a role model who has already gone through the tough times show you the ropes is extremely beneficial although if there aren’t many women in those positions then finding strong mentors can be difficult.

The article proposes a new initiative along with these two, peer-mentorship. This idea suggests that groups of three to four women that meet together monthly to discuss issues and provide support on ways they can advance their careers can create a safe place for women to openly discuss challenges without hurting their career. Knowing you aren’t alone in your battles is uplifting and holds people accountable.

What do you think about the peer-mentorship program proposed? Do you think that this is more or less beneficial than networking and one-to-one mentorship? Do you think there are possible negative effects this could have in an organization?

Posted by: alexishelmer6248 | March 27, 2019

“The Elephant v. The Mouse”

Over the course of the semester, we have spent time discussing some of the differences in how women lead (hence why we are in a women’s leadership class). We have focused on styles, decisions, characteristics, personality traits, obligations, and commitments – all of which go back to the idea of what it means to be a woman leader. In this article written by Joan Michelson (see attached at the bottom), she proposes the question of “are the differences in women leaders due to gender or being in the minority?”

As she explains the concept of the elephant and the mouse, she focuses on many different aspects, explaining that the mouse, or the non-dominant group, focuses more on understanding the elephant because it has to in order to survive while the elephant, or the dominant group, really does not pay attention to the mouse because its impact is not as present. This is important, as most organizations position women as the mouse. As stated in the article, “the non-dominant group always has to know more about the dominant group, and adapt to the dominant group, and has to adapt to the systems the dominant group developed. Therefore, when women do assume leadership roles, they are still working within the system that was largely designed by and for men.”

Michelson then goes on to explain different ways in which this is seen in the workplace environment:
1. Women’s networks are different in style and function.
2. Women find creative solutions.
3. Women focus more on stakeholders; men focus more on shareholders, investors.
4. Women tend to be better prepared.
5. Women’s communication styles are perceived differently and they are often promoted differently.

Overall, I enjoyed this article because it helped me to shift my perspective of women struggling in the workplace and leadership roles because of gender to it being more about them just being the minority. This also helped me think about other groups of individuals who are the minority and how this metaphor and these examples tie in with those groups.

Do you think there are any examples that stand out more than others or were forgotten about? Using the discussions and readings from this semester, do you agree with the analogy that is presented in the article or do you think Michelson is missing the mark?

Link to article:

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