Posted by: delaneymenoher | April 2, 2020

Women around the world

Last year I was able to study abroad in Scotland. We got a month off for spring break so I decided to backpack through Europe with three other female classmates. We visited 10 countries and over 20 cities. I was never alone. Similar to many other families, my friends’ parents, as well as my own, would not let us travel by ourselves because it was unsafe. According to the New York Times, female solo travelers have increased by 45% from 2015 to 2017. From my traveling while study abroad and hearing countless other stories from women, there is an evident inequity between men traveling alone and women traveling alone.

According to the U.S. State Department, “the truth is women face greater obstacles, especially when traveling alone”. The cite includes many helpful tips for women to travel, from dressing modestly to creating boundaries when talking to strangers. These greater obstacles are invisible barriers women experience that men often do not think about. Our Airbnb in London did not have a lock when we arrived, a very concerning thing to discover for four female tourists. In order to fix this problem, we rearranged the room to put a table in front of the door so that no one would break in while we were sleeping. That is when we learned to make sure Airbnb are super hosts and have more than enough security features.

However, although small, the American government is acknowledging this inequity. The lack of obstacles and worries for men has led many of them to assume women have their travel experiences. Their lack of thought on the subject demonstrates how little they understand women’s travel experiences. The first thing that pops up when you type women traveling is a group called, Women Travel Together, this organization creates trips for women to go on if they do not have anyone to travel with. Entire organizations are created so that women can meander around this inequity. This forces me to wonder, why are we trying to get around the inequity instead of getting rid of it. Why is the government giving women tips on how to travel rather than tips on how not to harm women?

What does traveling have to do with leadership? The ability to travel the world gives you exciting opportunities and experiences including incredible cultures, history, and languages. These things help people become better leaders and if women are unable to access these opportunities and experiences then they run the risk of a much shallower perspective. I have been able to apply so much of what I learned studying abroad to leadership and the idea that a woman could not experience what I had the privilege of doing is frustrating.

What do you think our country can do to make traveling safer for women? Have you experienced this inequity when traveling yourself? Are there other opportunities you have been excluded from because of your gender?

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/women-travelers.html

Posted by: Emma Carys Dixon | March 26, 2020

Women, Pre-existing medical conditions & health care

One thing that I have thought about in the back of my mind this whole semester is the differences between men and women when it comes to medical care. We’ve talked about how women face certain disadvantages when it comes to getting top positions and double binds placed upon them. But what about the health sector?

As someone with multiple pre-existing medical conditions, it got me thinking if there were any differences between how men and women receive medical care. It also got me thinking about if men and women have different access to health care coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions.

I found an article by Planned Parenthood that first explained what a pre-existing condition is. Essentially, a pre-existing condition is anything in someone’s medical history that would allow health insurance companies to charge that person more for coverage or deny them coverage outright. Pre-existing conditions can also be that your family has a history of a health condition even if you do not have that condition yourself. 

What was most shocking to me was that there are so many things labeled as a pre-existing medical condition that are not chronic illnesses like asthma, high blood pressure, and allergies. If you have anything deemed as a pre-existing condition you can be denied health coverage altogether or could face higher premiums than most. 

Now, how do women tie into this?

The article talked about how just the act of being a woman is almost considered a pre-existing condition. Now, what does this mean? It means millions of women were denied coverage because of things the health insurance companies labeled as pre-existing conditions. Pregnancy and irregular periods were considered pre-existing conditions for women. 

This caused a huge gap between women who were labeled as having pre-existing medical conditions and men who had pre-existing conditions. There were 29.4 million women who were deemed as having a pre-existing condition compared to only 22.8 million men. 

This large discrepancy is due to the fact that there are many bodily functions women go through that men do not. For example, if you had been pregnant or wanted to become pregnant that is considered a pre-existing medical condition. If you had a C-section or have irregular periods, this is grounds for a health insurance company to deny you coverage or charge you higher premiums. 

Another thing I found shocking was mental health needs are also a pre-existing condition, and women are 40 percent more likely than men to develop mental health needs. This means women were paying $8,490 more each year than men in order to get the same mental health treatment.

Okay now I know what you’re thinking. What does all of this have to do with women and leadership? 

I think this is an important topic related to women and leadership because all of this can affect the development of women leaders.

Women who are denied or can’t afford the higher premiums because there are more factors that allow them to be labeled as having a pre-existing medical condition have less access to health care than men. Not having access to or having to pay more for basic health coverage than men puts women at a disadvantage in the health industry as well. 

If women can not get or afford access to health coverage because they have more ways to be deemed a pre-existing condition than men then they cannot take care of themselves physically or mentally which are both important to develop into a leader. Women are expected in society to have children and start a family yet they are denied health insurance or charged for more coverage when they do have children. It is yet another double bind that women face. 

Because women can get pregnant and have periods, they are discriminated against when it comes to getting health insurance from insurance. It is another, often less talked about, obstacle in the labyrinth women have to face and overcome in order to be successful.

Posted by: 17gabbyk | March 26, 2020

Doing Authenticity- Women and Authentic Leadership

I chose to discuss this topic of authentic leadership because during my women leader interviews, this topic came up a few times when the women described their leadership style. Most people view authenticity as an inherent characteristic, however, Liu et al. (2015) described in their research article, Doing Authenticity: The Gendered Construction of Authentic Leadership, leaders as performing authenticity. Authentic leaders are viewed as individuals who are transparent in their interactions and attitudes with others during a crisis, because they have a deeper understanding of their personal strengths, weaknesses, and values that guide their decisions when adapting and taking action to solve a situation, yielding the trust of their followers. The backdrop of this research involves the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. The occurrence of the global financial crisis brought forth criticism toward the masculine cultures, saying they are too risky and unreliable. Research has shown that during times of crisis or struggles (in this case economically), many countries tend to bring in women leaders to resolve the issue, because it is assumed that women seek collective participation (multiple inputs) and a transformational leadership style. This is called the “glass cliff” phenomenon. 

Prior authentic leadership theories display women as “outsiders” who are not likely to be viewed as authentic leaders compared to men. However, Liu et al. (2015) proposes that if authentic leadership is linked to crisis resolution and women are called in to fill in leadership positions during a crisis, then women must be authentic leaders. Yet why does this gendered concept of authentic leadership still exist? These authors explain: (1) current leadership literature describes gender and authenticity as attributes rather than something that can be performed, and (2) the media representation of male and female leaders continues to portray the battle between traditionally masculine and feminine leadership characteristics (i.e. strong vs. nurturing; individualistic vs. collaborative style, etc.). Thus, the main question of this article is: How do leaders do authenticity? Their results showed that being perceived as authentic depends on how the leader performs authenticity within the context of previously constructed gender norms. It is said that the degree to which a leader is portrayed as authentic by followers depends on how closely they align their actions with socially constructed norms known most by the followers. To reach this conclusion, Liu et al. (2015), analyzed how two CEOS, one male and one female, of two big Australian banks performed authenticity for the media and how the media used stereotypes to establish the leader as authentic or not.

During the global financial crisis, when many countries were feeling the effects of economic strain, “the Big Four” Australian banks ended up benefiting financially from the crisis. Since Australian banks did not feel the negative effects of the global crisis, this allowed the media and the CEOs of the banks freedom to frame their success to their choosing. Mike Smith, the CEO of ANZ banking, called the global financial crisis a “financial services blood-bath,” using war-related terms to relay the gravity of the situation. Yet, amid the crisis, his company managed to acquire other international businesses (i.e. ING banking), which was framed by the media as a success story. Smith was portrayed as a strong hero that acted aggressively during the crisis to save the bank. This image of Smith yielded the typical hyper-masculine characteristics. As for Gail Kelly, the CEO of Westpac bank, she was praised for her leadership style as being relationship-oriented, collaborative, and attentive to details before making decisions, which reflects the typical feminine leadership style norms. Before and during the crisis, the media portrayed her as nurturing and a relational leader. Yet, when she decided to raise the interest rate during the crisis, she performed authenticity that mimicked masculine characteristics instead of traditionally female characteristics. Furthermore, the media criticized her for making a quick decision. This is a prime example of the double bind women face. Media visuals and statements then referred to Kelly’s leadership as inauthentic and two-faced: “real” self vs. “fake” self. Nevertheless, both Smith and Kelly performed authenticity by doing gender, meaning their actions and demeanor reflected the typical gender stereotypes affiliated with males and females to keep their followers. 

Many of the topics we learned in class throughout the semester are intertwined within this analysis of authentic leadership: (1) concept of doing gender, (2) media influence on portrayal of leaders, (3) double bind for women, and (4) women’s leadership and communication style.

Questions to consider:

What are your thoughts on the “glass cliff” phenomenon? 

What do you think about the connection between performing authenticity and performing gender presented in the article? Or viewing authenticity as an action rather than an attribute that most leadership literature portrays?

Do you have any ideas of ways to change the current culture of aligning with gendered expectations assumed by the followers and the media?

If you have any stories of authentic women leaders or situations you have experienced that have challenged your ability to be authentic, please share.

Reference

Liu, H., Cutcher, L., & Grant, D. (2015). Doing authenticity: The gendered construction of authentic leadership. Gender, Work and Organisation, 22(3), 237-255. doi:10.111/gwao.12073 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/gwao.12073?casa_token=e0ZqlgY21yYAAAAA:RR2-ALPScVkpcD6eVZzlh_2NeWhYswgGY3BvBT80dQdmCxMAGT_FnBZUK0Jbz_sM9qDyCv3W6H94EHQ

Posted by: lianafavale | March 26, 2020

Women Can Have it All-But They Have To Do it All Too

The question of whether women can truly  “have it all” is one that has stayed prevalent over many generations. There appears to be a stigma facing moms no matter what they do; working moms are not spending enough time at home to effectively raise their child, stay-at-home moms are less valuable members of society, lazy, and dependent on their husbands. Focusing on children and taking extended time off is often seen by employers as a waste of potential. Women who choose to have children are faced with impossible standards that don’t really let them win either way. There is no one right way to parent; studies have shown children do not turn out significantly differently whether the mom stays at home or is working. But moms are still being shamed and criticized by different groups of society because they may need some help or are not able or handle the demands of work and parenthood all flawlessly at the same time.

One article I found highlights the difficulties of being a working mom in the tech industry, which is notoriously male dominated. The masculine, young, and “always on” culture of the industry is alienating women, making it extremely difficult for women with children to continue successfully in their jobs. As stated in the article, jobs in the tech industry should be among the easiest to implement flexible working because of all the online platforms available to them. However, the “always on” culture that moves away from the typical 9-5 model and instead demands employees be checking their email and be available to the company 24/7, is incompatible with the lives of mothers. This is consistent with the reading for class by Hewlett that talked about women off-ramping and on-ramping during the course of their careers as they pursue motherhood or other familial obligations. It often becomes too difficult for women to continue working while caring for their children because the workplace is not accommodating for women juggling multiple roles. And then when trying to get back into a career, it is more difficult for them because their time off is looked at negatively.  After coming back from maternity leave, there is also a double bind that women face in having to further prove their worth to the company and that they are still capable of performing their job. There seems to be this belief that women, due to their ability to have children, possess these innate abilities to do it all. Since having children is often seen as the “normal” path for women to take, it is expected for them to be able to easily transition into the role of mother while still handling their position at work the same way they were able to before kids. 

The work environment in many cases is just not compatible with the multiple demands that women are facing. There are things that companies can do to accommodate working mothers and motivate them to actually want to keep working. A few of the ways I found that could help support working moms include providing pumping space, implementing parent-employee groups to encourage a sense of community and support, updating parental leave policies, establishing a gradual reintegration plan for the parent’s role in the company prior to going on leave, and having an employee orientation program specifically for returning parents to update them on new policies or company changes that occurred after they left. 

What are your opinions on the climate of the workplace in terms of accommodating working parents, specifically mothers? What are some other ways that employers could establish a more welcoming and flexible work environment to accommodate for working moms?

https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2020/jan/14/theres-a-stigma-associated-with-caring-for-your-own-children-why-are-mothers-leaving-the-tech-industry

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2020/02/18/4-easy-ways-employers-can-support-new-mothers-in-the-workplace/#4d4f95ae7873

Posted by: Sydney-Paige Hernandez | March 26, 2020

Serving Un-drafted: A closer look at women in the US military

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy (or at least there was before the whole coronavirus thing) regarding the draft and whether or not women should be drafted. With that in mind, I chose an article focusing on women in the military https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2011/12/women-in-the-military.pdf

The article starts with a brief comparison of women in the military vs men in the military before delving into a report on the experiences of post 9/11 female veterans, which is where I became really interested. I found it very interesting that, between 1973-2010, although the number of service members had gone down by just under 750k, the amount of women in the military had nearly quadrupled. I also found it really interesting that in all races besides Asian (where they were tied) and white (more men), there were more active duty enlisted women.

One of our readings for class today, the Eagly and Carli reading on having it all also relates to this article. In the article it states that female service members are more often unmarried when compared to their male counterparts. I feel that this is a good representation of the problem Eagly and Carli were talking about where women sometimes sacrifice their careers to start families.

After reading this article: Why do you think there was a steep growth in the amount of women in the military between 1973-2010?

Do you think that there are fewer married women in the military for the same reason I stated above? Why or why not?

Stay healthy guys, and practice social distancing! The sooner we kick corona’s butt, the sooner we get back to campus!

Posted by: Savonte Chappell | March 19, 2020

Causes of Gender Inequality in Developing Countries

Gender gaps are larger in developing countries than developed countries which seems intuitive, but are they larger because of the fact that they are a developing country? Or is it because that country has a different set of cultural norms and values? or a mixture of both? I found an article from the Annual Review of Economics and it dives into these questions specifically. Before i get into what the article says, I’d like to use of bit of my economics intellect. I took developmental economics last semester of my junior year and i would say the gender gap is larger because developing countries usually have a different set of institutions, values, and cultural norms. My term paper was on Liberia and we had to analyze the country and recommend ways to better their economy. Liberia had a long history of civil war and violence with neighboring countries and women were treated very poorly. Young girls were raped often, women were abused, any horrible thing you can imagine happened to Liberian women. Males controlled the government and carried guns and intimidated women to doing anything they ordered them to do, creating an environment that women are worth nothing. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf then became president of this country through harsh circumstances and made life somewhat better in Liberia. Education improved, violence decreased, and the economy saw a slight improvement, but they are still in the developing country category.

To address the question: does the gender gap exist because of underdevelopment, yes, women were a majority of labor intensive home production rather than having actual jobs. It was a must for women to take care of the children and the home because males had to either go out and fight or somehow make money for the family and that is also what is culturally accepted. Some cultures believe that women are only meant to breed children (in a respectful way, the woman is seen as a deity and worshipped in a sense). Men take care of the women and make sure they are able to have their children, doing literally every single thing for them so the women don’t risk becoming infertile. Some cultures practice patrilocality, where when a woman gets married she is no longer a part of her birth family and must only associate with her husband’s family. There are many other cultural examples but these are a few.

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-economics-080614-115404

After reading (or skimming) the article, do you think the gender gap in developing countries is simply because they are underdeveloped? Is it because of their cultural norms? Both? What are your thoughts on patrilocality? What other cultural norms do you know of or have seen regarding women? Are cultures that respectfully believe that women are only meant for breeding right or wrong? Or is there no respect at all regarding that?

Posted by: lkd1998 | March 19, 2020

Gender Socialization and Aggression of Adolescent Girls

The development of children into women and men is largely dependent on their caretakers. Young girls are therefore primed from infancy to act ladylike, becoming empathetic and responsible whereas boys are socialized to become authoritarian and dominating, more outspoken than the girls. Per the article I found, this socialization results in girls valuing relationships with others much more highly than their male counterparts. The fear of losing those relationships results in girls becoming aggressive, though not physically like boys, but verbally. This is almost encouraged of girls in adolescents as girls are seen as gossips and manipulators. The researchers also found that socio-cultural influences forced girls into suppressing emotions and instead use passive methods to express themselves further inflicting the stereotypes of women.

From the household, parents socialize boys and girls to handle conflict differently. Most children directly model their parents actions, continuing negative cycles of gender socialization in exhibits of aggression. Researchers found that girls were twice as likely to engage in conflict with their families than boys due to societal and familial expectations. The researchers suggested that this negative socialization of girls could potentially be combatted through school systems in which teachers and specific programs could work to empower young girls and not fit the stereotypes they were raised by. Different models need to be presented to young girls and boys to prevent these harmful socializations.

I believe the socialization of girls from youth leads to further division between men and women into adulthood. This has clear implications to the world of leadership and the double bind of women. Female leaders are often times seen as catty and dramatic when addressing issues whereas men are seen as authoritarian, a much more positive connotation. This complicates the labyrinth women are forced to navigate to get the same advantages and opportunities that men are given in the leadership world.

What are your thoughts on this research? What do you think of the stereotype that girls are verbally aggressive (gossips, taunts, etc.)? How could this socialization of girls (and boys) change? What do you think of the obligations put on boys versus girls? How does this effect women as leaders in your experience?

Letendre, J. “Sugar and Spice But Not Always Nice”: Gender Socialization and its Impact on Development and Maintenance of Aggression in Adolescent Girls. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 24, 353–368 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-007-0088-7

Posted by: Amelia Burkley | March 19, 2020

Gender and Sports

One thing that I have been pondering for a while now is the effect of gender on sports and how gender equality can be achieved in sports both on professional levels and club levels of all ages. We have separated our competitions and divisions between male and female since biologically it is difficult for women to compete with men physically. However, is this really achieving equality in sports? It is known that men’s professional sports (with the possible exception of volleyball) is much more popular with tv audiences than women’s, and thus the women’s teams earn less overall. Even when professional women’s teams succeed in their championships, sometimes surpassing the success of their male equivalents, their games are still not as well attended or watched. It goes without saying that female players don’t get nearly the amount of coverage as male players as well.

This especially gets more complicated when adding non-binary and transgender people into the mix. Many colleges are now allowing those who identify as but are not biologically female to join female teams and the same for those identifying as male for male teams. However, this raises the question: will the biological women be able to compete fairly with those who are not but identify as women? It is a tricky question, because as much as we want for everything to be fair and equal, is it possible? Many have concerns that the biological women will be pushed out, unable to compete physically.

Thus, I leave for you these questions: what do you think equality in sports should look like? How could we achieve this equality and is it possible? How do we allow for equal opportunity for all and still keep the competition physically fair?

Posted by: sydneyclaud | March 19, 2020

It's Not Me, It's You

At this point we are all aware of gender bias and how it rears its ugly head in everyday society, but one form of bias that isn’t as obvious is Second-Generation Gender Bias. Second-Generation Gender Bias was defined in a recent class reading from the Harvard Business Review as a “powerful but subtle and often invisible barrier for women.” The article then goes on to detail the ways in which this bias affects women, which includes a lack of female role models, a lack of access to influential networks, and the omnipresent double bind. These biases are most likely the reason why women today still have trouble moving up the organizational ladder. 

I have experienced this Second-Generation Gender Bias in my personal life, as men in particular have made assumptions on my knowledge, especially as it pertains to stereotypically masculine things such as fixing a car. I have also been in mixed gender groups where men did not value my contributions or suggestions. But the form of Second-Generation Gender Bias that I relate to the most is the double bind. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my male neighbors. As these boys got older, they started taking more and more advantage of myself and my female neighbor at the time. This took many forms such as taking our belongings without asking, hogging resources to do only what they wanted to do, etc. When my female neighbor and I tried to be less harsh about correcting the boys’ behavior, by simply asking that they not do something, nothing changed. However, when my neighbor and I had had enough and decided to speak our minds in a more authoritative way, we were called bitches. This is a perfect example of the double bind. Either we had to put up with unwanted behavior because our boy peers did not respect our authority, or we were more serious and shamed for being too rude. 

Having discussed the topic of Second-Generation Gender Bias and my experiences, I think it’s only appropriate to discuss how we can help the situation. While education is the main way that this subtle bias can be challenged, the Harvard article also says that the creation of safe spaces for leadership identity (support groups, women’s leadership programs) and focusing not on how other’s perceive you, but instead focusing on furthering the goals and purposes of the organization can also help resist it.

Upon further investigation of the subject, I found an article titled “4 Ways to Subvert Second-Generation Gender Bias,” written by Nancy Monson. In the article she details four additional ways to resist Second-Generation Gender Bias. These include simply recognizing that these biases exist, speaking up for yourself by asking for a promotion, for a raise, and taking your seat at the table. She also advises letting go of other’s perceptions of you and simply focusing on being professional and doing your job, and her final tip was being a supporter of other women.

Now that you have heard about my experiences with Second-Generation Gender Bias and learned of some strategies to resist it, I want to hear from you about your experiences. Have there been any scenarios which you feel that you have experienced Second-Generation Gender Bias or witnessed it? What would you have done differently having now learned ways to fight this form of gender bias?

Below are the links to the Harvard article as well as Monson’s article which both detail Second-Generation Gender Bias. I highly encourage you to give these articles a glance.

https://hbr.org/2013/09/women-rising-the-unseen-barriers#

https://theglasshammer.com/2013/11/19/4-ways-to-subvert-second-generation-gender-bias/

Posted by: Jonelle Brown | March 18, 2020

Women of Color in Senior Management

We are all aware of the lack of women of color in senior management positions, but a 2018 article from the Harvard Business Review aimed to address this disparity more clearly, and provide qualitative evidence to support the facts. Cindy Pace starts the article by stating the importance of women of color within the economy and within the leadership pipeline.

“Women of color are a force in the U.S. economy. They are projected to make up the majority of all women by 2060, which means they’ll also likely become the majority of the U.S. workforce. They also generate $1 trillion as consumers and $361 billion in revenue as entrepreneurs, launching companies at 4x the rate of all woman-owned businesses.”

“Firms with the most ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to outperform their peers on profitability, and those with executive-level gender diversity worldwide had a 21% likelihood of outperforming their industry competitors.”

Despite these facts, companies today still struggle to properly implement female leaders into their top-tier positions, and women of color in particular face even less opportunities, whether those be economic, positional, etc. Many women of color advance to mid-level leadership, and then perpetually remain without further advancement. Pace sought to answer the question of why this is, and what can be done about it. She conducted a case study as part of her dissertation, which involved 23 women of color at a Fortune 500 company. They represented a variety of racial and ethnic identities and positions within executive management or senior leadership. What she found is that these women do not lack the ambition or the ability, and in fact, they all did many of the same things to get ahead. In order to develop and advance their goals, they all:

  • want power and influence,
  • confidently seize opportunities,
  • pursue management challenges, and
  • cultivate influential mentors.

However, as Pace states, “elevating women of color isn’t just the job of the women themselves…women as well as men must be intrinsically motivated to aspire to leadership roles and seize opportunities. But companies also have a key part to play in fostering diversity in their leadership pipeline.” She then began to outline some key steps:

  • Educate manages about the work realities faced by women of color,
  • Integrate conversations on workplace biases into sponsorship programs, and
  • Ensure women of color’s access to essential business experiences

It is clear from the readings in class and this article that women of color do not necessarily shy away from top leadership positions. However, there are systematic and social pressures or boundaries put in place that limit the opportunities for advancement afforded to women of all races, but particularly women of color. Here are some questions to consider after reading: What changes do you feel should or could be made in order to foster opportunities for meaningful and long-lasting leadership experiences for women of color? After looking through the article, what thoughts and opinions do you have on the comments by the women interviewed and the assertions made by the author? How does this article support or challenge the articles we have read for class?

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