The unhealthy environment for women at work

The unhealthy environment for women at work

Women and working, it seems like there's no right answer to the question of what's the best strategy for a businesswoman who wants to be successful. For men it's a pretty well-established set of skills and behaviors that will get them to the top, but for women it's much fuzzier.

The unhealthy environment for women at work

The nurturing instinct. Women who appear too nurturing and focus on improving relationships with their coworkers and understanding the perspectives of others are often perceived as less competent. But if they go the other way, and display traits that are considered mostly masculine like being assertive, task oriented, and ambitious, they are considered to be "too tough" and "unfeminine."

To be respected or to be liked, that is the question. It seems many women actually have to make this choice where most men do not (if they're good at their jobs). If women are flexible they're seen as weak, but if they're strict they're seen as strident or abrasive. Because they're women people expect them to be softer and more nurturing, but then when they are it's held against them as a negative. And if they aren't? Well that's a negative too.

Whatever leadership is, women don't have it. Research shows that worldwide women are often perceived as not having what it takes to be an effective leader. Priorities and leadership qualities vary around the globe (inspirational, team leader, problem solving) and consistently the general population reports that women are lacking in the area their region ranks as most important. In the U.S. it's the ability to inspire others, and most US citizens rank women lower than men on the inspirational scale. But in Norway women are considered quite inspirational, although that does them little good since their country values the ability to delegate and, of course, all the women there suck at that.

Wow, talk about frustrating. I'm a woman and although this article was really interesting to read it was also really depressing. I feel for the women who face these stereotypes on a daily basis. What are we to do? How are we supposed to work towards change on an issue as global as this? Being so frustrated and 'beat down' all the time can't be good for your health.

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