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“How can I fight against gender bias at work?”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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By Trudy Bourgeois

How are gender-based expectations in the workplace holding women back — and how can I personally tackle a few of those roadblocks?

Wow! There are many, many ways that gender-based expectations are holding women back. Let me call out a few.

The first thing to remember is that corporate America was built by men, for men. But things have changed. The expectation is a woman who is a mom can work around the clock. Another expectation is the mindset that you have to be an in-your-face, tough, rough and "bitchy” woman to be an effective leader today. But women, in general, are more collaborative and more inclusive.The soft skills are now the hard skills. The workforce now wants — needs — leaders who can connect with them.

One factor holding women back is we don't know how to advocate for ourselves. But if you don't, you're viewed as being not confident and not strong (another expectation). We must effectively advocate for ourselves, for our work and for our boundaries to teach other business leaders how to leverage us and all our unique challenges and responsibilities as women. We need to educate people about the realities of being a woman (with all our responsibilities), yet demand that not be used as an excuse for failing to tap into our brilliance.

We need to change the game in a bold way. We shouldn't have to act like a man. We must take ownership for our own careers — and claim our own power!

Trudy Bourgeois is happy to answer your career questions. Please email them to NEW Communications Manager Barbara Grondin Francella.

Trudy Bourgeois is founder and CEO of 
The Center for Workforce Excellence and NEW Executive Leaders Forum conference designer.

Views expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and sponsors.

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