Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paycheck Gender-Think

Tori Johnson has teamed up with Linda Babcock to advocate on behalf of women taking control of their lives – or at least the salary negotiation portion of their lives.

Ms. Johnson did a Good Morning America Behavioral Lab experiment where observers watched men and women negotiate for salaries, based on exactly the same resume, the exact same script – but men AND WOMEN observers gave the job to the men as the more likely to succeed. When women were scripted to be more assertive, they were considered pushy and the B word.

“When asked to explain their responses, the evaluators who were more critical of the woman applicant than the man told me that they're people with opinions just like you and me.”

In other words, these hyper-critical evaluators hid behind the lemming group mentality – everybody does this so it must be OK. Except Ms. Johnson knows that the end result of these destructive cognitive biases is discrimination in the workplace, a 25 percent lower differential in salaries, and chronic poor negotiating behavior on the part of women. Ms. Johnson calls the spade a spade: women are as guilty of this bias and prejudice as men. And that may be the most debilitating bias of all.

“Women -- and men -- must acknowledge that we are all guilty of such biases, whether intentional or not, and must decide that the buck ‘starts’ with each of us. If we catch ourselves thinking, ‘Oh, isn't she demanding and pushy,’ or ‘Isn't she quite full of herself,’ we must call ourselves on it and commit to thinking again. Hold yourself accountable.”

Cudos to Ms. Johnson, whose web site: WomenForHire.com has some very interesting discussions and advice. Finally: women expecting women to take control of their own lives. How original.




Notes:

Paycheck Politics: Why Are Women Still Uncomfortable Negotiating for What They're Worth?
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3805400&page=1

Paycheck Politics - Video
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=3806340&affil=wtae

Men vs. Women at the Bargaining Table
Many Times Females Settle for Less Than Their Male Counterparts
By Tory Johnson, September 26, 2007

How Avoiding Negotiation Hurts Women
University Experiment Examines Why Women Negotiate Differently Than Men
By Linda Babcock, September 28, 2007

Unequal Pay for Women: April 24, 2007 - Video:
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=3071892

Take Control: How to Negotiate Your Salary: Men Are More Than Four Times More Likely to Haggle Over Pay Than Women by Tory Johnson, April 24, 2007
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/TakeControlOfYourLife/story?id=3074877&page=1

Is The Wage Gap Women’s Choice? Research Suggests Career Decisions, Not Sex Bias, Are at Root of Pay Disparity, May 27, 2005
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/GiveMeABreak/story?id=797045&page=1

Monday, November 5, 2007

Top 50 Women in Business: Ouch!

As you read the articles supporting the Top 50 Women in Business, does this happen to you? You’re cruising along, enjoying the headlines and stories about today’s accomplished women executives and entrepreneurs when – suddenly – you feel your neck yanked to the side as if your scarf got caught under the tires of your car. “Queen Bee Syndrome” is the cause of this jerking: the brief and ever so subtle mention of this catty comment pops up out of nowhere in an otherwise professional article. Back the cart up, Nellie: what was that? That was the “Damned if you do” part of feminist journalism where the woman writer attacks women in leadership by innuendo.

You keep reading, trying to fathom what DOES she mean by that? Does she support the point with evidence or facts? Does she elaborate? Explain? Of course not, because just dropping that phrase should suffice to remind all women who aspire to leadership that they will be painted with this heavy coat of negativism if they dare rise to the top without giving more credit than is due to underlings.

You return to the article, trying to focus again on how the women did it and how you, too, actually might learn something from their experience. Then -– again suddenly -– there’s the other jerking on your neck, pulling you back under the tires. This time it’s the “Work Family Balance” challenge – the other half -- the “Damned if you don’t” part of feminist journalism where the woman writer reminds all women that their first priority should be the babies, the hubby, the house, the parents, and the family. It’s never anybody else’s priority -– just a woman’s: you would never read this paragraph in the middle of an article on male corporate leaders. Dropping these hints are part of the women journalism’s predictable programming us to believe that if women in leadership aren’t focused on personal matters, then those women somehow should be considered “Less than a real woman.”

We’ve been reading this same article for 20 years now. It may no longer have the title “glass ceiling” as it did way back then, but all of the hints, the subtlety, all of the feminist snobbery and innuendo are still there, packed in-between the two Damn You’s!

But where are the Editors? Where is the Writer’s Professional Conscience that is supposed to be sitting at the mark-up table asking the tough questions? Where is the man or woman with the sharp pencil or delete key? How is it that a so-called professional editor allows these games to be played in today’s marketplace? Where is the individual with the intelligence to insist on data, facts or supporting proof of the slur: if or whether “Queen Bee Syndrome” or women’s private lives are relevant to how accomplished women achieved positions of leadership to the left of us, to the right and straight ahead?
And if there is no reasonable support for the innuendo, then remove the slur from today’s articles.

It’s time we started to realize that a woman journalist is not a business professional and certainly not a leader – all she really is doing with this style of writing is standing on the sidelines, selling eye-lash liner ads for the paper. Too bad –- such potential.