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NYS AFL-CIO Workforce Development Institute

Working While Female (WWF)

Women are treated differently in the workplace and we should be conscience that change starts within

Kate Hogan's picture
by Kate Hogan on
Jul 12, 2017

Imagine that your company has a brand-new CEO, with new ideas, that they are looking to implement within the company. If that CEO is a man, he is seen as “the boss”, ambitious, driven, and influential. If that same CEO is a woman, she is seen as bossy, pushy, and high maintenance. Why is it that being powerful is taboo for women, but not for men?

In her article in the Long Island Business News, Ivy Algazy spoke of the “imposter syndrome”, which is an “illogical feeling that they are unqualified and will be exposed and will be exposed as a fraud.” In an office where there are more men than women, it is easy to feel out of place. Women need to constantly remind themselves that their qualifications and abilities got them to where they are today. While there is always room for improvement and chances to experience new things, there is no reason to doubt the person you are just because you’re the only one in a skirt.

A 2016 study called “Women in the Workplace” contained some interesting statistics about female leadership and gender equality in the workplace. One of the more surprising pieces of information was that for “every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted.” This means that there is a (76%) disparity in the promotion of men versus women. Women also have very little role models to look up to. While we do have people like Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, on average only one in every five senior executives are women. It’s like stepping up to the plate to face Clayton Kershaw and realizing you’re only holding a broom in your hand as the ball is coming at you. The odds seem to be immediately stacked against women.

There isn’t just an issue with promotions either. This disparity starts on the very first day. As I was starting my job search, I had a past professor of mine look over my resume. As he was critiquing it, we started talking about the interviewing process of hiring. One of the first things he said to me was, “No matter what, you’re always single.” After looking at him quite questioningly, he explained that most employers will not hire a married woman in fear she will soon leave to start a family. How is it that a woman with children is a nuisance, but a man with children is a “real family man”? 

What can women do to combat this? Stop being ashamed of being a woman. Embrace your power and don't shy away from the work. Exude the confidence you have in yourself. Don’t apologize for your dreams and ambitions. Speak clearly, communicate what you need, and take ownership of what you contribute. Know when to say, “enough is enough”. Be the queen this world deserves at the throne, whether you’re in sneakers, work boots, ballet shoes, or a new pair of heels.

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