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Shattering stereotypes: unveiling double standards at work

Are men and women held to the same standards, especially in leadership positions? 
The straight and easy answer should be YES. Right?  

It would be... If it weren’t for the good old double standards...
 
As the so called ‘Great Breakup’ shows, women in leadership positions are not satisfied with the way they are treated, and don’t hesitate to leave their workplace. They expect more from the workplace and are not thinking twice before leaving to go somewhere they are valued.  

So, what are the double standards women face most often?  

The weight of traditions  
Reaching the top can be long and hard, and as Taylor Swift says in ‘The Man’, women have been “Wondering if [they]’d get there quicker if [they were] a man.” That’s an age-old question.
 
Well, to reach a C-suite position, being a man ensures a faster route than being a woman does. Women will often be confronted with a ‘sticky floor’ before even starting. When comes the time to think about a managerial position, a ‘broken rung’ could be in the way. And then, if they managed to get through those hurdles, and a C-suite position is in sight, the ‘glass ceiling’ will be waiting for them. And, all of those phenomena contribute to why women occupy 25% of the C-suite positions according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2023, and this number is taking its sweet time to rise.  

Why? Some say it goes back to traditions and habits. Way back then (not that far away…), women were relegated to the kitchen and to have kids. After years and years of fighting for women’s rights, women have gained access to office work. Let's not forget that women have always worked. Care work is no joke, and they also had to help in the fields, factories. They kept countries running during wars while men were fighting. But working in an office is something that took years to be granted to them.  

Empathy, a quality, or a downfall? 
For a man, being empathetic is a quality, something to strive for, especially when in a leadership position.  For a woman, showing empathy can be seen as a bad attribute.  

‘You are too soft, too nice’, ‘be more assured and less comprehensive’. Those are some of the comments women can hear when they show any sign of empathy in the workplace.  
And let’s not even mention women being called ‘emotional’. Do we even know what it means when women are called that? Is it just a(nother) way to put women down? It beats us. 
 
Being assertive or not?  
Strategic thinking is a quality that is looked for in a leader. However, men and women cannot be assertive in the same capacity.  

The music industry, according to TS (yet again), is a good example. For when a man does something, he is described as strategic, while a woman’s action will be considered as calculated.  

If a man tells someone off because they didn’t do a good job, they are being a good leader, while a woman doing the same would be described as sour or moody.  
Double standards much? Sounds like it to us.  

Being heard and listened to 
It can be a hardship to speak in a busy meeting where everyone is trying to be heard. Imagine being a woman in that setting.  Doesn’t sound ideal, right?  

Because it isn’t. More often than not, when a woman talks in a busy meeting room, chances are high that she won’t be heard. Or if she is, there is a high probability that she will be dismissed. Oh, and if a man repeats the same thing the woman had just suggested, high chance that he will be taken seriously.
  
Bye bye double standards! 
A new year just started. Perfect opportunity to say goodbye to all of those double standards and make the workplace enjoyable for each one of us! 
 

Check out those links if you want to hear straight from TS  


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