There are some thing that you know that you just can't do at work. It's unsurprising that nearly no one could get away with some of the more egregious habits without it negatively affecting their job prospects or job security. There are also, though, some workplace habits that are acceptable for men, but that women could never get away with, which, if you're a woman in the workplace, is frustrating, to say the least.
Part of the reason that men are able to get away with some things that women could never get away with themselves is due to gender biases and expectations that have been reinforced in society for years, some of which are holdovers from "bygone" eras. Women are expected to look prim, proper, and pulled together, to be nice, to stick to the jobs that they're "better at," and more, so whenever they stray from what's expected, they can often have a difficult time getting away with it. Of course, that's not always true in absolutely every job or office, but, overwhelmingly, there are still just some things that women can't do (or that their colleagues think they shouldn't do) that are totally fine when men do them. While I'm not here to tell you to alter your behavior, necessarily, you should at least be aware of some of the things that your colleagues or employers might deem less than acceptable because you're a woman.
1. Not Dressing "As They Should"
Have you ever noticed that while the women in your office are expected to look a certain way, wear certain clothing, style their hair, and apply makeup, men can roll into the office looking slightly more disheveled and it's not a super-big deal? It's not your imagination. According to The Balance, women's appearances at the office matter far more than men's do. If you're a woman, the way you look reflects more on you and your abilities than the way your male coworkers' looks reflect on them and their abilities. How annoying.
2. Speaking Out
According to a report published in the Academy of Management Journal, while men are often praised for speaking out and being assertive in meetings, women are ignored for doing the same thing. That's right, your coworkers — both men and women — probably aren't even hearing what you're saying. The only way this situation could be more frustrating is if someone else brings up the same idea you've been trying to suggest and then gets credit for it because people listened to them.
3. Taking Risks
While men are often praised for taking risks in deal-making and other business situations, women have long been praised for acting perfectly. Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychology professor and the author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, told reporters Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, writing for The Atlantic, that young girls internalize the fact that perfection wins them praise, which can halt risk-taking. If women are meant to do things perfectly and a risk doesn't pan out the way they'd hoped, they might look reckless, which isn't something anyone wants at work.
4. Subscribing To A Win At All Costs Mentality
Men can often subscribe to a win at all costs mentality at work while women just can't. When men do it, they're driven, but when women do, they're abrasive. Part of this is cultural. Dan Rodgers, co-founder of Peakon, told Fortune, "There is a culture that pushes men more to be aggressive in succeeding in their careers." Because of that perceived (or real) cultural pressure, people don't always find it as off-putting when men do whatever it takes to be seen as successful at work.
5. Focusing Only On 'Core Work'
Women don't have the luxury of focusing solely on "core work," or the work that's directly related to your job or the task at hand. In a blog post posted on Virgin's website, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson wrote that, in his experience, the vast majority of note-takers during meetings are women. They're just expected to help out in this way. "Back in our meeting, conversation came around to the subject of women being more likely to be note takers in meetings, because there is an unfair expectation on them to do support work," Branson wrote. "In other words as a society we expect the office housework to fall to a woman." Men, however, do currently have the luxury of focusing on core work — because there's an assumption that women will hop in and take control of any support work needed around the office.
6. Taking As Much Credit For Work As They Can
According to Forbes, in their book Work With Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business, John Gray, a consultant, corporate coach, and author, and Barbara Annis, a corporate consultant and author, wrote that women give credit to one another, while men take as much credit as possible for themselves. Women naturally tend to point out their coworkers' contributions — and want their contributions acknowledged as well — so if they don't and instead take all the credit themselves, their female teammates are likely to feel slighted.
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