Women Fight the Double Standard at Work

I recently went through a bag of handouts and notes from the Women In Communications national conference in Tulsa. So it was six months ago — so what? At least I went through them and found some gems to share with you.
June Werdlow Rogers, a retired DEA special agent in charge, spoke from her 28 years of law enforcement experience, a male dominated industry for sure.
I was struck by three main points she made and her list of the 10 things women most hate to hear a man say…

Avoid Title Defensiveness

It’s not about your title, it’s about the job you are doing. It’s not necessary to harangue someone who gets your title wrong — especially on camera. If you doubt this, search You Tube for “Call Me Senator.” Then look at all the spoofs and ads that resulted from it. Did Senator Boxer gain or lose by insisting the General use her proper title? The world might be watching. It’s military protocol to call even a female President of the United States ma’am — the equivalent of “Sir.”

Distinguish Love Taps from True Harassment

A “Love Tap” is the little dig that proves you’re one of the guys. Have you noticed that most men rib each other unmercifully? A woman who treated her friends that way would be considered a b***h, but it’s a normal affectionate guy thing. It’s different from baiting that is designed to keep you off kilter and make you feel excluded.
Learn from the experience, Rogers said. Know that it is not you. All women before you have experienced it as well, so learn from it. Shrug it off as inevitable for a woman who is breaking into a man’s world. Don’t dwell on it.

Prepare Carefully for Photographs

Think it through carefully. What is the visual message? I heard Jane Fonda talk once about the lifelong consequences after she followed a photographer’s suggestion to “Sit over here.” “Here,” of course, was the barrel of a cannon in Vietnam. She will never live it down. If you have any doubts, refuse. You don’t even need to give a reason. By the same token, Rogers recommends against ever being photographed with a beverage in hand, regardless of the type.
Make sure your image is fashionable and functional rather than faddish and flattering. It’s NOT about your womanly charms, right?

Top 10 Things Women Leaders Hate Hearing from Men

10. Women are too emotional.
9. Why are you always wearing pants?
8. Is it that time of the month?
7. Are you afraid of breaking  a fingernail?
6. You’ll just quit when you get married.
5. Women have no guts; they’re not risk takers.
4. Women are bad leaders and men won’t follow them.
3. You took this job so you could find a husband.
2. You’re taking the job from  man who needs it.
1. She got promoted by laying on her back.

Fight the Double Standard

If you work in a male-dominated field and haven’t yet heard these things, stick around. And here’s the secret. Don’t get mad, get even — by doing the best, most professional, most even-handed job you can. Take the high road and you will never be sorry.

~Maggie Castrey, WomenSpeak Editor


Women Wanted: STEM Jobs Add 1/3 More to Income

If “impenetrable mess” is what you think of when you hear the word “technology”, listen up!

tangle of electronics cordsAt a time when women are struggling to make 77 cents to every dollar men make, there are jobs where women are paid more fairly. They are called STEM and they encompass a wide variety of fields that apply Science, Technology, Engineering or Math to do the work. Many certifications that require less than two years provide the necessary education to give women, especially women with children, the income they need to provide economic stability for their families.
Of course those who pursue a 4-year bachelor’s degree or higher earn a higher income in STEM fields. But many certifications and associate’s degrees from community colleges provide the training needed to work as engineers’ assistants, technical assistants to computer users and much more. And more than half of the students who attend community colleges go on to complete higher degrees at 4-year colleges.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) Report

According to a new report from the IWPR, if women would seek an education in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM), they could increase their earnings significantly beyond what they might earn in a traditional woman’s job. For example, a computer support specialist could expect to make $46,859, yet only 29% of these jobs are filled by women. Contrast that to a teaching assistant, which only pays about $18,759. Yet 89.9% of all teaching assistants are women. Of course not all areas are so extreme, but on average, women can make 1/3 more by choosing a STEM occupation rather than spending their education time and money on what has been a traditional woman’s occupation in consumer services, health sciences or education.

Facts about Working Women and STEM Jobs

  •  51% of the workforce are women.
  • Women hold only 1 out of 4 STEM jobs.
  • Traditional jobs for women: child care workers, health aids or administrative assistants have low starting pay, flat wage increases and poor benefits.
  • US Department of Commerce found that overall women with STEM jobs earned 1/3 more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs. They also found the gap between men’s and women’s wages was less.
  • Growth in STEM jobs has been more than 3 times that of non-STEM jobs over the last decade. And growth is predicted to remain strong.

Why We Care

Helping women achieve STEM degrees and develop careers in these areas, not only helps each woman receive a family-sustainable wage, it also puts the economy of the United States in a competitive position in the global market.
The report’s author, Cynthia Costello says, “Investing in STEM education for low-income women and student parents is a win-win strategy. It strengthens the economic security of American families and expands the number of highly-skilled STEM workers to make the nation more competitive in the 21st Century.”
The opportunities are there. President Barack Obama emphasizes that the key to preparing Americans for the jobs in today’s economy is higher education. The president’s budget for 2013 includes $3 billion for STEM education.

 STEM Degrees Not Keeping Pace with Demand

These careers are crying out for women. Only one in seven engineers is a woman. Yet engineering is the second largest STEM occupation. Ironically, the number of women graduating with bachelors and masters degrees in STEM fields has increased, while those receiving 2-year associates degrees and certifications have decreased. In fact, short-term and medium certifications, which require less than two years to complete,  have been cut in half. Even more astonishing is that less than 4% of STEM degrees are awarded to women of color.
Some of the theories about why more women aren’t seeking STEM areas include the lack of women role models and mentors. There are too few women at this time to show others how desirable fields in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math can be, both economically and for job satisfaction. Another issue is that women may not see these jobs as flexible enough to support their care-taking needs. The community colleges may not be able to address these needs adequately either. Many student parents find that financial aid falls short and list lack of income is a primary cause for interruption of their post-secondary education.
Barbara Gault, Ph.D.,The Vice President an d Executive Director of IPWR says, “As the nation works to improve access to community college credentials, it is critical that women and people of color have equal access to high quality degrees, such as those in STEM fields, that lead to family-sustaining wages.”

Special Needs of Women and Student Parents

Promising programs use active recruitment strategies to reach out to people who might not think of STEM careers. Low-income women and student parents may require more intensive resources and academic supports to succeed in STEM fields at community colleges.
They need special resources:

  • Affordable child care
  • Financial aid that takes into consideration housing and food for their families
  • Academic advising to help them navigate the demands of college
  • Counselors to guide students toward careers they may be unfamiliar with
  • Developmental education in the form of remedial one-on-one coursework and free on-line tutoring
  • Curriculum and instruction aimed at women’s collaborative style of learning and skill acquisition
  • Educational pathways the help student parents balance degree requirements with work and family obligations to avoid interruption to their timely degree completion.

Recruitment for Jobs of the Future

The report shows snapshots of programs at community colleges around the country that target women. It also makes a variety of recommendations suggesting a multifaceted strategy that includes:

  • Personalized recruitment efforts to both high school and existing community college students
  • Active participation through peer mentoring programs
  • Workshops led by women faculty and scientists and visit STEM classrooms
  • Accessible information for prospective students about financial aid, child care and other supports, including internships and work opportunities Emphasize the economic benefits of high-wage, high-skill STEM fields
  • Reinforcing strategies, such as advertising and personalized outreach.

For more information, visit the IWPR website and listen to Dr. Cynthia Costello’s podcast about how STEM fields would bring greater economic security to women and their families and improve the economic health of the nation as well.

Working for Equal Pay

How to Make the Pay Gap Go Away

Are you mad yet?

Perhaps you are not willing to wait until 2076 for equal pay to creep into women’s lives? That’s actually how long it will take at the pace of the last 30 years.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Women can take control of their careers and their lives and make the pay gap go away.
The American Association for University Women offers these suggestions.

What You Can Do to Achieve Pay Equity

  • Get a college education in a STEM-heavy  field. (Science Technology, Engineering, Math)
  • Negotiate for your highest possible starting salary.
  • Consider the impact that your decisions will have on your earning power:   whether and when to get married or have a family, and the division of labor at home.
  • Develop a strong female negotiating style that will not backfire on you.  AAUW, in collaboration with the Wage Project, offers $tart $mart salary negotiation training for women entering the job market.
  • Write letters to your legislators and local papers, blogs, and tweets are just a few examples.
  • Join an organization like AAUW for a ready-made network of activists.

Employers Step Toward Equal Pay

  • Paying workers fairly is legally and ethically necessary. (Fighting suits has cost companies many millions, including Home Depot, Novartis,  Smith Barney and WalMart)
  • Fair pay can be good for the bottom line by improving  workers’ morale, reducing absenteeism, and improving performance.
  • “Sunshine is the best disinfectant,”  so be transparent about salaries and pay rates. Only about half of employees are allowed to discuss wages and salaries. Transparency in government pay encourages equity.
  • Use audits to monitor and address gender pay differences. (Minnesota requires a public-sector pay equity study every few years to eliminate pay disparities between jobs that require comparable levels of expertise. To see how they do it, visit Minnesota’s pay equity web page.
Based on The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, by AAUW, 2012 .

 The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap


10 Things to Thank Feminists For

Those crazy feminists, says Joslyn Gray posting on Strollerderby. Look what they did for us!
1. The right to own property. In 1948 New york was the first state to allow a married woman to control property.
2. The right to hold public office. Federal law granted this right to women in 1788, 132 years before women won the vote.
3. The right to vote, achieved in 1920.
4. Access to education.
5. The right to choose whom to marry (if you are heterosexual), or not to marry at all.
6. The right to divorce a husband who beat you. In the U.S., marital rape was legal in all 50 states until 1976.
7. Birth control.
8. The right to serve our country in the military.
9. The right to work, choose your profession and control your earnings.
10. The right to be free of sexual harassment.
Thanks to Female Equality Matters for telling us about this blog.

Focus for Success

Focus for SuccessI recently read an article by Brock Cannon on “Why You Should Develop the Power of Focus” in the Genshai website. He explains that he is basically writing this for himself, but as with other articles that he has written, he gives a strong message that makes you really think.
We have all had/have dreams and goals where we stop short of achieving them, right? I have and I’m sure you have, too. Why did I not finish to the end? What gets in my way? What stops me? I can’t tell you how many books I have that all have bookmarks in them, not finished.
He breaks it down into 3 easy steps – okay, they just sound easy. But, for me, more than 3 steps and I lose my way, so 3 is good.

Steps to Help You Focus for Success

  1. Get Rid of Distractions
    So, for me, the distraction with the unfinished books is the TV. So, I will have to just turn it off.
  2. Make Time to Think and Plan
    He quotes W. Clement Stone, “Keep your mind off the things you don’t want by keeping it on the things you do want.” How simple is that? I want to learn more about the subjects in those books. If I focus my daydreams more on those subjects that I just had to buy and less on what’s going to happen next on CSI, then I’ll be able to finish reading at least one of the books.
  3. Focus on What is Important
    In other words, I should keep one of the books on my desk in front of me while I work to remind me of my goal. Who knows, I just might take a break and read some of it.

It comes down to this, whatever it is that I really want to accomplish – whatever it is that YOU really want to accomplish can be done, but only after we get rid of distractions, make time to think and plan and focus on what is important.

Meryl Streep Tells Why We Need More Women Movie Critics

Meryl StreepWhen I was a teenager, the James Bond films were all the rage.  I was talking about the films with a  family friend who happened to be a psychiatrist. As we talked I saw that he assumed that I was identifying with the sexy females that Bond seduced.
“Oh, no!” I exclaimed in horror. “I identify with James Bond! The women don’t have any fun.” He was stunned and amazed that I could imagine myself a male character.
Which proves a point Meryl Streep has made about why there are so few strong female characters in films and television. She says it’s hard (maybe nearly impossible?) to get a straight male audience to see through the eyes of woman character.
Public Radio’s Terry Gross interviewed Streep, and they talked about the actor’s 2010 speech to the Barnard graduating class. Streep said,  “It’s easier for women because we were brought up identifying with male characters in literature. It’s hard for straight boys to identify with Juliet or Wendy in Peter Pan, whereas girls identify with Romeo and with Peter Pan.
Or James Bond!
“I watch movies and I don’t care who is the protagonist,” Streep said. “I feel what that guy is feeling. You know, if it’s Tom Cruise leaping over a building I, I want to make it, you know?”

Women have learned to do that partly because we are acculturated to identify and empathize with others. Also, there hasn’t been that much great girls’ literature. “Nancy Drew maybe. But there weren’t things. So there was Huck Finn and Spin and Marty. The boys’ characters were interesting and you lived through them when you’re watching it. You’re following the action of the film through the body of the protagonist.
Streep says she just took it for granted that we can all do that. “But it became obvious to me that men don’t live through the female characters.” She speculated that for a man, “imagining yourself as a girl is a diminishment. I really think there’s a difference between how men critics see things than how women tend to.”
Film critic Jan Lisa Huttner blogs as “The Hot Pink Pen.” In a recent post she  noted:
“Since becoming a film critic, here’s something I know that most of you don’t: Only 5% of 2011’s commercially successful films were directed by women. Put another way: Men directed 95% of the films available to most of you in your local multiplex.
“Many wonderful films written and/or directed by women have been released in the past decade. Despite all the obstacles, many women have, in fact, completed their films; that is not the problem. The films are there, but what’s missing is the audience.
A different diagnosis suggests a different treatment plan: We need more women film critics to balance out the male critics who “professionally can’t hear us,” and we need more committed audiences willing to “to identify with a woman character.”
As Streep says, “There is only change and resistance to it and more change.”

by Maggie Castrey for WomenSpeak

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at the start of your career based on what you now know, what would that be? That’s the question Media Specialist Tania Yuki posted in summer 2011 on the Women 2.0 LinkedIn Group. Since then more than 230 group members have responded with their advice.

 Women 2.0 Founding Startups

Women 2.0

That’s great, because, as Tania said, women may operate in more isolation than their male counterparts. By sharing what they have learned, women can mentor each other and save each other a lot of time and stress and perhaps even accelerate your progress and career.
This group includes more than 27,000 members and is a great place to learn what’s up with women in business as well as current technology issues. The answers ranged from ideas about financial security to faith in oneself, to understanding the politics of the situation, to planning and so much more.
There are enough good ideas to fill 17 articles, but I’m going to start with the suggestions from a dozen smart amazing women who talked about nurturing relationships with other women. They emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with supportive people, who very often — not entirely by chance — happen to be other women.

Where to find supportive people? Get out more!

Xuan Tran stated it beautifully: “Put yourself in a place where opportunities can see you.


“Honestly going to more conferences has helped,” said Justyna Surowiec. “I meet like-minded people that are passionate and taking action to make their goals realities and so many conferences are free they are win-win situations!”


“It’s not all about working,” agreed Marcelle Farag. “It’s more about networking, meeting others, starting a discussion or even offering a cup of coffee to a new person… every day!”


“Go to more networking events, socialize a bit more,” said Thyreast Pinckney. “I’m introverted, and tended to avoid large get-togethers because they can be energy drainers. I would tell myself to go get a chai tea latte and go rub elbows!”


There you have the first installment of advice that members of Women 2.0 would like to give their younger selves. Stay tuned for more tips about trusting yourself, keeping faith, following your passion and much more.

Maggie Castrey

Work With Other Women

“Reach out earlier to other people, especially women,”  wrote Mei Lin Fung. “A network of women is a force of nature.


“I would make sure that I connected with as many amazing aligned women as possible–from day one,” said Maureen Simon, “to support them and to receive their  guidance. We grow by supporting each other.”


“Don’t be afraid to speak up and say what’s on your mind,” said Katy Tafoya. “When good ideas get shared (especially by other women in a room full of men), speak up and ‘second’ that good idea.” Andra Keay modeled that process for us and took the idea even further. “I second Katy’s comment about ‘seconding’ other women’s good ideas. Too often I see a good idea go unheard when raised by a woman, especially a junior, only to be lauded later when repeated by a man, even a junior. It doesn’t hurt to arrange for seconding for your own ideas either.”


“Keep talking with other women – especially like this,” said Sheila Bailey. “Help others – don’t put anyone down. Women have always had to cooperate since the days we were gatherers, whilst men were hunters.”


“Find a trusted mentor,” advised Patricia Cunningham. “Build strong teams rather than trying to do everything yourself.” A great way to draw other people into your circle is to “Ask for help,” advised Sue Bock. “Co-active is more satisfying than going it alone.”


In addition to being more fun, effective teamwork allows each person to focus on what they do best. “Know your strengths and spend a lot of time in activities that use them,” said Leanna Frederich. “Know your weaknesses and delegate those activities.”


Krylyn Peters, MC, RTC talked about some fine points of support. “I would surround myself with truly supportive people. True support involves encouragement (not discouragement), gentle and loving nudges to help you see your blind spots, and helping you realize YOUR dreams (not theirs).”


Women Can Gain Power

Speaker and Author about Women, Power and Leadership

Gloria Feldt

Do you play down your assets and shy away from power? Gloria Feldt says that she did and she sees other women defer to men every day. She wrote, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power—Tools for Leading an Unlimited Life. Her goal is to guide us into accepting leadership roles and using that power to achieve parity and make the world a better place.
Once a teen mom in rural Texas, Gloria Feldt later served for nine years as CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was named one of America’s Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders and Trailblazers by “Vanity Fair Magazine.” She’s a commentator, speaker and author who speaks about women and leadership, politics, power, health and media.
Gloria says that women’s first mistake about power is thinking in terms of “power over” instead of “power to.” When women do take the reins, they increase the profits of the corporations they work for and legislate in ways that improve everyone’s quality of life. As women, we hold ourselves back by not defining ourselves before someone else defines us.
Don’t miss this eye-opening conversation! Dr. Nancy and Gloria cite authorities who say it will take women 500 years to reach parity in the corporate world if we do not change our ways, discuss why we need to embrace controversy to be heard and much more.
If there is something you’d like to change at your job, in your home or community, listen to the wisdom and ideas in this conversation. Open your mind to new ideas about power.


Soar As Iron Butterflies

World leadership is undergoing a quiet revolution

Author of Iron Butterflies

Birute Regine

You won’t find out about it in the headlines or on the chatter of morning talk. But it’s there and it’s happening in waves among women who are slowly recognizing their power and how they can work together to find the balance that has been missing from world leadership.
One of the most resonating voices reporting on the progress of the revolution is Dr. Birute Regine. This amazing author, educator and developmental psychologist spent eight years on a labor of love interviewing women from all walks of life: from world political leaders to dancers, CEO’s and even a wise aboriginal elder. Then she coined the phrase, “Iron Butterflies,” to describe women who understand their strengths as women—their flexibility, vulnerability and knowledge of cooperation and collaboration to lead others and achieve balance and success themselves.
Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and The World promises to be a landmark book charting women’s progress in the 21st century.  Listen to this inspirational Conversation with Dr. Nancy to learn how women are evolving and revolutionizing world leadership and how you can take your place among them.


Navigate Change

Lisa Mininni Me Myself and Why

Lisa Mininni

What do you want from life? Do you feel powerless to create the life you want? Are you stuck in a relationship, a job or a situation you feel like you didn’t choose?
In her new bestseller, Me, Myself, and Why? The Secrets to Navigating Change, Lisa Mininni presents a framework for people to get unstuck from old attitudes to move themselves forward.
Lisa Mininni should know. She has documented success at navigating change within corporations on the fast track of mergers, acquisitions and reorganization. Her own business, Excellerate Associates, helps others help themselves create the health, prosperity and professional success they desire.
Dr. Nancy’s conversation with Lisa reveals clues about why many of us stay in uncomfortable situations and tips about how to recognize these and let go. These tips about how to use change as a catalyst for transformation might give you the insight and encouragement you need to transform your own life.


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