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10 Workplace Rules You're Not Going to Like

10 Workplace Rules You're Not Going to Like

Excelle Editor

October 22, 2009

Does sexism still exist in the workplace? Of course it does. But it’s no longer in the form of an unsolicited smack on the behind or blatant, belittling comment. Modern day sexism is less obvious, more subtle, harder to put your finger on. It’s also harder to fight.

In her blog post “Top 10 Uwritten Rules That Could Sabotage Your Career,” life coach and keynote speaker Ann Daly says “beyond laws and regulations and attitude is the deepest, most pervasive, most unconscious layer of our lives: culture … it’s the culture of patriarchy in which power and privilege accrue to the men.”

She goes on to talk about how this patriarchal culture manifests itself in the workplace, often in the most inconspicuous ways.

To that end, she put together a list of ten rules that apply to women in the workplace, whether or not they know it, like it, or deserve it (um, of course we don’t).

1. Men get the benefit of the doubt
2. Looks matter
3. You won’t get sufficient feedback
4. A working mother’s commitment is assumed to be ambivalent
5. Actually, it is personal
6. Men are bred for self-confidence
7. Women are rendered invisible until they demonstrate otherwise
8. Women don’t take charge, they take care
9. Women are different
10. Women make great worker-bees, but visionary leaders—not so much.

And if you think about it, the prevalence of these rules isn’t so hard to believe. Ann says men will more often apply for jobs they aren’t 100% qualified for, an indicator of confidence (merited or not). She says women get shut out of the old boys’ club. And that your male boss may be reluctant to give you critical feedback (how else are you supposed to grow?).

But Daly is not without hope. She says that by knowing what we’re up against, women can begin to take their careers into their own hands. And by the looks of it, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

What other unwritten rules do you think apply to women
in the workplace? Tell us in the comments below!


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    songwriter

    about 5 years ago

    78 comments

    i think the not being leaders and not being able to take charge rules sum it all up ... maybe you can add that men think of women as less intelligent or too emotional to be intelligent.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    LP560

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    nice list
    snuggie for dogs

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    That's wise of you :) I was forced out of a job earlier this year because I refused to comply with the company's culture of sexual harassment and verbal abuse. I did end up sticking up for myself and leaving as a result, but I'm glad I did. A few months of worrying about finances until I found a new job were WAY better than living through that nightmare of a company.

    I think maybe the lesson in this is that, when you stick up for yourself "like a man," you have to deal with the consequences like one? ;)

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    nevadagardener

    about 5 years ago

    18 comments

    Ah, thank you. However, you just don't win arguments of seniority in tough times. The new kid always goes. The owners always feel an obligation to the people who have been with them the longest, regardless of whether or not their division was performing or not, as they get to blame it on "tough times". Just not gonna win that one. Fight the battles you can win, right?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    LiliGonzalez

    about 5 years ago

    138 comments

    This happens in many workplaces. Of course, we do it to ourselves most of the time. We can't be taken seriously unless we take ourselves seriously. The good news is that there is something we can do about it. We don't have to take it and we can definitely change it. To do this, we'll need to change each item one step at a time. But it can be done.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    Do women need to be more like men? I find that statement far more troubling than this list. This list is built around the blatant assumption that women have these flaws, but to state that women need to "be more like men" does a disservice to the strengths that are uniquely female.

    Nevadagardener: That is total crap. I hope you are reporting this company to your local labor board (and filing for unemployment!).

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    nevadagardener

    about 5 years ago

    18 comments

    Very often men imply, or blatantly tell you, that other strings are attached to getting a job working with them or to a promotion, or to a recommendation for a promotion. Until very recently I thought the "Good Old Boys' Club" was a thing of the past, but found it is very much alive and well, when a job I was hired to do was taken from me, and instead given to a man from another department who had more seniority than I had in the company, who had once held that job years ago. Rather than let him go, from his division that was not performing, I was let go, as having less seniority, and he got my job. Frankly, I have been very much amazed at these two developments, both in the last month!

  • Larger__darker_max50

    BoomerExpert

    about 5 years ago

    20 comments

    Those of you who have not yet gotten a copy of my article "Why Women Need to be More Like Men" please do so, because I cover this issue in it. The list above speaks greater volumes about us and how we are handling/responding to these slights than it does the fact the men still do it. They do it because we let them get away with it.

    This issue as presented by Dr. Daly is real - that it is within our control to change it is what's missing. What's most worrisome about the list above is not that men still subscribe to it....but that we do. To me, this list is a call to action to us - as follows:

    1. Men get the benefit of the doubt:
    and we must insist on it as well...
    2. Looks matter:
    in fact they do for us, too...looksism is rampant in our society and we perpetuate it as much as men do, sometimes more...
    3. You won’t get sufficient feedback:
    then you must request it...consistently and professionally...men get it because they expect it & aren't afraid to ask for it...
    4. A working mother’s commitment is assumed to be ambivalent:
    this is now happening with working single fathers as well - so it's less a gender than a parenting issue & must be responded to
    professionally but confidently....
    5. Actually, it is personal:
    actually, often it isn't be we make it so...and when it is, it's our job to take it out of the personal & back into the
    professional...and by the way, women do this to each other just as often as men do it "to us"...
    6. Men are bred for self-confidence:
    so we must boost our own, and now....
    7. Women are rendered invisible until they demonstrate otherwise:
    this is the same for men, in fact... those who render themselves invisible, will be - it is up to us, then, to demonstrate otherwise..
    8. Women don’t take charge, they take care:
    in fact, true leadership is doing both well...learning how to do that makes all the difference (thus my group coaching program
    "Leadership Development for Women Only") - to make it professionally, we need not sacrifice one for the other...and many
    women in power have done just that...
    9. Women are different:
    yes we are, and it's up to us to make that a good thing....
    10. Women make great worker-bees, but visionary leaders—not so much:
    this is the most important indicator of our self-image vs. that of us by men - we continue to see ourselves this way, ignore or
    down-play our own visionary capacities, and thus don't follow/promote them..

    The "old girl's network" group here in Excelle is all about that and can be much better utilized by all of us toward the goal of at last eliminating this "hidden" sexism. It is but one piece, though. Until we change the way we see ourselves, all of which is displayed in the list above, we cannot expect men to change their image of us - it simply won't happen.

  • Maria_at_door_2_max50

    changinglifestyles

    about 5 years ago

    2956 comments

    Two outrageous beliefs are:
    1)Women personalize issues.
    2) Women are too emotional to make sound decisions or have sound judgement.
    Many women are critical thinkers and make good, sound decisions. One day we will all realize men have shortcomings, in some cases, the same they accuse women of having.

  • My_picture2_max50

    bonnieppi

    about 5 years ago

    34 comments

    Another falsehood that is prevalent in the workplace is that we are not seriously, busines-minded. Think about how many times your ideas have been either shot down without consideration or met with genuine surprise that you could come up with such a brilliant idea? "Where did you read about that?"

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 5 years ago

    I think most companies believe all of these things, but only #10 is a complete falsehood. I've worked for some pretty amazing women leaders, and think anyone who actually believes that nonsense should have their business license yanked.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    a_sayed

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    these facts are scarily TRUE :(

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