13 Subtle [and Not So Subtle] Ways Women Are Treated Differently At Work

Here is an excerpt from an article by Jenna Goudreau for Business Insider. To read the complete article and check out others, please click here.

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How can you fight an enemy you can’t see? That’s the challenge professional women face in today’s workplace.

“Discrimination today is not as in your face as it was before; it’s often harder to see,” says Caryl Rivers, coauthor of recent book The New Soft War On Women. “Legally, you can’t say ‘I’m not going to hire you or give you this assignment because you’re a woman and you can’t do it,’ but the old attitudes still run deep and are expressed subtly.”

Both men and women hold these views but often don’t even realize it. “It’s hard to fight this,” says Rivers, but awareness is key.

Here are [three of] 13 subtle ways women are still treated differently at work.

If women are assertive, it can be seen as aggressive. “It’s a Catch-22,” says Sonya Rhodes, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of new book The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match. “Whatever women do at work, they have to do it nicely. But the more you back off, the more they don’t take you seriously.” Women have to walk a thin line between being too nice and too forceful.

When women are successful, they’re often called “bitchy” and seen as less likable. In one well-known 2003 study, business students were given two identical resumes, one using the name Heidi and the other Howard. “Howard was judged as terrifically competent, but Heidi was judged as bitchy,” says Rivers. When the experiment was repeated 10 years later, the woman was found to be slightly more likable but less trustworthy than the man.

Women are more likely to get lower initial offers. In another study using identical resumes, female scientists were offered a starting salary of $26,500, and men were offered $30,200. “Hiring managers will offer a slightly lower salary because they think they can get away with it,” says Rhodes. And because women are often so grateful to get the position, she says they are less likely to negotiate the offer, which compounds and perpetuates the cycle of lower pay.

Women are less likely to get credit in group projects. When men and women work together, the men are more likely to get the credit — even if she did the bulk of the work and he’s junior, says Rivers. It may be a combination of men being assumed more competent and women not actively taking credit for their work. “Women undersell themselves, and people undersell women,” adds Rhodes.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Jenna Goudreau was a deputy editor at Business Insider through April 2016. She managed the Strategy, Careers, and Your Money sections, as well as the Lists and Syndication teams.

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