All Articles Tagged "women in the workplace"
‘I Didn’t Want Anybody To Think I Was Easy:’ Nicki Minaj Talks Sleeping With Rappers And Maintaining Her Dignity
Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne get pretty intimate in the music video for their new single “High School,” where the two are playing lovers. The rappers nailed their roles so well that it left many wondering whether or not the two have ever hooked up off-screen before. In a roundabout way, Nicki says no. During a recent interview with MTV’s Rap Fix, the 30-year-old entertainer discussed breaking into the rap world and maintaining her dignity.
“When I started being around Young Money, Wayne thought I was shy, but it wasn’t that I was shy, I just didn’t want anybody to think I was easy,” she confessed.
She went on to say that she hasn’t slept with any industry heads and offers advice to up-and-coming female emcees who are seeking to break into the entertainment world.
“No matter what my lyrics were saying, when I got around these guys, I was a prude, because I didn’t want anyone in this game to ever be able to say ‘I had sex with her’ or ‘when she needed a deal, she had to…’ No. And ‘til this day, not one single man in this industry can say that and I pride myself on that. That’s the only bit of advice I would give the up-and-coming female rappers. You could be as s*xy as you want, but just maintain your dignity around these guys.”
It seems like she’s offering some pretty sound advice. Would you agree?
Turn the page to watch Nicki’s interview.
During a fundraiser in California yesterday, President Obama made reference to the state’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris, saying:
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake. She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the President has since apologized, calling Harris last night, according to the AP, to say he was sorry for “ the distraction his comment created” and he “did not want to diminish Harris’ professional accomplishments and abilities.” Thanks for acknowledging your error in judgment Mr. President.
I think President Obama is doing a great job, but he did indeed step in it with these comments. Women have a lot working against them in the workplace — a glass ceiling that halts their advance up the ladder, discrimination or outright sexism, being taken seriously. The President of the United States is a leader, and this President in particular has made equality between the sexes a big part of his policy initiatives and rhetoric. The President’s comments don’t help us to combat those workplace struggles.
In the case of Kamala Harris, The Washington Post says that she’s “a potential gubernatorial candidate.” If she wants to move forward with a political career, Harris needs to be seen as a person who can exact change, manage a tremendous — and tremendously troubled — state economy, the major social issues that the state is dealing with, and maintain the trust of constituents. Being seen as the lady that the President called good-looking doesn’t really help with that.
Attractive has nothing to do with strong, capable, smart, or strategic. In the end, it’s those qualities that that get a person to the top of their profession. Let’s be honest — pretty can help. But studies also show that it can work against women. Pretty can also be easily dismissed. Eye candy doesn’t necessarily get a seat at the table. And no one wants to be accused of getting by on their looks.
To the President’s point, when you take the focus off of a woman’s abilities and place it on her looks, you undermine all the work she’s done to be treated as a force to be reckoned with in the workplace. There are worse things to be called. And many beautiful women are also amazing at their jobs. But, in our society, it’s still way too easy for a woman’s leadership prowess to be dissed and dismissed. It would be best to keep these sorts of superficial compliments to ourselves and focus on the work at hand.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg causes a firestorm of debate with new book/campaign Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, in which she prods women to be more aggressive in business. In a blog post for The Washington Post, Mary C. Curtis asks “Do black women need lessons on ‘leaning in’?”
Sandberg claims that women are not successful in business, in large part, because they don’t play like the big boys. Some working women were offended by the theory, saying that it is easy for Sandberg to pass judgment as she had many helping hands on her way up the ladder. Other detractors say no matter how hard women fight for corporate rank, most will still hit a ceiling. It isn’t women who need to change, the argument goes, but the corporate culture.
And now many black female executives are giving their opinion. African-American women in the workplace most often face different obstacles. “[B]lack women have long been in the work force, facing different and difficult obstacles. Sandberg warns that being assertive, a positive quality in a man, can be judged as ‘too aggressive’ behavior in a women. For black women, the line between leaning in and being perceived as stereotypically pushy is awfully thin. The rewards may be less and the risks far greater,” writes Curtis.
Many feminists too are weighing in on the “lean in” discussion. And some are not upset, but rather, inspired by it. Gloria Steinem, notes Curtis, says Lean In “addresses internalized oppression, opposes the external barriers that create it, and urges women to support each other to fight both.” Her view is that critics “are making a deep if inadvertent point: Only in women is success viewed as a barrier to giving advice.”
But as Curtis points out the feminists movement over time has excluded black women. “When the feminist icon weighs in, it’s a reminder that the women’s movement, too, has long been accused of catering to elite circles and leaving others out,” she writes. But adds that many black women have been involved in the “lean in” conversation.
“It’s a conversation I’ve taken part in, reminding movement leaders of their debt to civil rights progress and occasional failure to acknowledge the added burdens working-class women and women of color face. The matter of ‘choice’ — the ultimate goal — isn’t always theirs to make,” she says.
What do you think about the “lean in” concept?
When it comes to working, women don’t seem to have any problem with that. A ThinkProgress blog notes that 60 percent of women are the primary or co-breadwinner in the household and that women make up 50 percent of the college-educated. These days women statistics show that women are certainly making progress in the workplace. But is this enough?
An article in a certain magazine notes that these hard-working, educated women have jobs, but they don’t seem to want to take on the top executive level positions. Entry-level and low level jobs are filled with women employees. The article points to 53 percent. But higher up the ladder, women fall to 35 percent at the director level, 24 percent at senior vice presidents and a mere 19 percent at CEO. Among the Fortune 500 companies, there are only 12 women CEOs.
Research shows that at 59 percent, a majority of successful women leaders say they don’t even want to be at the top levels of their organizations. Even the all-mighty Google Inc. has problems promoting women engineers. Its senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Block, notes that men generally jump at the chance for advancement while women must be coaxed. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t women jumping at the chance to be exec level leaders?
Perhaps it’s the second-shift role women take on as mothers and caregivers. It may also be a lack of mentors. It may be possible that more women are realizing that it’s nearly impossible to manage that special work/life balance and are choosing more flexible, low-level positions or creating work from home positions for themselves. What do you think? What are the reasons more women don’t want to be on top in business?
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Unfortunately for a large number of professional women, communicating powerfully and authoritatively in the workplace can be a difficult challenge. Although a recent report states that African American women do not face the same challenges in asserting their opinion and providing tough leadership, there are still some communication blunders you should be aware of. Run down this list to double check if you are communicating in a way that hinders progress on the job.
Forbes suggests that you first ask yourself if your colleagues respond positively when you present an idea or suggestion. Does anyone show an interest in following up with your thoughts or are they shot down? Do you find your colleagues often criticize your input? Do people seem to trust your opinion and give you respect? If you notice people generally don’t respond well to your contributions, then you can be sure that your progress at work suffers.
Next consider whether your points are taken into account. If the conversation almost immediately switches to another person’s thoughts or topic after you’ve made your point, you made want to rethink your responses.
Make sure that you’re taken seriously. No one gives raises or promotions to people they consider a joke. Your communication with your colleagues must convey your intellectual and professional abilities. If you’re unsure whether the first two describe your professional life, then it’s highly likely your office also doesn’t take you seriously.
If there’s a negative reaction whenever you attempt to offer your suggestions, then you probably need to take a look at what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Maybe you’re coming off as a show-off or overly aggressive. Forbes notes that effective communicators know how words can incite certain emotions and thoughts to the listeners. Be sure to use your words carefully and correctly.
Lastly, are your words memorable or do you feel ignored and forgotten by your colleagues? If you feel as if no one even noticed you were in a meeting and had a say in the discussion, then you’ve got to change your “power quotient.” Although it’s possible to do so, first you must identify and acknowledge the power dynamic at your job.
If you feel that your work experience aligns with any of these red flags of ineffective communication, remember not to make excuses or blame others. You can get help fixing your communication style by working with a mentor or life coach and remembering to always think before you speak.
Do you feel the walls caving in on you at work because you refuse to say no? Bosses and coworkers alike, are flying off the cuff simply because your receptive to their every command. They can read you as easily as a dog detects a human’s vulnerability because they think of you as a pushover. Now, how can you speak up without losing your job? Being assertive doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be pompous or rude to others, but it shows you can voice your opinion, thus, gaining integrity in the long run.
Here’s how to be more direct to your peers:
Yesterday, I was forced to repeatedly listen to Beyoncé’s new single, “Run the World (Girls),” thanks to a precocious teenager who insisted on playing the song ad-nasuem. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not hatin’ on Beyoncé. The song has catchy lyrics and a sick beat. But after hearing it for the eighth time, I was pretty much ready to bang my head against the wall to the rhythm of the song. Yet at some point during the ninth replay of the song, I began to wonder if there was some legitimacy to Beyoncé’s girl-power anthem: do girls, also known as women, really run the world?
There is a really compelling argument to make that women may have finally achieved a power advantage in society. In an article written last year for The Atlantic, writer Hanna Rosin discussed the global economy’s shift to favoring “female” characteristics while male-dominated industries, such as manufacturing, construction and finance, are declining.
The U.S. Department of Labor seems to support Rosin’s argument. Statistics show that women comprised 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force in 2009, and are projected to account for 46.9 percent of the labor force in 2018. Women have also made great strides in management, professional and related occupations with 40 percent being employed. Also, for the first time in history, more women have college degree than our male counterparts.
Yes, Virginia Slims; we have come a long way, baby.
While there is no doubt that woman have made some gains in society, there is still a fair amount of inequality that women face in the workplace and in society at large. The biggest obstacle is the earnings gap between men and women. Women are likely to earn only 77.5-80 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same work—and that number decreases if you are a woman of color. Although economists who predicted that the income gap would decrease, it has actually stayed that same with no movement. In fact, 59 percent of working women are making less than $8 an hour.
Despite Beyoncé’s assertion that “we give birth to children then get back to business,” as a result of the economic recession, single women with children became the poorest group in this country. In 2009, of those households that lived in poverty, 29.9 percent were headed by single women, compared to 16.9 percent of single men and 5.8 percent of married couples. Unfortunately, very little is being done to assist households led by single mothers to retain their places in the workforce. Despite the financial hardships that come with the new arrival of a child, many employers still do not provide women with any benefits if they need to leave work temporarily.
Globally, women account for two-thirds of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults. In some parts of the world, women and girls bear the brunt of poverty. Their lack of control over resources, including land and other types of property, has limited their economic autonomy, which has made them the most vulnerable group to economic or environmental issues.
Back in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than care accidents, muggings and rapes combined – and every day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
Despite the fun posturing in the “Run The World” song, the reality is still much closer to the words of James Brown, in that it’s still a “man’s world.” By the way, out of all the world leaders currently in power, only 20 of them are women. Though it has been a record-breaking year for women in power, it’s still not enough to actually rule the world.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
(Wall Street Journal) — Inadequate career development has kept women from reaching the top ranks of the corporate ladder, according to a report set to be released Tuesday by management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. The report, which examines barriers to women’s advancement in corporations, is primarily based on a 2011 survey of 2,525 college-educated men and women, including 1,525 individuals employed by large companies, mainly in management. Despite efforts by major companies, just a handful of women have ascended to the leadership pinnacle, the McKinsey report concluded. Only 11 chief executives of Fortune 500 companies are women, down from a peak of 15 in 2010, according to a spokeswoman for Catalyst Inc., a nonprofit women’s research group. There were two Fortune 500 female CEOs in 2000, up from one in 1995, Catalyst said in a 2000 report. Similarly, the McKinsey study cited a 2010 Catalyst report that said 37% of lower-level and middle managers are female, while just 26% of vice presidents and other senior managers are women at Fortune 500 companies. McKinsey plans to release the results during a “Women in the Economy” conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal in Palm Beach, Fla.
The pay discrepancy between men and women in the workforce is an old story. We’ve heard it all before. But there may be a reason behind the injustice that you may not be aware of. Black Enterprise wrote a piece describing how women are viewed at work. While some women are seen as nurturers, their male counterparts are seen as go-getters. Naturally a go-getter is more favorable in this situation.
If you’re looking for a promotion or you just want to be respected for your talents, check out the list of things you can change about your work habits to make you stand out a critical player.