Women battling the good ole boysA woman’s place in the workforce has evolved over the past thirty plus years. What hasn’t changed is the existence of the “good ole’ boys club” and the challenges women face navigating those waters. Organizations often maintain these “clubs” don’t exist. In reality there are many more inside clubs than we any would like to believe. For women, the phenomenon creates additional challenges. If you question this concept, consider a few recent statistics released by the Center of American Progress. Women comprise 50.8% of the US population while earning almost 60% of undergraduate as well as master’s degrees. In addition women represent most 47% of the US Workforce. Women represent 14.6% of executive officers, 8.1% of top earners and 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs. In addition women hold just 16.9 % of Fortune 500 board seats. As a woman executive, what can you do to combat the issue? Articles point to the need for the woman executives to gain respect, trust and ensure their voice is heard. These traits are indeed critical. The difficulty encountered is identifying the most effective way to attain these traits. Women who have gained a seat at the table in the “good ol’ boys club” sometimes find their delegated role as one that serves more of a backseat function. For example:
- Playing the Yes Ma’am – You are expected to agree with the team in all cases.
- Acting as the Fall Girl – The team places blame or pressure on the woman executive.
- Performing the role of equalizer – When the team can’t agree they expect the woman executive to console egos and get others to agree with the majority.
- Being the Silent Acceptor – You are expected to silently accept the opinion of the majority.
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