EMB Hot Take: Workplace Stereotypes That Should Retire
While it seems like times are changing, and women have long since broken away from stereotypical roles and claimed a seat at the table as the heads of multimillion dollar companies, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations that change the world, there are still issues presently within our country that prevent women from breaking away from stereotypes once and for all. Elevate My Brand is a female owned AND ran agency. We take female empowerment and female stereotypes very seriously. One area that hasn’t seemed to change is the workforce.
- Women Can’t Lead. Although we are fortunate enough to work in an environment that encourages us and empowers women, not all women are as lucky. This is obvious when you look at the difficulty women face to break the glass ceiling. Not to put the burden on just men, we all know women who have been shamed by another woman. While there are plenty of men and women who are ‘pro-women’ in leadership roles, there are still many women who have joined the boys club or try to undermine their own female coworkers in order to succeed. While becoming a leader will always have it’s challenges, discrimination should not be one of them. Women who claim coveted leadership roles are often judged by both men and women for their leadership style or decisions, making it difficult to escape gender discrimination.
- The Boss Bitch (not in a good way). This discrimination is often seen in the stereotypical roles women are assigned to when they try to escape from their untraditional role in a subordinate position. We understand it’s a never-ending battle to be heard and taken seriously while treading the line between being viewed as caring and approachable or frigid and cold. As everyone in a leadership role uncovers quickly, making difficult decisions is just another part of the job. Making the touch calls does not mean you are liked all the time, and sometimes even strongly disliked. But the dislike is seen as admirable for men but almost intolerable for women. While men can be viewed as ‘decisive’, ‘tough’, ‘assertive’, or ‘bold’ women are seen as ‘bitchy’, ‘cold’, ‘harsh’, or our favorite, ‘emotional’.
- Women Are Too Emotional. Hillary Clinton experienced negative criticism on both sides of the emotional spectrum during the presidential campaign; as many felt she would be “too emotional” to be president, while others felt she was too serious, making her “less womanly”. Great leaders have a balance of emotions and this is visible when looking at leaders of the past. Both men and women in roles of leadership should have strong emotions or convictions to lead properly and encourage those they work with.
- The Bitter Spinster. Another belief about women in leadership roles is the bitter spinster role; women who want to advance in their careers will be single and lonely forever. Many female professionals’ successfully balance work life and family life every day. Our own CEO, Laurel Mintz is one of them and encourages us to do the same. Work and life balance varies from one person to the next, but is important not only for women but men to manage as well. All of these ideologies unfairly place femininity in an inferior position and as a society this must change.
Categorizing men and women has unfair and sometimes serious implications and long lasting affects in our workplaces’, personal lives, and on future generations. The solution is to not politicize and polarize opportunity and power via gender, but to neutralize the playing field and advocate for equality and for what is right because we all have a hand in reshaping the future.