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I've been doing research into women and leadership and the list of five things that hurt women are absolutely accurate. As I read the list I recognized all 5 things in a co-worker (female) who is smart, talented, and yet, she negatively impacts her ability to progress in the organization due to her engagement in the five behaviors.
When women figure out how to operate in a male-dominated and paternalistic environment (we work in education after all), while still supporting and rewarding all those things that are great about being women, then perhaps this list of behaviors will change.
I know that women are often harder on themselves than their male counterparts are (most men don't find "value" in the 5 behaviors, so why do we continue to pursue them?) If we can develop healthy boundaries backed by a healthy dose of self-esteem, then perhaps we can be self-assured enough to know that our work is good enough; that we know what's important (and what's not); that nobody cares about the nitty-gritty details (except the person assigned to do the work...or a computer programmer;-); that if we don't fail then we haven't taken any risks; and finally, that nobody really notices what time we leave at the end of the day (they care more that we show up each morning).
Know the work, do the work, know yourself and know the end of the day it's about results. If we can determine what's important to the organization and focus our time and energy there, then share our success with the right people, we can make a difference in our lives and those of others. And perhaps, finally, we'll know that as women we have done well.


Here's another interesting piece of this puzzle. This winter I read quite a bit of research regarding women in graduate education. Multiple studies found that keeping up with the work and completing a graduate education was harder for women then for men because of societal, familial or work expectations for women. Men reported bosses who were willing to shift work responsibilities, wives willing to assume more family responsibilities, etc. so that they could focus on their studies. In contrast, women did not receive these accommodations and many actually reported being told something along the lines of “It’s your choice to do this so don’t expect any extra leeway for doing it”.


When it comes to the details, I also think being able to handle the details is something that's often expected more of women in the workforce.

Early in my career (as many women I think have to go through, but not nearly as many men do), I was expected to be able to handle detail-oriented clerical tasks, even though I was neither detail-oriented nor a clerical worker. But come to think of it, the majority of my bosses in the first 10 years of my career were babyboomer women.

I'd be curious to know if there is a generational spin here. My entire educational career was post Title IX in 1972. Therefore, I never felt the pressure to be good at "girls stuff" (and one of those images in my mind is the female assisant to the top boss who makes sure everything goes smoothly but doesn't take any of the credit.) However, I have worked mostly for people who's educational careers were pre-Title IX.

I also wonder how much is nature versus nurture. My dad was an elementary school teacher who was always more impressed if I wrote something really great than if I got an A on the paper (although I imagine I would have been in some trouble if my grades were really horrible). And just this morning, my 7-year-old daughter told me her friend Madison was in a higher reading level than her, even though my daughter is the better reader. And I thought to myself, "does it really matter? my kid is a great reader. she has a magazine subscription she enjoys. we go to the library every week and she checks out whatever she wants." But then my best friend is all about getting the award, getting the A, and getting her kid into the gifted and talented program. I'm curious what her kid will be like in college versus my kid.


I think this is dead on as women seem to process quite differently

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