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The Double Standard Dilemma

The Double Standard Dilemma

Nealeigh Mitchell | NonProfitPeople

Men steer. Women support.

More often than not, women scrap any chance of progressing into leadership roles by languishing in assisting positions. Continuously volunteering for extra work and never telling colleagues “no” chains you in a supportive role. Those feminine characteristics that make you a great secretary — compassion, attentiveness — will make you a stellar CEO. Wrench yourself out of your comfort zone and enter the fray. Make a threatened male fight for that corner office.

Men are casual. Women are coquettes:

There’s nothing like Casual Friday to magnify the differences in the way men and women are perceived. While men can roll up in khakis and a t-shirt, most casual wear remains taboo for the opposite sex. Wear a skirt instead of a pantsuit, too high of heels or splashy makeup and suddenly you’re the office “floozy,” unfit for a leadership role. Your clothing is scrutinized more so than men’s. And unfortunately, your female counterparts are doing a lot of the eyeballing.

So what’s an ambitious woman to do? Knowing that office gender politics still exist is half the battle but there are things you can do to break into the boy’s club:

1) Market yourself: The merit-based system is long gone. Get yourself in the game by boasting about your accomplishments. Find a mentor and start hobnobbing with the bigwigs.

2) Anticipate conflict: Control hazardous waterworks and outbursts by planning ahead and foreseeing confrontations. You’ll remain on guard and armed with a quick response.

3) Ask for it: Men ask for what they think they deserve. Women ask for what is reasonable. Become a force by speaking up and speaking out. The cowardly never climb the corporate ladder.

4) Know when to zip it: Prattling on to fill a silence is the hallmark of insecurity. Be clear and firm with your ideas and let your genius do the rest.

5) Stop making excuses: If your idea falls flat, don’t attempt to rationalize or offer explanations for the misstep. No one cares why you fail, they just want you to fix it. Plus, making excuses opens you up for criticism.

6) Be selfish: Sure being the office “Yes Woman” colors you eager and competent, but you’ll never roll out from under the pile of busy work if you don’t look out for number one. That’s you.