Brag About It, Ladies

As most people know, society still has a ways to go when it comes to gender equality. There are few women in high-powered jobs, such as CEOs on Wall Street and members of Congress. Advertisements such as those by Dove and Always, as well as speeches by figures such as Emma Watson, advocate for change. But how can women, as individuals, help themselves succeed in the workplace? One possible answer is by becoming better braggers, and by doing so more frequently.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, it turns out that women are less likely to share their successes than men. Women are more likely to be modest, to give credit to others instead of themselves, to be self-deprecating. They are less likely to be outspoken or take enough credit for their work.

The article writes that women working in a group with other women are more likely to take credit for their work than women working in a mixed gender group. Beyond that, it comments that women in mixed gender work groups are more likely to give excess credit to the males in the group.

Unfortunately, these qualities are not particularly surprising. Our culture is still male dominated, but that’s why, according to the Huffington Post, both men and women should be aware of this female tendency.

So much of our lives require that we brag about ourselves. Think about college or job applications. Think about answering the question, “Why would you be a good choice for our university?” or “our company?” or “this position?” The answer that the article provides seems simple: Women must feel comfortable speaking up about their accomplishments, and asking for raises and equal treatment in the workplace.

The problem at hand is that society continues to categorize women who speak up as aggressive and unfeminine. Their outspoken behavior becomes domineering, arrogant, and even unsexy. While books like Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and campaigns like Pantene’s “Shine Strong” advertisements are helping the cause, the issue continues to persist that society often judges harshly women who speak out.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

This being said, employers could also focus more on how their environments could better suit women’s modest tendencies in the workplace. They can strive to create social settings where women are not hesitant to voice their opinions, and improve the way they assess candidates for potential positions knowing that men and women are different in the workplace.

While society as a whole needs a lot of work fighting sexism and gender inequality, focusing on improving smaller settings can play a large role in helping women achieve their full potential and maybe bring more women to Fortune 500 companies and positions of power.

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