No Girls Allowed: Gender Barriers in Corporate America

21 Sep

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head, sweetheart.”

These words cause my blood pressure to spike and steam to come from my ears. My internship last summer delivered a shock when I realized blatant sexism still pervades corporate America. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. What about the hours of sexual harassment training you had to sit through before you started your job? Doesn’t matter. The “Good Ol’ Boys” Club still exists and in order to be recognized as equal to their colleagues, women have to earn respect. How can you show “the boys” that you are an intelligent, no-nonsense teammate just like one of them? Below are a few tips from Wall Street Journal reporter Dana Mattioli that I took to heart.

Identify personality type

Men fall into two categories of personality types: alphas and betas. Alpha males have a “get it done” mentality. So, when speaking to a teammate with this personality, use “goal – oriented” language and articulate your thoughts clearly and concisely. On the other hand, Beta males are more focused on cooperation and teamwork so adapt your language accordingly.

Speak with confidence

Never tell your teammates “I’m sorry.” Rid your vocabulary of any tentativeness. Women are naturally people pleasers, but phrases like “I think” and “maybe” show weakness, especially in the eyes of your male colleagues.

Avoid stereotypical roles

Do not show up to a meeting with coffee for everyone or clean up after everyone. While women are naturally nurturing, acting subservient will lead to you being taken advantage of by your colleagues. This is a surefire way to guarantee your opinions and ideas will be disregarded.

What do you think are the best ways for women to gain respect from male colleagues?

For more tips on gaining and maintaining respect in a male dominated environment from Dana Mattioli, visit:

by Madeleine Parker

Follow me on twitter @MadeleineLiesel


One Response to “No Girls Allowed: Gender Barriers in Corporate America”

  1. Silke Sen September 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    It makes me sad that this is still an issue after decades of working towards gender equality. Regardless, I agree that confidence is a key attribute women should cultivate. I also believe in impressing by demonstrating unfailing competence and a strong work ethic. Whenever possible, seek out mentors. Not only can they provide valuable advice, they can also keep you going when you’re ready to throw in the towel. Check out this link for additional inspiration and information about the challenges women continue to face:

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