White House Women Want to be in the Room Where it Happens
Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post
Women often struggle to be heard in the workplace, but the male-dominated, high-stakes nature of the White House only amplifies the difficulties they can experience. To help one another, women in the Obama administration have engaged in what they call “amplification.” In short, when a woman makes a valid point, another woman will repeat it, and give credit to the originator. It’s no accident; one former aide, who worked under President Barack Obama and spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity says “we just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing.” Other past staffers added that, once one’s foot was in the proverbial door, getting a seat at the table was easier. It sure helps if someone helps you with the door, though.
Hillary Clinton, and the Sad Economics of Working Through Illness
Jeff Spross, The Week
Last weekend, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made headlines when an early exit and stumble at a September 11 memorial event led to revelations that she had pneumonia. Her decision to forge ahead despite her illness is a familiar for many of us — the impulse to show up for work though under the weather is prevalent in American culture. But for a significant number of workers, it’s not just about a sense of personal responsibility or pressure from employers. It’s about money, because missing work means missing out on a paycheck. While Americans are guaranteed weeks of unpaid sick leave, few companies offer compensation for days missed due to illness. The personal consequences can be heartbreaking. “Many people will hide more serious medical problems — cancer and so forth — from their employer, long past when such secrecy would seem to be sensible,” Spross notes.
To Succeed in Tech, Women Need More Visibility
Shelley Correll and Lori Mackenzie, Harvard Business Review
Women leave STEM fields at dramatically higher rates than women in other occupations, especially at senior levels. These experienced, ambitious women are often less satisfied with their careers and come to the conclusion that they must change fields to move up. But some companies are looking for a solution to stop the departure of these women and finding an overlooked strategy: increasing their visibility within the organization. Researchers Correll and Mackenzie asked the women leaders of a Silicon Valley tech company to identify the most critical factor for getting a promotion and visibility, a complex mix of perceived technical and leadership skills, emerged as the top factor for advancement. The challenge now is to ensure that women and men have equal opportunities to build their visibility — and promotability — like “stretch assignments” and time with senior leaders that women aren’t getting today.
Alicia Keys and the ‘Tyranny of Makeup’
Penelope Green, The New York Times
The debate about women’s looks continues amid a pop star’s open rebellion. Musician and activist Alicia Keys has received backlash for shunning all makeup during her public appearances. Her #nomakeup movement has annoyed some of her audience and social media’s trolls, who have fanned rumors that she uses expensive skin care treatments and tinted moisturizers. Meanwhile, Alicia Keys performed on the “Today” show and spent most of her time talking about makeup and not wearing it. It became a liberating and empowering movement for Keys, who in response to others who shared makeup-free photos wrote: “I hope to God it’s a revolution. ‘Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore.” Keys says she overcame her insecurities and anxiety about being barefaced in the public eye and found a new form of self-expression.
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