Women have long juggled contradictory expectations. Being too nice means women aren’t taken seriously, and being too assertive means they are labeled difficult. Research shows this double-bind prevents women from receiving the candid feedback they need to advance in the workplace.
What is the double bind? As former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, described in 2016, “It is the really very, very fine line of being a shrew on one hand and a puppet on the other that any woman in public life has to walk.” Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina described it more bluntly in her memoir Tough Choices: “In the chat rooms around Silicon Valley, from the time I arrived until long after I left HP, I was routinely referred to as either a ‘bimbo’ or a ‘bitch’ — too soft or too hard, and presumptuous, besides.” When I chaired the Arizona Foundation Women’s Luncheon a few years back and had the distinct pleasure of later sharing a meal with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She shared that her office did not even have a desk in it when she arrived to the Supreme Court. That did not stop her. She worked with her Clerk will sitting on the floor. She showed them.
Women will and should continue to show up for not just other women but for men, too.
I was extremely put off that a business journal would think this topic of “What State is better for Women” was editorial needed for a professional business journal. Amplify women. Double-tap.