If you’re a woman in a position of authority in your company, you will want to read the results the this study.
It’s not really that surprising that women still suffer from bias in the workplace. We’ve been fighting for equality for a while now, and despite steady progress through the years, we still have a way to go. But VitalSmarts put a number to the emotional inequality that women are subjected to.
According to the study, when women are equally as aggressive as their testosterone-driven counterparts, their perceived competency drops by 35%
So… apparently people feel like we can’t be angry/frustrated and still be as competent as a man would be in the same situation. This can have a major impact on your ability to lead a team of employees effectively. If they don’t feel that you are as competent when you get angry, then you could see production drop off and a general disruption in your team that makes it even harder to keep moving forward.
Then – as if that wasn’t bad enough – the study also determined that aggressive women experienced a decreased perceived deserved compensation of $15, 088. At least in this area, aggressive or forceful men also are perceived as deserving to make less – but not as much less as women are.
Joseph Grenny – coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Crucial Conversations says that:
Speaking up in forceful, assertive ways is especially risky for women. An emotion-inequality effect punishes women more than men. Women are burdened with the assumption that they will conform to cultural stereotypes that typecast women as caring and nurturing. Speaking forcefully violates these cultural norms, and women are judged more harshly than men for the same degree of assertiveness.
He further went on to say that:
Emotional inequality is real and it is unfair. And while it is unacceptable and needs to be addressed at a cultural, legal, organizational, and social level, individuals can take control. First, both women and men should be aware this bias is happening—often unconsciously—and they should do everything in their power to stop it. Secondly, women and men should learn about and use the framing skills—a relatively easy way to mitigate the bias.
Quick Facts About the Study:
- Joseph Greeny and David Maxfield are the leading researchers of the study and were the ones to present their study in a white paper
- The study was conducted by VitalSmarts – a TwentyEighty, Inc company
- There were more than 11,000 participants assessed over the course of 2 different studies.
- In the first study, participants watched videotaped performances of male and female “managers” and then answered a 20-question survey.
- In the second study, they followed a similar process, but the actors used framing statements.
In the second round of the study – they utilized framing statements to see if that would reduce the impact of the forceful or aggressive statements. Their findings showed that using a brief framing statement reduced the social-backlash and emotion-inequality by 27%. These statements were designed to show that the speaker wasn’t just lashing out – but rather that they were stating their position deliberately and had thought it through.
They used 3 types of framing statements in their study – these included a “behavior phrase,” a “value phrase,” and an “inoculation phrase.” For example:
- “I’m going to express my opinion very directly; I’ll be as specific as possible.” (behavior phrase)
- “I see this as a matter of honesty and integrity, so it’s important for me to be clear about where I stand.” (value phrase)
- “I know it’s a risk for a woman to speak this assertively, but I’m going to express my opinion very directly.” (inoculation phrase)
Take-Aways From This Article
– Gender inequality is real – but you can do things to help mitigate it
– Woman need to focus on being less aggressive to get ahead in their career
– Framing statements can be a great way to still get your point across without the backlash