Recently, a female colleague said that she believes that I had achieved my professional position because I am an attractive woman and work for male administrators. The (not-so-subtle) implication of this statement was that, as an attractive woman, I was given opportunities not afforded to others who she believes are better qualified than I am.
To be quite honest, I was shocked at this accusation. I would never classify myself as an attractive woman. I would describe myself as a runner, athletic, a feminist, an educator, a wife, a sister, a mother, an animal lover, and a laundry list of other adjectives…but never would I label myself as “attractive.” The idea of of using my appearance in an attempt to get ahead is ridiculous to me. I am the person running out the house at the last minute with a dryer sheet stuck to the arm of her blouse. I am so frugal that I only shop at second-hand clothing shops and that one red tag clearance rack at the back corner of the store. My husband is far more fashion forward than I am. In fact, he does all the ironing in our household as my skill level is not up to his standards, which is fine by me. I spray that magic wrinkle spray on myself and call it good enough. Most of my time outside of work is spent in running shoes and workout clothing. My beauty “routine” consists of my daughter’s baby oil, eczema cream, and prescription acne ointment from a dermatologist (yes, in my mid-30’s I am plagued by both acne and wrinkles). Those are certainly not the features that one would normally associate with “attractive.” Continue reading Feminism and the Alpha Female
by: Shelly N. Laurenzo
Amidst the morning hustle of getting ready for work and a toddler ready for preschool I hear a light bing come from my cell phone. Thinking it might be a traffic alert, dreaded with my 35-mile commute, I hesitantly picked up my phone and instead saw a calendar alert for a director’s group meeting the next day. Director’s group? Why would I be getting a calendar invite to director’s group? And then I remembered, I’m now a member of director’s group. A few days prior I was promoted in the office and now held a seat in at the table of my office’s leadership team. As soon as my decaffeinated brain processed this information my second thought was, I’m not ready for this. Clearly this is a mistake. I’m an imposter.
Continue reading Why Not Me? Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
by: Sara Hinkle, Jennifer R. Keup, & Jodi Koslow Martin
As we have referenced before, this blog is the descendant of an ongoing Women’s Leadership Book Club in which most of the regular #SAFeminist contributors engage. Our most recent book selection literally started with the daunting questions “When did you make a mistake in your career and what did you learn from it?” The rest of the book, aptly titled Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong, is dedicated to sharing the stories told in response to that question for a number of female leaders from a wide range of professions, including Kim Gordon (bassist and founding member of Sonic Youth), Ruth Reichl (La Times and New York Times food critic, author, and editor of Gourmet magazine), Carol S. Dweck (Stanford psychology professor and motivation researcher), and Dr. Cori Lathan (Founder and CEO of the engineering research and design firm, AnthroTronix).
Reading the very real, sometimes embarrassing, occasionally painful stories was a fascinating and enlightening experience. Especially because it was such a raw insight into the taboo topic of women making mistakes, for which we rarely allow or forgive ourselves due to stringent and typically unrealistic expectations of women that are often self-inflicted but socially endorsed. Continue reading Making it Right After Getting it “Wrong”
by Jodi Koslow Martin
I really like the magazine, The Atlantic. It delves deep into topics that are of interest to me and has some good writing. I’m a fan of Variety Fair, too, for the same reasons. It is The Atlantic, though, that retreats from the celebrity arena and instead has had some pretty interesting cover stories on women and gender. Ann-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Jean Twenge’s “How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?” And, now “The Confidence Gap” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. If you are reading this blog, you likely have experienced the confidence gap. You may have refrained from applying for a job or pursuing a promotion because you thought you weren’t ready for said job or promotion. Then, when you got the job or promotion, you may have thought, “Wow, the candidate pool must have been pretty small.” And, you have likely never said the following words: “Yeah, I got that job because I know I was better than everyone else.” The confidence gap is the idea that women have significantly less confidence than men. In turn, the argument that women aren’t at the upper echelons of power is due, in part, to our lack of confidence.
This idea reminds me of a meeting I was in this week. I was at the table with all the vice presidents of the university (I am one of them) and the president. The only other female vice president was not there. I noticed it instantly. Continue reading Fill the Confidence Gap with Confident Hope