PACS news / September 7, 2018

Why Women Stay Out of the Spotlight at Work

“Organizations can take three steps to make it easier for women to be seen and promoted: Value unconventional forms of leadership, fight implicit bias, and balance women’s second-shift responsibilities,” former Stanford PACS Ph.D fellow, Priya Fielding-Singh, and her colleagues advocate. 

Featured in the Harvard Business Review, Fielding-Singh and her co-authors articulate three primary reasons women’s contributions are systematically overlooked: avoiding backlash in the workplace, finding professional authenticity, and parenthood pressures. These motivations were identified during a study of a women’s professional development program at a U.S nonprofit organization.  Drawing upon 86 in-depth interviews with women in the program, 36 discussion group observations, and 15 program-wide meetings, researchers found that the women’s risk-adverse, conflict-avoidant office strategy led to them feeling well-liked but underappreciated. 

Fielding-Singh and her co-authors’ organizational recommendations aim  to urge women to step into the spotlight while making note to consider visibility risks for women. The authors conclude by stating, “To achieve workplace equality, we need to redesign organizations — not the women who work in them.”

Read the full article featured in Harvard Business Review here