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What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know [Kindle Edition]

Joan C. Williams , Rachel Dempsey , Anne-Marie Slaughter
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An essential resource for any working woman, What Works for Women at Work is a comprehensive and insightful guide for mastering office politics as a woman. Authored by Joan C. Williams, one of the nation’s most-cited experts on women and work, and her daughter, writer Rachel Dempsey, this unique book offers a multi-generational perspective into the realities of today’s workplace. Often women receive messages that they have only themselves to blame for failing to get ahead—Negotiate more! Stop being such a wimp! Stop being such a witch! What Works for Women at Work tells women it’s not their fault. The simple fact is that office politics often benefits men over women.       
Based on interviews with 127 successful working women, over half of them women of color, What Works for Women at Work presents a toolkit for getting ahead in today’s workplace. Distilling over 35 years of research, Williams and Dempsey offer four crisp patterns that affect working women:  Prove-It-Again!, the Tightrope, the Maternal Wall, and the Tug of War. Each represents different challenges and requires different strategies—which is why women need to be savvier than men to survive and thrive in high-powered careers.
Williams and Dempsey’s analysis of working women is nuanced and in-depth, going far beyond the traditional cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approaches of most career guides for women. Throughout the book, they weave real-life anecdotes from the women they interviewed, along with quick kernels of advice like a “New Girl Action Plan,” ways to “Take Care of Yourself”, and even “Comeback Lines” for dealing with sexual harassment and other difficult situations. 
Up-beat, pragmatic, and chock full of advice, What Works for Women at Work is an indispensable guide for working women.

Editorial Reviews


"If you’re a working woman searching for the best pocket guide to success at work,here it is. Prove-It-Again, the Tightrope, The Maternal Wall, the Tug of War, Double Jeopardy—the distinguished scholar Joan Williams and her daughter guide women through each of these sticky wickets. Their invaluable advice is no substitute for broader changes in the workplace, they note, but it can help position more women to accomplish that change."-Arlie Hochschild,author of The Outsourced Self and So How's the Family? and other essays

"Joan Williams and Rachel Dempsey clearly and vividly detail the double standards and the dead ends that so many women face in the workplace. Fortunately, the authors also provide easy-to-follow strategies to counter these scenarios. This book can help women claim their seat at the table and lean in to their careers." -Sheryl Sandberg,author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

"Williams and Dempsey provide the essential bridge between research findings on prejudice and discrimination and the problems that women experience at work. Solutions exist, and these authors present them. What Works for Women at Work is a must-read book for everyone committed to creating gender-fair workplaces."-Alice H. Eagly,author of Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders

“Having sifted through many of the debates about how much women can and should succeed, Williams and Dempsey finally offer a template on how women can do that and how the workforce can support this integration; whether these women are homemakers or management, this book is a confidence booster. A much needed look at what women might want, but what society needs.”-Amy Richards,author of Opting In, and co-author of Manifesta

"Much of its advice is solid career counsel for anyone look to move up...ultimately the tone of this book is quite hopeful...[T]this book's message: If we make ourselves and the men in our lives aware of the roadblocks women still face, and we use some of the many tools the authors offer in this volume, we are likely to see women move ahead more quickly.  In fact I wish there were a way to interest men in reading this book.  They would get the most out of it.",

About the Author

Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Her books include Unbending Gender: Why Work and Family Conflict and What to Do About It and Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter.

Rachel Dempsey is a writer and student at Yale University’s School of Law. Her work has appeared online in publications such as The Huffington Post and Psychology Today, among others.

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009–2011 she served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position.

Product Details

  • File Size: 682 KB
  • Print Length: 396 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1479835455
  • Publisher: NYU Press (January 17, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GXA1QN6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,836 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
In the Foreword, Anne-Marie Slaughter observes, and I agree, "If women act on the prescriptions I these pages and men begin to understand the deep culturally embedded biases and assumptions that mean a book like thus still needs to be written, the workplace will be a better place, the United States will be more competitive, and the intertwining of work and family life will be easier for all caregivers."

Joan Williams and Rachel Dempsey focus on "four crisp patterns that provide the framework for this book." They are Prove-It-Again! (a descriptive bias), the Tightrope (a prescriptive bias), the Maternal Wall (both a descriptive and prescriptive bias), and Tug of War (i.e. between accepting or resisting masculine traditions based on various biases). Williams and Dempsey devote a separate chapter to each of the four patterns. Throughout their lively as well as thoughtful and thought-provoking narrative, they provide an abundance of information, insights, and counsel from a wide variety of sources - including their own wide and deep experience - so that their readers will have the tools needed now to navigate the world as they find it.

That said, I commend them for acknowledging, "Simple formulas are highly misleading, not only because different women face different problems but because different women can face different problems at different pints in their careers. The truth is that women have to be politically savvier to survive and thrive in historically male careers." That is, play with much greater skill the hand they are dealt or go find a different game. "Better yet, become the dealer or invent your own game.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can't count the number of times I have made a suggestion in a meeting that was ignored, only to have a man say the same thing 10 minutes later and everybody then thinks it's a great idea. Now I know I'm not the only woman who has felt that way. Joan and her daughter Rachel do an excellent job of identifying patterns of behavior, naming them, understanding them and giving strategies to deal with them. Women lawyers, young and old, should read this book. You don't have to agree with everything or take every idea, but it's essential knowledge for navigating our world.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. B
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a psychologist in private practice, and thus a business owner, clinician and mother of young kids. I found this book really resonated with me. I could not put it down, but tore through it. As a nerd, I appreciated the careful literature reviews. The sorts of situations she describes in the book were exactly what lead me to work for other women and eventually to venture out on my own. Wish this book had come out when I was much younger. This would also be a good choice for younger women as well. Lean In is a great start, but I think this one brings the ideas down to the practical level that you can use to make your life better. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your Professional Reading Time May 15, 2014
By Linda
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book builds on research beginning in 60's and 70's, with much needed update -- as well as usable perspective -- on what the NON changing socialization process does to women.... and equips today's working women with a frame work for understanding the challenges faced at work, regardless of the organization. Dr. Linda L. Moore.....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read March 11, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is an essential read for women entering the workforce, or currently working, who are serious about their career. Truly empowers, as you realize the different forces at play in the workplace, and you understand how to navigate/engage them effectively. While reading, I like highlighting the points I agree with or find insightful, and I ended up highlighting nearly 70% of the book! :) Loved it. I've referred it to all my friends and family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Professional Women Needs This February 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a book every up and coming professional woman should read. Its also a book seasoned professional women should read. It provides great advice for young professionals and validates the experiences of more seasoned professional women. This is good practical stuff, with research to back it up. Get this book for your partner, daughter, BFF or any woman you love and want to see succeed in the workplace.
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