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What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know Hardcover – January 17, 2014
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"The book offers an accessible and sound model of problems faced by women climbing the corporate ladder, and presents clear strategies to take while waiting for business to catch up."-Publishers Weekly
“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
"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
"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
"Much of its advice is solid career counsel for anyone looking to move up...ultimately the tone of this book is quite hopeful...[T]his 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."-Susan Adams,Forbes.com
"The book's plentiful examples and suggestions provide smart strategies for federal workers to find work/life balance without calling their commitment to career into question."-Katherine Reynolds Lewis,The Business of Federal Technology
"Deftly combining sociological research with a more casual narrative style, What Works for Women at Work offers unabashedly straightforward advice in a how-to primer for ambitious women....The authors plow nimbly through decades of research, transforming what could have been dry and impenetrable statistics into attention-grabbing revelations." -Debora L. Spar,The New York Times
"Forty years later, gender bias shouldn’t exist in the workplace, but it does, in large part because many of us don’t recognize its most common forms. That’s a pitfall—and for me, at least, a pratfall. Reading What Works for Women at Work would be a good first step in avoiding both."-Theodore Kinni,Strategy and Business
"Written by a mother-daughter duo, this decidedly unwonky examination of gender bias doubles as a playbook on how to transcend and triumph."-Abbe Wright,O, The Oprah Magazine
"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 book offers women advice for asking for promotions or pay raises, while acknowledging that women who ask for these things can be considered masculine in ways that might undermine their success. I particularly appreciated reading about the toxic competition between women at work that can also hinder the success of women collectively."-Joshunda Sanders,Salon.com
"[The book] identifies four overall patterns of gender bias that high-achieving career women face."-Jazelle Hunt,Black Voice News
“It’s great to have a smart compilation of helpful suggestions put together not by two self-help gurus but by two women who understand that all their advice might still not be enough. Besides, make no mistake: the guidance they offer is often quite good, and I suspect few women will not find either a strategy they’ve successfully used in the past or one they can utilize in the future within its pages. […] It pretty much sums up what happens to all too many women today.”-Women's Review of Books
"In their compelling new book, Williams (Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law) and Dempsey (a student at Yale Law School who blogs for Huffington Post on women's issues) spell out the two sets of rules, higher standards and closed doors that many women encounter on the job these days."-Kerry Hannon,Forbes
"The insights from cognitive psychology and social psychology, and the tips gleaned from experience, that this book brings to bear on experiences of gender in the workplace are worth learning."-Feminist Economics
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Despite the title, What Works for Women is long on problems women can face in the workplace, and short on solutions. There are four major problems discussed. First, women’s accomplishments tend to be discredited or forgotten more easily than men’s, and men tend to be viewed as more competent and having better leadership qualities. Second, women are disliked if they’re too aggressive, but not respected if they’re too passive or girly. Third, mothers often aren’t seen as serious employees, or are judged as bad mothers if they are. Fourth, all this pressure can cause women to feel they must compete with each other for a limited number of “female” seats, or to resent or feel the need to dissociate themselves from other women, particularly those who have made different choices.
As far as the discussion of problems, the book is thorough and backs up anecdotes with research. The tone is non-judgmental and the authors take a big-picture view – noting, for instance, that women don’t just make less money because they’re too timid to negotiate; women who do negotiate their salaries are seen as less likeable to work with. So success isn’t simply a matter of overcoming your own ingrained expectations, when those around you have them as well.
How to succeed, then? The book has less to say about that, and much of what it does say is fairly general or obvious.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another great book by Joan Willuams. Very useful blueprint to identify and replace problem habits in the workplace.Published 7 days ago by Dallas John
I liked how the authors segmented the challenges women face into 4 clear patterns rather than lumping everything under the "it's tough out there" headline. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Upstate
This book should be taught in every woman's studies program around the country.Published 5 months ago by Opinionated
I was expecting something very different. This reads like a magazine article expanded, and most solutions are very obvious. I'm hopeful for the next edition though. Read morePublished 7 months ago by molly b
A well written and enlightening book. I think every woman should read it, particularly if you are ambitious and work in a good size company.Published 8 months ago by True Joy
The authors really capture the challenges many women face in the corporate world. The theories they present give structure and meaning to the "little" situations at work... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Julie Hausladen
Excellent! Well written and thoughtful analysis of data. The authors provide concrete suggestions for how to work with the biases and stereotypes that women must deal with at work.Published 12 months ago by Julia
I would recommend this book to professional working women, regardless of where they are in their careers (eg. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kimberly Shen
Williams is clearly the thought leader is this arena. She combines rigorous scholarship with a razor wit to provide insight, empathy and pragmatic solutions for moving the needle... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Catherine