Hard to be a woman? The beat goes on….
If you like to keep track of such things, we’ve written a number of times on how it’s hard to be a woman. Tammy Wynette did the original (although it’s better if you don’t listen to the lyrics too closely) and the hits just keep on coming!
You may remember the controversy around Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court. If we had been blogging then, that would have been an entry in this series. But now, a different woman is in the news with now Justice Thomas. His wife. Virginia (Ginni) Lamp Thomas is active in national Tea Party leadership and this causes consternation from some. Should a Supreme Court Justice wife be allowed to go this route? Would we respond the same way to the husband of a supreme court justice, or just a wife? [We are not commenting on her recent phone contact with Anita Hill.]
Even training programs in female leadership send mixed messages. A Harvard Business Review blog post decries the tendency to over-focus on woman leader as superwoman (an unreasonable model) and the constant focus on the woes of women in leadership. They call for disrupting stereotyping while acknowledging we sure aren’t there just yet.
And Miller-McCune reports on women in high-profile but non-gender typical careers. The good news is that your choice will be respected and you will be accepted in that role. The bad news (yes, there is bad news) is that you better not make a mistake or you will be judged incompetent. According to the lead researcher, “those who buck accepted norms are given only a limited opportunity to succeed”. [This unforgiving reaction happens to both men and women who seek careers inconsistent with traditional gender roles and is doled out by both male and female observers.]
It’s no wonder some women are drawn to a new video game called “Hey Baby” that allows them to respond violently to sleazy come-on’s and street harassment.
Brescoll VL, Dawson E, & Uhlmann EL (2010). Hard Won and Easily Lost: The Fragile Status of Leaders in Gender-Stereotype-Incongruent Occupations. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS PMID: 20876882