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Women at Work

Author: Harvard Business Review

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Women face gender discrimination throughout our careers. It doesn't have to derail our ambitions — but how do we prepare to deal with it? There's no workplace orientation session about narrowing the wage gap, standing up to interrupting male colleagues, or taking on many other issues we encounter at work. So HBR staffers Amy Bernstein, Amy Gallo, and Emily Caulfield are untangling some of the knottiest problems. They interview experts on gender, tell stories about their own experiences, and give lots of practical advice to help you succeed in spite of the obstacles.
132 Episodes
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Executive presence is a mix of gravitas, communication skills, and appearance. But what does that look and sound like in practice? To help a fully remote insurance underwriter think through ways she can act like a leader, we bring in a role model of hers and an expert in strategic communication.
Sexism Is Everywhere

Sexism Is Everywhere

2023-12-0450:00

Is there any way to know for sure whether something that someone did—or neglected to do—is rooted in sexism? When is confronting that person worth it? And if you’ll never know what drove their actions, how do you make peace with the uncertainty? Amy G talks through these questions with two professors who study perceptions and gender stereotypes.
It’s a question that so many of us are grappling with. Should I quit corporate life and pursue my passion project? Today in this episode from our colleagues at New Here—HBR's podcast for young professionals—we’ll help you think through the possibilities and trade-offs, as we learn from one woman’s experiences leaving corporate life to build her own business. You’ll learn which of her fears were warranted, how she battled loneliness, managed her money, and whether or not she is actually happier working for herself.
Eight women who’ve been on boards share how they landed a seat, gained confidence in the role, and found unexpected personal and professional benefits in the work. We hope their perspectives and advice will encourage you to consider trying it yourself some day. Ellen Zane, who runs a Harvard workshop for women interested in board work, gives further insight based on her deep experience as a director for nonprofits and private and public companies.
Ask the Amys

Ask the Amys

2023-11-2037:32

What if one of your first assignments at a new job was to fire people? What should you do if the person leading a project you’re on isn’t giving clear direction, demands that you work nights and weekends, bristles at your feedback—and leadership tells you to fall in line? These are two of the five situations that Amy B and Amy G talk through in this episode. They offer advice to the women who wrote in with their questions, with the hope that it will help them and anyone who’s been in a similar situation, or might be one unfortunate day.
So Many Feelings. Too Many?

So Many Feelings. Too Many?

2023-11-1301:01:114

Liz Fosslien believes “the future of work is emotional.” The Amys revisit our 2020 conversation with her and fellow organizational consultant Mollie West Duffy about the good that can come from being vulnerable with colleagues, and Fosslien returns to reassess where the line between vulnerability and oversharing is today.
If you plan to get married, do you see yourself keeping or changing your last name? How much, if at all, does your career factor into that decision? Our associate producer, who’s engaged, spoke with three recently married women about the professional considerations that factored into their decisions. Hannah and the Amys then join former co-host Nicole Torres to discuss how their names are connected to their personal brands.
Two women who have ADHD—one’s a psychologist and the other a life coach—describe what the disorder is and how it messes with the brain’s executive functions, like inhibition and emotional regulation. They give advice for managing the symptoms, asking for help at work, and what to do if what we’re talking about sounds an awful lot like your life.
Meredith Koch and Nicole Bettè are engineers who’ve bonded over conversations about their apparent and non-apparent disabilities. They recount how at different moments in their careers they’ve gotten the understanding and assistive technology necessary to do their jobs—and when they haven’t, all with the hope that you’ll be able to better advocate for yourself and your colleagues.
The Amys and their former co-host Sarah Green Carmichael revisit times they majorly messed up, in hopes that you’ll feel better about your experiences with failure. We’re not talking about honest mistakes with simple solutions; we’re talking about larger problems that were difficult and costly to correct. They share what happened, how they recovered, and what they learned.
In this ninth season of the show, these are some of the big questions they’ll explore: How do you recover from a failure? What’s it really like to serve on a board? Do our careers influence the decision to keep or change our last name? How does going through a divorce affect us at work? If we have a disability, how can we get the understanding and assistive technology we need to do our job? Amy G and Amy B will talk with women who’ve been there, bringing in advice, stories, and expertise.
When you see potential for your company to improve in some way—whether it’s to overhaul an outdated policy, round out benefits, or to make jobs more workable, how can you instigate change? Three women who saw that potential and carried it through describe what they did at their companies, the results so far, and how you can follow their lead.
Leadership development coach Muriel Wilkins talks us through communication techniques that meet you where you’re at mentally and emotionally so that you can rise to the moment (even when you’re worried you can’t).
Who are you now, who do you want to be, and how can you stretch without taking on too much? Jen Dary regularly coaches first-time managers on these questions. She shares advice for finding yourself anew at work, dealing with disillusionment, and setting priorities and boundaries. Then, a former guest who’s one year into leading a major project tells us about her aha moments. Finally, Kelsey answers the question of whether or not she’s ready to try management again.
When you manage people, they ask you for things: to extend a deadline, to make an exception, to give them a raise or more resources. Maybe they don’t even have to ask; you notice the need and start thinking about how to meet it. Negotiations professor Martha Jeong explains the mindset, framing, timing, and tone that’ll position you to get the most mutually beneficial solution.
How to Manage: Conflict

How to Manage: Conflict

2023-06-1240:431

People management consists of a fair amount of mediation and diplomacy, and you can’t expect to get the hang of it right away. You’re in the middle of a lot now, and holding tension and resolving disagreements takes planning, practice, and restraint. Amy G teaches us about different types of conflict, natural tendencies, and options for responding.
If you’re a woman who’s a new manager, people will probably push back on your authority. As difficult as defiance is to face—especially when you’re settling in yourself—we have ideas for making it clear that you’re in charge. McKinsey’s Lareina Yee recounts the actions that senior leaders took that affirmed her position. Kelsey reflects on the disrespect she felt as a first-time manager, as well as her discomfort with power, and Amy B helps her make sense of those experiences and feelings. If you manage a woman who’s a new manager, this episode is for you too!
We’ve planned a half-day of learning, guidance, and inspiration—all virtual. Here’s the session lineup, hour by hour: 1) Communicating effectively when you’re running on empty, 2) Lessons from women making work better for women, 3) The latest gender research and what it means for you, and 4) Ask the Amys. Register here.
A dentist joins Amy Gallo to ask a behavioral scientist about the fundamentals of sound decision making: when to use a process, how to handle resistance to a call you’ve made, and making peace with a tough call.
We need actionable, useful feedback to grow and advance professionally. But our guest, an aerospace engineer, hasn’t received any of that for years, and she feels like she’s missing out on information that would clarify her standing at her company and secure her future success there. We bring in Ella Bell, an expert on interpersonal communication and organizational behavior, to offer advice, including suggestions on how to respond to, make sense of, and act on feedback you receive.
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Comments (13)

Nina Brown

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Feb 5th
Reply

Alizee de lacoudraye harter

Great show, esp first half. thanks ladies!

Dec 24th
Reply

Maria Luisa Liuzzo

I love HBR podcasts. I have been following "women's at work" for years. I got so much from it. However, the new podcast series Coaching Real Leaders will be a game changer in my personal and professional growth. I suggest to anybody who needs support charting a path. As Muriel said, don't expect a ready-made, off-the-shelf solution. Infact you get a map where your actions will be critical to reach the objective - whatever that could be! Thanks, Muriel. Thanks HBR.

Feb 20th
Reply

Sierra Wright

I have a hard time listening to this podcast. I've listened to a couple of episodes and it feels very narrow in it's perspective of women at work. Specifically, it feels like it only implicitly highlights the perspective of white women. As a woman of color, I can say that just speaking up or "leaning in" doesn't always work and I've received disproportionate backlash from it.

Jan 15th
Reply

victoria cockburn

I love this Podcast! When can we expect more content?

Aug 20th
Reply

Ali Alsoudani

ALI

Jun 29th
Reply

Nell Greenhouse

Great episode, I work in China with a lot of female attorneys, one came to me today to ask "Could you possibly...?" on a piece of work that had an urgent deadline. I asked her to be more assertive with me when it's important and referred her here 👌 #womensupportingwomen

Dec 26th
Reply

Sarah K

school districts don't let anyone State their opinion

Oct 26th
Reply

Maria Keating

there is a distinct lack of mentorship in my workplace. I feel like you're filling in the blanks for me! This is very valuable what you've produced here. Thank you!

Mar 16th
Reply

Rmuffin

I was debating with a man and knowingly took my voice up to his level to see what happened. I was accused of yelling. The conversation quickly went sour. When I mentioned that I was just taking my tone of voice up to his same level, the group was amuzed and It gave them something to ponder on.

Mar 4th
Reply (1)

L Caves

Just listened to the 1st half of authenticity discussion, it made me wonder if being authentic is somewhat of an earned "benefit". Reflecting on my own career, it seems that I had to demonstrate credibility and integrity in my field/role before my colleagues were able to appreciate/accept my authentic self

Feb 28th
Reply

Lilian Mogoah

Loved this! Am a newbie in the work place, I'm a manager, and this is very helpful.

Feb 26th
Reply
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