What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know

What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know

by Joan C. Williams, Rachel Dempsey
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Debora L. Spar
Deftly combining sociological research with a…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…Smart and well researched…it's bound to be helpful, especially to women just embarking on their careers or those plotting the next step.
Publishers Weekly
12/09/2013
Law professor Williams (Unbending Gender) and her daughter, Dempsey, a student at Yale Law School, share social psychology resources as well as insights from 127 members of the New Girls’ Network, a group of female executives, in order to elucidate four systemic trends that affect women in the workplace. “Prove-It-Again!” means that women must continually demonstrate their competence. “The Tightrope” is the challenge of being perceived as too masculine or too feminine, both of which can engage negative stereotypes. The “Maternal Wall” reflects the competing social roles of employee and mother. The “Tug of War” is the real or perceived hindrance of women in the workplace by one another. The authors effectively explore how gender bias affects women in different generations. Overall, the authors offer a two-pronged message to readers: 1) these issues are not your fault; 2) here’s what you can do to counteract the problem. In addition, an NSF-funded study allowed Williams to interview 60 female scientists of color to explore the intersection of gender and racial stereotype and bias. 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 culture to catch up. Agent: Roger S. Williams, New England Publishing Assoc. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"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

"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

"This title is many steps beyond Lean In (2013), Sheryl Sandberg’s prescription for getting ahead in business. What Works for Women at Work is filled with street-smart advice and plain old savvy about the way life works in corporate America."-STARRED Booklist

"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

"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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781479835454
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
01/17/2014
Pages:
394
Sales rank:
298,674
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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