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

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! ...

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

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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.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781479835454
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/17/2014
  • Pages: 394
  • Sales rank: 107,029
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet 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.

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