I Don’t Want to Hire Women

I don’t want to hire any more women.

Yes, I said it. You cringed when you read it and I cringed when I wrote it, and even more so when the thought first occurred to me. I am a woman, a feminist, a mother, and a passionate entrepreneur. I don’t just stand for equality – I have crashed the glass ceiling in every aspect of my life. I get extremely angry when I come across articles that insist there are gender differences that extend beyond physiology. I am fortunate to have had female role models who taught me through their own examples that I can accomplish absolutely anything I desire.

Over the years, I have hired outstanding women – educated, intelligent and highly articulate. Yet, I am exhausted. I have become profoundly tired of being a therapist and a babysitter, of being drawn into passive-aggressive mental games and into constantly questioning my own worth as a manager. I have had several women who quit to stay home to “figure out what to do next”. No, not to stay home and care for children, but to mooch of a husband or a boyfriend while soul searching (aka: taking a language class or learning a new inapplicable skill that could be acquired after work). Incidentally, I have not had a single male employee quit with no plan in mind.

I have had women cry in team meetings, come to my office to ask me if I still like them and create melodrama over the side of the office their desk was being placed. I am simply incapable of verbalizing enough appreciation to female employees to satiate their need for it for at least a week’s worth of work. Here is one example to explain. My receptionist was resigning and, while in tears, she told me that although she was passionate about our brand and loved the job, she could not overcome the fact that I did not thank her for her work. It really made me stop in my tracks and so I asked for an example. “Remember when I bought the pictures with butterflies to hang in the front? And you just came and said ‘thank you’? That is a perfect example!” – “Wait”, I said, “So, I did thank you then?” – “Yes! But you did not elaborate on what exactly you liked about them! Why didn’t you?” She had bought them with the company credit card and I actually did not like them at all, but I digress.

I have developed a different approach for offering constructive criticism to male and female employees. When I have something to say to one of the men, I just say it! I don’t think it through – I simply spit it out, we have a brief discussion and we move on. They even frequently thank me for the feedback! Not so fast with my female staff. I plan, I prepare, I think, I run it through my business partner and then I think again. I start with a lot of positive feedback before I feel that I have cushioned my one small negative comment sufficiently, yet it is rarely enough. We talk forever, dissect every little piece of it, and then come back to the topic time and time again in the future. And I also have to confirm that I still like them – again and again, and again.

I am also yet to have a single male employee come to my office to give me dirt on a co-worker or share an awkward gossip-like story. My female employees though? Every. single. one.

When I opened my company, I was excited for many reasons. One of them was wanting to make it an amazing place for women to build their careers. After all, we were two women, both mothers with very small children, opening a company in a very competitive industry. I was going to celebrate the achievements of my female hires, encourage them to find their voices, celebrate their pregnancies and year-long maternity leaves, be understanding and accommodating when they would have to juggle work/daycare/school schedules. Yet, I had no idea that the problems women faced in their workplace were often far removed from the typical inequalities feminism continues to address. It is not men who sabotage women and stump their career growth – it is women themselves!

What is at the root of the problem? Lack of confidence? Wrong upbringing? What am I not seeing? Is there something else I should be doing as a manager? I welcome your comments, as I secretly continue placing the resumes of female applicants into the “call later” folder.

The post was written by a guest blogger but the veracity of every aspect of the story has been verified by Blogger Clarissa.

WARNING: People in the past 2 hours I have had to Spam 63 comments from losers who tried to inform me that “men and women are psychologically / emotionally, etc. different.” Once again, anybody who embarrasses him or herself by chirping idiotically “yes, men and women are different” will be banned outright. This will be my small investment into sparing these losers further public embarrassment. Stop wasting your time, such comments are not going through on my blog.

Please read this and this to inform yourselves already.

633 comments on “I Don’t Want to Hire Women

  1. I’m not sure if the original author will be around to answer questions but I’ve got a few:

    1. How sure are you that these situations are not the result of your own attitude? Maybe you are prejudice against women and look for proof that they are not good enough in situations where you let men employees slide?

    2. Have you tried talking to these female employees to see what their response is?

    3. How would it make you feel if you were refused a shot at employment because the employer disliked women?

      • I certainly have. I can elaborate on my experience as an employee, but perhaps there is something specific you would like me to share?

    • I’m a male worker, whose worked with fantastic women.

      It sounds like you are terrible at hiring women. Hiring persons is a difficult skill, but especially when you have exterior motives. If I need someone on a project now, I am likely to make a poor hiring decision due to time; just as if I have an inclination to hire women, I may not take the necessary time to find the right employee.

      Truth be told, if your employee puts you in a situation that you don’t want to be in, just telling them creates a clear tone for your relationship.

      There is a very different attitude of a ‘safe place’ and a ‘safe work place’. if your employees don’t respect or understand the difference, then that is something that needs to be communicated to them as early as possible.

      It is also important to note, that women are more frequently subject to personal/social discrimination; it is critical to effectively address male (or other) problematic workers at an early stage.

      • It sounds like an ideology issue. There is a concept that opposites attract and people with the same personality (or ideology) might hate each other or at least clash with each other. As a woman. I find that I have always had a mix of men and women in my social circles and work environments and both genders can be intelligent and easy to work with or a pain at different times. I don’t know what business she is in but she might have more luck finding a female engineer that understands to correct way to interact in a business setting which is fairly hierarchical to prevent chaos. Women who have to compete in an mostly male field are also socialized to do business like men and so their approach is more standardized.

        Our concepts of a boss also are also more masculine. So if she is a boss she might be taking on a more masculine role which might confuse her female employees if they are expecting to interact with her female-to-female. Guys might just be more used to the boss-subordinate relationship so might not have as difficult of a time adjusting since as their boss she is probably not considered to be a romantic interest so the usual hierarchy takes over. The way men and women are socialized is different so there is a lot of room for confusion (woman to woman) if she is not clear on boundaries.

        In the past women were integrated into the business community as subordinates; professional women know how to act as an employee but maybe not as a boss? Or maybe not as an employee to a female boss? If she wants to re-wire the entire business model that is a bigger task than running a start-up.

        • “The way men and women are socialized is different so there is a lot of room for confusion (woman to woman) if she is not clear on boundaries. In the past women were integrated into the business community as subordinates; professional women know how to act as an employee but maybe not as a boss? Or maybe not as an employee to a female boss?”

          – Exactly. This is spot-on.

      • ” it is critical to effectively address male (or other) problematic workers at an early stage. ” Here let me correct that slip of sexism for you.

        ” it is critical to effectively address problematic workers at an early stage. ”
        There you go, that’s much better.

    • Clarissa echo’s my wife’s feeling on this subject.

      She’s very active in women’s groups and women’s sports, but is at her wit’s end. She’s had enough of the cattiness, pettiness, drama, etc…. says their group spends more time bickering and trash talking behind each other’s backs that they never even get close to completing what it is they set out to do.

      This is very frustrated because she loves team sports and group activities .

  2. Also, and I’m not trying to be adversarial, I’m just curious, as a feminist don’t you think you need to persist even when it’s not as easy as you hoped?

    • I like adversarial. :) As a feminist, I persist with my own career path. Am I expected to persist with others?

      • In the spirit of full disclosure, Entrepreneur has been known to come to social gatherings with a list of controversial topics for the group to discuss so that the party wouldn’t be boring. So yes, she can handle adversarial. :-)

      • Moreover, Entrepreneur wrote the post at my suggestion because she and I kept talking about this issue and I believed this subject would gain from a wider discussion.

        Feminism has gotten stuck in a rut of “we are being tolds”, “work-life balances” and “microaggressions”. Let’s liven it up by discussing actual issues, such as things that prevent women from having greater success in the workplace.

      • What kind of field are you in? A lot of women who are more ideologically feminists might have focused their studies on inequalities between the genders, which could cause them to be a little sensitive and can be paradoxically put them on a very gendered career path (IE a lot about emotions).

        Also could the problem be what type of applicant you are drawing via personality self-selection? My speculation is that you are trying to run the business in a standard light form, which is default a masculine model and that might be confusing women employees if they are more socialized to be feminine or revolutionaries (or know how to act via a male boss but not female to female when another woman is boss?) You might not be getting an equal distribution of women who are out there. You might have some sort of self selection at work based on what kinds of employees are hired or attracted to the job postings? Guys tend to be pack animals, they are more likely to accept a business hierarchy so while it might be unusual for them to work for a woman, I think many of them would adjust to the situation better than a lot of women just based on early education and socialization as the situation is a lot more normal for them.

      • “In the spirit of full disclosure, Entrepreneur has been known to come to social gatherings with a list of controversial topics for the group to discuss” So “Entrepreneur” is known for manufacturing/stirring up controversy? This provides much useful context for this article & makes its tone easier to understand, thank you.

  3. I am around and eager to discuss.

    1. I am not sure, which is why I am open to feedback and suggestions. I definitely was not prejudiced when I opened my company 3 years ago but I have grown prejudiced since. I have noticed time and time again that the same communication and management style from me yields a completely difference response in women VS men. I have also discussed this with a few other entrepreneurs who confirmed similar experiences (mind you no one was proud of having the conversation).

    2. Yes, most discussions end in tears.

    3. The answer is obvious. I hate the idea of anyone being denied a shot at employment because of generalization. And I actually do not dislike women. What I dislike is the amount of time it takes me to manage them VS my male employees. I get incredibly discouraged watching women sabotage themselves and am trying to understand the reasoning behind it.

    • Much is made of the “glass ceiling” preventing women from advancing into top positions. I think the real problem is that women have a hard time assuming leadership positions and inspiring others to work for them. These women are not climbing because the floor is collapsing under their feet, not because they have a barrier overhead.

      • It is why I’d rather work for myself. I am pretty picky about who I surround myself with, I have been giving people informal IQ tests since I was about 19 (mostly throwing weird statistics and ideas out at them to see how they react). My biggest liability is my family, everyone else I can select but my mother is pretty intrusive and just doesn’t understand the concepts of entrepreneurship which makes starting out harder as she does stuff to sabotage my work environment. Living at home definitely hurt my grades at uni, which is irritating but it is easier to be innovative outside the school system than within as long as you have a good foundation. I saw the writing on the wall with how much it hurt my economics grades dealing with the family drama which is why I made sure to go sideways and add a degree in applied math before I had to reapply for any sort of university admissions with a sub 3.0 GPA. I like math better anyway.

        • “My biggest liability is my family, everyone else I can select but my mother is pretty intrusive and just doesn’t understand the concepts of entrepreneurship which makes starting out harder as she does stuff to sabotage my work environment. Living at home definitely hurt my grades at uni, which is irritating but it is easier to be innovative outside the school system than within as long as you have a good foundation. I saw the writing on the wall with how much it hurt my economics grades dealing with the family drama”

          – I identify completely with this struggle you are describing. Just like pretty much everybody from my culture where such issues are rampant.

  4. I don’t want to use my regular avatar to comment in this thread but I hope the comment still goes through.

    The post resonates with me even though I don’t want to recognize that it does. I do feel like I’m expected to do constant emotion management for women on my team (I’m not a business owner but I get assigned to manage projects every once in a while). I’m on the Autistic spectrum (which is why I originally came to this blog), and it’s exhausting to have to deal with emotion management. I don’t know how to respond and I just freeze up and let the conversation run away from me. I don’t know if it’s my problem or that of my colleagues.

    My theory is that women react in these extremely emotional ways because they are taught that it’s what they should do. A woman who is emotionally distant is always viewed with suspicion. Does anybody have similar experiences?

    • Ellen: I’m so far down the spectrum (or is it up?) that I always forget to wonder how people perceive me. :-) I do get excruciatingly annoyed by students who want constant hand-holding from me and expect endless exuberant praise.

      I’d be happy if the words “I feel” were banished from the workplace. Or a fine were levied on everybody who said them more than once a week.

      • I’m so far down the spectrum (or is it up?)

        “Been down the spectrum so long it feels like up to me…”

      • I have some tendencies. Not sure if I am autistic or not, and not sure if I care. But I’d rather not hold anyone’s hand. If they want to be overly emotional they can do their own emotion work. I am only tolerant up to a point. I’d rather just get the work done.

        • “Not sure if I am autistic or not, and not sure if I care. But I’d rather not hold anyone’s hand. If they want to be overly emotional they can do their own emotion work. I am only tolerant up to a point. I’d rather just get the work done.”

          – Preach, sister! I’m exactly like you in this. And I am autistic.

      • “It is called estrogene. Any transexual can tell you how he became emotionally unstable after taking female hormones. More often than not simple chemistry is the reason for over-emotional reactions. Not culture, not oppression by male cave-men.”

        I love to have fun with these little fucks by pushing them into the kinds of situations where they have “over-emotional reactions”. Then when they start to get all alarmed and don’t know what hit them, I say, “What society? What social relations? “

              • Yes, I believe so. In fact to be able to handle many emotional states is the mark of a mature person. It doesn’t matter if those emotional states are situationally-induced or hormonally-induced or come from a food allergy. Those who want to find laws of the universe to submit to are absurd. Here is a law for you, the law of gravity. You need to get up really close to it and find out what “it” wants you to do. When you sit up in bed after sleeping for a night, are you sure that is right? You are pushing against gravity. That’s not right. The law of gravity wants to you stay lying down. If you roll and fall off your bed, that is okay with gravity, too. But no getting up.

    • Hmmm, what if it not a cultural problem, what if it is nature, what if it actually real? Guess what, it is what it is ;-D

      • It is called estrogene. Any transexual can tell you how he became emotionally unstable after taking female hormones. More often than not simple chemistry is the reason for over-emotional reactions. Not culture, not oppression by male cave-men.

        • “It is called estrogene. Any transexual can tell you how he became emotionally unstable after taking female hormones. More often than not simple chemistry is the reason for over-emotional reactions. Not culture, not oppression by male cave-men.”

          – It must be incredibly hard to be as stupid as you are, poor freak.

  5. Might I ask: are these women American?

    I have had similar problems advising domestic (by which I mean American) women students (actually a domestic men student as well). International women students I have found are much more open to constructive feedback. One of my best students is an international woman who struggled with research in her first couple of years, but has now blossomed into a wonderful researcher. The improvement is thanks to her attitude, her willingness to listen to constructive feedback, and fix things that are wrong.

  6. What’s your hiring process? Beyond resumes, how are you screening candidates? You yourself said you’ve hired “outstanding” women before; and you and your business partner are both women. What image do you yourself project when you hire people? What vibe do they get from your office? Are female candidates more likely to see you as a pushover for them, accommodating their gossip and their need for extra-nice and delicate feedback? Do they see you as a hand-holder and best buddy who’ll listen to their awkward gossip? Or do they see you, from the start, as a boss? Maybe you’ll scare some people away during the interview process, but the ones who aren’t scared may be the ones you want working for you…

    Who gets attracted to your field? I don’t know what field you work in, but maybe it’s also more likely to attract women with a certain personality?

    I worked for a few years at a research group (in the US) headed by two women; most of the employees and students involved with the group were women. It didn’t resemble what you describe here – no tears at team meetings, rampant gossip, etc. and the bosses didn’t mince words; no nastiness, but no coddling either. We had one incompetent administrator, but she wound up getting fired and replaced with another administrator (also a woman) who did the job well. The male employees were also generally excellent, except for one guy who got fired for not doing anything (seriously, he ate animal crackers by the large bagful and surfed the web).

    Maybe as a manager, you should just give direct feedback to everyone instead of bending over backwards to accommodate people who need their hand held? If you hear gossip, nip it at the bud? Maybe the current female employees you have know that they can get extra sympathy from you and a willing ear when they dish out dirt? Granted, if you don’t accommodate them, they’ll think you’re less nice. But is niceness important? So long as you’re honest and honorable?

    I’ve never worked as a manager at a company, so take my advice with a grain of salt of course. I’m just putting this out there for you to consider.

    • You make excellent points and I had indeed taken a close look at my management style, as well as the image I project, as soon as I noticed the negative trend. After I did it, I have adjusted my approach drastically, but it is yet to yield a different outcome. Direct feedback results in pouting / dramatic withdrawal of emotion and other passive/aggressive tendencies that quickly become obvious to the rest of the team.

      We conduct 2-3 interviews prior to making a hiring decision – our process is very structured and ‘formal’. We have created some distance between ourselves and the rest of the team. We nip gossip or drama in the bud (with a million follow up discussions initiated by each female employee in question). However, it seems to me that women exhibit a certain type of behavior because they feel that it is (or should be) expected of them.

      I will give you an example. A few months ago we decided to host a major high profile event in our industry and gathered the team to announce the news. The new project was received with enthusiasm by the men, but women came back with numerous questions all around their insecurities, fears and nerves surrounding the endeavor. It was exhausting managing their emotions.

      • I don’t know what to say at this point, only thank you for discussing this. It’s interesting to think about. I’ve come across drama in the workplace, but not rigidly along the lines of gender in the way you’re describing.

        I’m only half-joking when I suggest offering a workshop on emotional self-management :) There seem to be workshops on everything else, and seminars on fire safety and sexual harassment… And there is assertiveness and communication skills training that people sometimes find very useful… I wonder if showing people how to manage their own emotions rather than dumping this problem on their boss or co-workers all the time would yield some positive benefits.

      • The way we handle this is to judge people for their character. Even if they don’t have the skills, they can learn them. What one cannot learn is to not be small-minded, unbusinesslike, and distracted as so many people in our racket are – the racket being architecture.

      • “The new project was received with enthusiasm by the men, but women came back with numerous questions all around their insecurities, fears and nerves surrounding the endeavor.”

        Socialization – men and women aren’t necessarily different but they ARE socialized in very different ways … perhaps it’s that you are dealing with women who aren’t as socially ‘advanced’ (for lack of a better word) than you? …

        What brought this aspect home for me was what you said about the pouting and such when you ‘confront’ them on it … that’s going to happen when you try to change a behavior that has worked for them all their lives … they aren’t going to like that you want them to change how they behave but if you want that change you have to be firm yourself and not just expect them to ‘act like the men’ … we aren’t socialized to act like men so you are – in many ways – expecting them to behave in ways they’ve never had to … so yes – you are going to meet a great deal of resistance to that … you will never get anywhere if you just keep expecting them to suddenly ‘act like the boys’ … ;-/

  7. Well, you admit openly that you’re prejudiced against women. Perhaps, consciously or subconsciously, you transmit these feelings to your employees, and that’s why your women employees don’t feel comfortable working for you. I’m sure you work very hard to make sure your biases aren’t apparent to others, but these things are very hard to hide over an extended period of time. If I’m racist/sexist/homophobic I may be able to fool you over a lunch meeting, but if we’re going to be spending every day working together there is no way I can hide my feelings. I will slip up, eventually.

    • Agreed, which is why I have decided not to hire women altogether. Yet, I was not prejudiced at the onset, so would you say the blame lies fully with me?

      • Fair warning: from now on, anybody who embarrasses him or herself by chirping idiotically “yes, men and women are different” will be banned outright. This will be my small investment into sparing these losers further public embarrassment. I’m in a very charitable mood!

          • All constructive feedback is welcome and helpful. I agree that a more formal environment is going to curb the unwanted behaviours. Ah, the joys of a startup. :)

            • There is nothing “more formal” about setting standards for professional behavior. It’s a business, first and foremost. Rhetorical question – What have you done to ensure you have leadership acumen? The repair is in how you hire, manage and lead people.

              • Whimseywoman: thank you and everybody else. The problem declared in the post has already been resolved as a result of the insights afforded by this long discussion. I will post a detailed update on Monday.

              • Based on the responses from Ent throughout this thread… I have serious doubts about positive results, but I am eager to hear about what happens next.

              • As I said, we have achieved great insights and have figured out all we needed to figure out. I’m very glad to see how well this experiment played out.

        • This is really weird– once again, the downvotes. Is it that people lack self-discipline or do they identify themselves with statements that would be labeled as inane? The complete lack of openness to the complexity of human experiences ought to disturb us and make us question.

            • Yes, but a female face (doesn’t have to be mine) will give the same message to those who are still soiling their diapers. Mummy is very, very mad at you!

            • “I downvote you every time you complain about (or mention) downvotes. It’s sort of like my version of post-modern irony…..”

              – I have to say, I have experienced this temptation, too. One shouldn’t mention downvotes on the blog full of contrarians. :-)

              • Yes, but I can be the most childish of them all. And the most ironic. I think people stop prematurely with their little jokes, not seeing how far I can take this level of humor. In fact, if you are one who is inclined to read me as being very serious when I am mocking the hell out of you, the joke is ALWAYS on you. Just the way it is. I’m not the feminine, recoiling type.

              • hahahaha. Really. It’s true. I know how the game works. I can always remove more of the structures of communication people implicitly rely on, right down to the most basic level of thought.

            • It’s not that I deeply mind it, mind. It’s just that some people interpose the word “complain” when what would be more appropriate would be the words “observe” “remark, and, indeed, “question”.

              Such people seem very, very binary in my view, leading me to further “observe” “remark, and, indeed, “question”..

              I also realize that this level of complexity on my part COULD never become evident under the present, existing, circumstances, mind!

              Oh well, never mind.

          • On a more serious note, I have come to the view that capitalism borrows from other systems of value and culture, most notably those that have gone prior, in historical formation. Therefore it is a mechanism of consumption, not creation, which reproduces human beings who consume but cannot create (or find it very difficult to stand for anything solid or interesting). A company may command the construction of a new product and that is often very beneficial to society, but individuals themselves are basically empty souls, whose high notes tend to be a facile sort of irony and childlike demeanor.

          • This is really weird– once again, the downvotes. Is it that people lack self-discipline or do they identify themselves with statements that would be labeled as inane? The complete lack of openness to the complexity of human experiences ought to disturb us and make us question.

          • There is a POV that everyone has a right to an opinion even if it is complete rubbish. There are a large number of people on the Web who circulate rumor and second-hand opinion that have no basis in fact, and feel they have the right to do this. It’s Clarissa’s call, but I personally prefer to challenge them to justify what they say rather than simply swatting them. They might learn something if they actually have to research what they believe. Or maybe that’s being optimistic.

            • You know, I’ve had such a difficult year, had to overcome so much that these days I’d just rather people exercised this right someplace else. I’m dealing with as much as i can be dealing with right now, and there is no space for more

            • Thing is, the US education system and indeed the overall culture is so low that you would have to, as the Chinese proverb says, attempt something impossible like swallowing the ocean, if you wanted to educate all of the people. Also, itsn’t nobody’s responsibility to educate them or to see what they have to say. If they want to build a relationship or have an intellectual discourse, that is down to them as individuals to take those steps. There’s really nothing to stop them.

              • Dickens stated the opposing view, that the major threat to society comes from ignorance and want. If you consider the cadre of the ignorant that form the backbone of many/most terrorist organizations, Dickens’ point has as much validity today as it did 171 years ago.

                Ignorance and want threaten society and threaten people like you and me. Discrimination is the product of ignorance and want. Becker argued that discrimination plays a role is reducing competition and increasing the price of labor. However, in the American Civil War, how did rich southern planters get poor whites (and some blacks) to fight to preserve slavery? By creating phony issues and phony loyalties, and rallying the illiterate to them.

                Who burns books? is it the people who have read them or those who don’t know how to read?

                “These people are stupid. It doesn’t matter. It’s not my concern.” The words are the mantra of many who have found themselves in prisons or concentration camps or hung by the neck from a tree branch.

              • “The words are the mantra of many who have found themselves in prisons or concentration camps or hung by the neck from a tree branch.”

                Stop threatening me.

              • I hope you said that in jest. I would never threaten. However, Germany and Japan both showed how a cultured people could commit atrocities. Lynchings, burnings and concentration camps are part of US history as well — as now is waterboarding. The risk I’m raising isn’t science fiction.

              • Well go ahead and do your bit. Educate people in Germany and Japan and perhaps even your own nation. As is stands you are taking up my time and energy, so get to work!

      • @Clarissa

        Good on you, you dont want people expressing ideas you dont agree with. Of course men and women arent different, lol. Hold on while I take my estrogen pills, that should help take the edge off.

        • I know you are smart enough to distinguish between an idea and a stupid truism that some brain-dead bits of fluff use to clutter my thread.

          I’m guessing that somebody linked to me at some stupid place for the brain-dead this morning and now they are bringing their intellectual limitations over here.

        • As for “agreeing with ideas”, I’m tired if reminding everybody that, as hard as scientists have tried, they have not been able to locate any differences between how people with and without vaginas act, think, emote , form opinions, resolve conflict, organize their existences, etc. There is a mountain of research and I’m tired if linking to it for the benefit of illiterates who are grasping onto idiotic binaries to help them feel less terrified of life.

      • Isn’t that illegal? If a white guy was beat up by black kids when he was in school and grew up to be a racist would you say the blame for his racism lies fully with him?

    • Back in 1999, I heard in class about this research that shows that women tend to speak more tentatively and apologetically in professional settings and fear what being aggressive would do to their image.

      I was incensed by the whole thing and ranted and raved against the sexism of the study and the people who thought it worthy of discussion. I considered the whole discussion to be so offensive as to rise to the level of hate speech, of which opinion I immediately informed the class and the professor.

      And now, 15 years later, it kills me to admit that the study reported an actual existing phenomenon. I’m ready to jump on the tiniest bit of proof that this phenomenon is all in my head and comes from my prejudice. If anybody can give that minuscule bit of proof, I really need it.

      • \\ More specifically, it’s this belief that so many women have, at least in this culture, that any criticism of them is an assault on their very being, on their core self.

        I too may feel this way, if the criticism is just and about something I value. To clarify, I don’t blame the person criticizing me, but myself. And wouldn’t start weeping in front of people either.

        I am not sure it’s a gender issue. If one thinks X is important and then fails at it, then one falls short of own expectations and ideals. It can’t be easy for men either.

        \\ Back in 1999, I heard in class about this research that shows that women tend to speak more tentatively and apologetically in professional settings

        Imagine feeling tentative about any claims one does in one’s research and being afraid to express thoughts, unsupported by others …

        • “Imagine feeling tentative about any claims one does in one’s research and being afraid to express thoughts, unsupported by others …”

          – No, can you imagine me feeling tentative about anything? :-)

      • - No, can you imagine me feeling tentative about anything? (Clarissa)

        Oh yeah, you have shared enough history to easily see you being in that position before. Maybe not now, but……….

        • “Oh yeah, you have shared enough history to easily see you being in that position before. Maybe not now, but”

          – Either I’m a bad writer or you are a bad reader. I’m tending towards the latter.

      • Racism and sexism are fundamentally the same thing. It’s discriminating against someone for their genetics which they have no control over. It’s an analogy. If it’s not a good excuse for racism it’s not a good excuse for sexism, either.

        • “Racism and sexism are fundamentally the same thing. It’s discriminating against someone for their genetics which they have no control over. ”

          – Again, I agree completely. But the thread is already enormous and I fear that if we go into a discussion of racism right here, the thread will become too confusing. But you and I seem in complete agreement over everything here.

  8. “Maybe as a manager, you should just give direct feedback to everyone instead of bending over backwards to accommodate people who need their hand held? If you hear gossip, nip it at the bud? Maybe the current female employees you have know that they can get extra sympathy from you and a willing ear when they dish out dirt?”

    This. You’re their boss. You set the DNA of your organization. And people look at you as the kind of person who would indulge in gossip and drama-fests. I know people who are inveterate gossips who’d never even dare to do this in their workplace, let alone to their boss. Something’s off here.

    • So I need to create an environment where employees do not ‘dare’ do anything? The solution is to scare the shit out of everyone? Sounds more toxic than what I had described.

      • It really does look like you have a problem accepting criticism and you react in a very Eastern European way, blowing a raspberry and completely misinterpreting good advice. Stringer suggested a simple adjustment – just keep your distance to the the employees. I have a boss who is a woman and I wouldn’t dare to bring up any gossip in her presence, however I can talk and joke with her about neutral themes. We are a team of some 30 people, men and women, and there isn’t just any gossip or tears at work.

      • “It really does look like you have a problem accepting criticism and you react in a very Eastern European way, blowing a raspberry and completely misinterpreting good advice. Stringer suggested a simple adjustment – just keep your distance to the the employees. I have a boss who is a woman and I wouldn’t dare to bring up any gossip in her presence, however I can talk and joke with her about neutral themes. We are a team of some 30 people, men and women, and there isn’t just any gossip or tears at work.”

        Umm can you please not project your issues onto me? I recommend you find a more effective way of blowing off steam. Now excuse me why I go answer commenters who had something valuable to contribute.

      • > you react in a very Eastern European way

        Nice ad hominem attack, what a low form of disagreement. Ignore the troll, folks.

      • I don’t think that Stringer Bell (or Lucinda below) are intentionally trolling. I think they have a valid point but poorly and flippantly argued. It is such a common bit of advice that It can come across as trite or obvious, but are you trying to be their boss or their friend?

        It is possible to be friendly with your employees but it is extremely rare to simultaneously have a BFF and professional relationship with the same person. The military has systemized this behaviour for centuries with its separation of officers from NCOs. While you are unlikely to order your employees into life-threatening situations, you do hold power over them. Both parties needs to respect that, even if they agree to be friends.

        “Never even dare” is probably hyperbole but it seems ludicrous to me that a level of decorum, focus and respect is optional in the workplace.

        Having written all this, I don’t exactly agree that this is the best way to conceptualize the issue that you are facing. From your blog post, it sounds like you are made extremely uncomfortable by crying, irrational behaviour (ie. didn’t thank me properly), and hurtful or unproductive gossiping; to the point that you go out of your way to soften these situations.

        I am not a manager and I have zero psychology background, so take this with a grain of salt, but by reducing the resistance that such behaviour would be generating if you were reacting more honestly (not harshly, just let them know that you are uncomfortable) you are only avoiding acknowledging the issue in the moment. Since the underlying and unspoken issue is still there, it is natural to subconsciously build up resentment for them not adapting to stimulus that you have actively suppressed which is unfair.

        If you really want them to behave more maturely and rationally, you have to communicate that and trust that they will want to do so. If they are care about your opinion, then they will at least try; if not, then maybe it is better for everyone when they end up heading for greener pastures.

  9. Huh- for the most part I have not had the same experience in working with women- either as peers or subordinates. In general, I find the females in my office generally more collegial than the males, but it could be that there are fewer of us in non-support capacities in my office so we band together a bit more. There is a little more checking in to make another is “ok” with a current process, assignment, change. The guys complain about office assignments, promotions, criticism for work product, but do it sub rosa. The females seem to talk to each other to get support, but it never goes any place.

    As a female, I have opted out of the gossip, talk about what went wrong, effusive involvement in others’ lives/problems and there have been no/few repercussions. But I made this clear from the get- go so while I might be seen as standoffish by some, mostly I am seen as professional and my gender does not enter into it.

    I wonder if the people coming to work for you somehow perceive that this is more a touchie/feelie workplace for some reason.

    • > you react in a very Eastern European way

      Nice ad hominem attack, what a low form of disagreement. Ignore the troll, folks.

  10. As an entrepreneur you have a higher than normal imperviousness to people’s opinion of you and lower than normal need for approval, period. As a female entrepreneur these traits are even more pronounced.

    Your problem is that you expect people to be more like you. You could screen for those same traits in your interviews but they might not be as good in every role in your company. Someone who is good at sales isn’t going to be good in a role where they’re in a room by themselves 90% of the time.

    The one concrete example you cite is that of a female receptionist. Receptionists perform a lot of emotional labor and their contribution is not easily quantifiable to the bottom line. When I did receptionist work the emotional labor was the most stressful part of the job for me –not filing and answering phones. In addition, receptionist jobs are not well paid jobs in general (I don’t anything about your company). It’s almost axiomatic that receptionist ads have “people pleaser” as part of their requirements, even if it’s not stated. Also the bar for “people pleasing” woman is higher than “people pleasing” man. I find that people expect “people pleasing” woman to be downright chirpy emotional mood brighteners. Expecting people pleasing people to subsist on infrequent indications they’ve pleased you is silly.

    You can’t do anything about anyone’s stated reasons for leaving when they’re leaving. As for gossip, you could try being less friendly when they come to share stories, but I’d just file them away in my head.

  11. “Agreed, which is why I have decided not to hire women altogether. Yet, I was not prejudiced at the onset, so would you say the blame lies fully with me?”

    Nobody’s talking about blame. In fact, that is not the most helpful way to think about this. It tells me that you just want to be validated for your choice to discriminate against women (and that being not your ‘fault’ would just be icing on the cake).

    Fuck where the blame lies, you have a real problem in your organization and you need to fix that. The culture of your company sounds toxic. As the leader, you don’t just get to assign blame and go home. You need to address this issue by going beyond this chicken-and-egg thinking. ‘What came first? My shitty prejudice or their shitty behavior?’ OMG who gives a shit? Just fix your company!!

    “Agreed, which is why I have decided not to hire women altogether.”

    Wow. Not hiring women may not be the best way to deal with prejudice against women.

    • She doesn’t want to be “validated”, whatever it even means. She wants to help me liven up the blog by writing something provocative.

      I understand the temptation to make this about a single small company. If only it were! About once a week for years I’ve been blogging about this endless stream of “we are perceiveds” and “somebody did not celebrate my every breath so I’m on the verge of collapseds” that dominate too much of what women write. I could provide miles of links but I’m at the dentist’s.

      So my suggestion is we avoid concentrating on the strictly individual and talk about the larger issue.

      • My larger question here is: what needs to happen for women to stop being so fixated on how they “are perceived” by somebody undefined? When will a dialogue with herself and real people she knows substitute the endless attempts to get approval from an imaginary reference group? Because this, I believe, is the real problem. It’s a search for cosmic approval that never materializes.

      • She doesn’t want to be “validated”, whatever it even means. She wants to help me liven up the blog by writing something provocative.

        That’s called “trolling.”

        Since the rest of is manage to work alongside women without meetings devolving into tears, presumably the problem isn’t with women but with “Entrpreneur” and her employees and her company.

        • “That’s called “trolling.””

          – So you are saying I’m trolling my own blog? OK, then. My blog, my rules. Feel free not to stick around.

      • But people are individuals and you can’t just generalize across an entire sex or race or anything because of your own personal experience with a few individuals. And if you want to change things than change the way children are treated. It’s not that hard to figure out. The obsession between separating the sexes starts before birth.

        • “But people are individuals and you can’t just generalize across an entire sex or race or anything because of your own personal experience with a few individuals. And if you want to change things than change the way children are treated. It’s not that hard to figure out. The obsession between separating the sexes starts before birth.”

          – I agree completely.

    • Why do the angriest responses seem to contain the least amount of actual content? Do you have anything constructive to say to the author, or are you merely satisfied by proclaiming “prejudice” and “toxic work culture” and moving on? If you could address a specific example in the piece and how the author should have handled it differently, I would love to hear your opinion.

      It’s very easy to feel satisfied with yourself by calling others names, but generally, when you revert to anger or personal attacks, it’s usually an indication that your position is weak or that you are conflicted yourself.

      • A lot of the biggest things holding different groups back that have historically been discriminated against (not just women), are the subject of much inter-group conflict and drama. Most people in general (not just women) react emotionally rather than rationally, so if a woman reading this ‘fits’ the stereotype she is describing too well, it is going to upset her. But often stereotypes are just over-dramatized observed statistics that are present either in the past or present or in different subgroups. So there is some information in stereotypes even if wise people don’t feed the trolls (so to speak). It is however an open secret that the trick to any good demagoguery is to hit on the negative stereotype (and economic or social strategy) that some small group of people employ, which upsets the mainstream.

        An example of this would be prostitution, are most women prostitutes – no? But some are. So calling a mainstream woman a prostitute would upset her and probably get you slapped, but that does not mean that prostitution doesn’t exist. It also does not mean that a man who focuses too much on this small subgroup of women to the exclusion of other changes in the economy is likely to do well in the marriage market, something which would hurt his socioeconomic status in 10 years assuming he isn’t independently wealthy. One of the best strategies for middle class wealth these days is having two incomes. It is probably what drove much of the inflation in the housing market.

        Anyway, few people seem to have a foundation in logic. It’s a systemic problem. So emotion is likely the language we’re stuck with and if someone doesn’t understand the problem we’re just going to backtrack to 4th grade level attacks: ‘you’re such a doo doo head,’ etc. One of my high school teachers gave us a list of Shakespearean put downs, maybe if we are going to do more personal attacks we should all learn to do it with more style: “Do you bite your thumb at me? No sir but I do bite my thumb!” I believe that exchange led to a sword fight at some point from my memory of Romeo and Juliet. They weren’t exactly rational then either.

  12. no it’s not taught or learned.
    this is how women – speaking in general, specific cases can be outliers – operate.
    we women really need to be accepted.
    men, as the tough fighting sx can insist on being accepted, and enforce it.
    women can’t, so they operate this way.

    this is all logical normal and natural.
    so what.
    it’s not going to go away.

    it might be tiresome in business, yes.
    men are the hunter sx.
    they are the focused sx.
    women are wide-angle.
    women are sensitive and nuanced, so their babies can bond with them, and develop well.

    none of that is so terrible.
    many men like to have women as their employees, because they obey and listen better than a man would, and don’t get competitive with them, the way a man would.

    however, a woman exec, such as this writer, would not get respect from fellow women. The female employee would see the female boss as equal to herself in rank, not as a boss. Not completely. Not really.

    a woman does not respect another woman, she only hates or adores her.
    if she respects her without fearing or adoring her, she is at risk of looking down on her.

    so, for a woman boss, a male employee might be better.
    he will obey her, because he understands chain of command.
    under chain of command, a man obeys a man he may not like, if that man is useful for now.
    it’s just the rules.

    but women don’t do chain of command just because it is chain of command.
    they certainly do listen to male bosses, but, not because of chain of command, but because of a marital, protector, psychological dynamic they are feeling in their minds.
    a woman will only listen to a male boss if she unconsciously perceives him as valid husband material, evaluating him just in general, even though she already has a real husband and doesn’t need another one or a new one.
    a woman will not listen to a male boss who does not flirt with her at least a tiny bit, at least when he is hiring her.

    That is the nature of his authority over her.

    neither men nor women are “better” or “superior”, they are just different.
    both are valid, valuable and necessary.
    but they are good at different things.
    so what, big deal. that’s not terrible.

    I am a woman and I spent thirty years in offices.

    Anonymous, you didn’t dominate “your” women. So they walked all over you. You needed to scare them and also to wear badges of power such as big expensive scarves and bags and name brand sunglasses.

    the men listen to you because they are building their skill sets and resumes
    they don’t even see you

    the women see you, and you didn’t earn your psychological stripes to rule over them.

    it hurts a woman’s heart to obey another woman who has not earned that role by having more expensive sunglasses, and other fashion social badges that she understands.
    no wonder she left in tears.

    if all you had on her was a degree or brains, which is indeed all you had on her, then that just rubs her face in her own lacks, which hurts.
    but – being richer or prettier, that she can accept.
    and even then she will hate you

    but at least she will obey, sort of.

    yes, you might do better to hire men
    but they will hate you too
    business is business

    if you want love, you will have to organize that in your private life, at home.
    pay attention to your husband and children.
    that’s all you are really getting, happiness-wise.

      • I have no sense of humor – I had no idea this was parody.
        And so to respond: I am not looking for love or obedience & neither do I care how I am perceived. I am not looking for validation.

        Rather, I am searching for a deeper understanding of why women require so much emotion-management & what can be done about it. Only one of my employees is in a receptionist role, the rest are in sales. Doesn’t make a difference.

        If you think that my company is toxic, I disagree and we can argue about it but the bigger issues still remain. Women are more difficult to manage (at least to other women).

        • Just 2 seconds ago, I opened the blog roll and found the following thing that the female readers of the blog where it was posted are celebrating with delight: “You’re considered superficial and silly if you are interested in fashion…

          but I think you can be substantial and still be interested in frivolity.”

          The same old thing, “you are considered”. And it’s I’ve article after another, one discussion after another. “You are considered”, by whom is never specified, cue outrage.

          Why, why, why is this such a big issue for so many women??? And if it’s such a fun game, why aren’t men playing with the same enthusiasm?

      • // The same old thing, “you are considered”. And it’s I’ve article after another, one discussion after another. “You are considered”, by whom is never specified, cue outrage.
        Why, why, why is this such a big issue for so many women???

        I think girls may hear more than boys from their parents “do you want people to think X about you?” For instance, if wearing “wrong” clothes. Or, hear statements like “if you do X, I will never look at you the same again” – hearing such from one’s relatives is emotionally threatening.

        Or, here I may be wrong, but some young women have led very sheltered, over-protected lives till relatively old age, and may be afraid of life in a way. Many parents may give young men more freedom even today.

      • Parody or not there are some truths in what Meema wrote. Men are hierarchical and tend to focus on the “end” part of the equation more than the “means”. We work with an often unspoken “bullshit to pay ratio” always in mind. This sometimes presents itself in the form of a comment like, “I don’t get paid enough for this crap”. Basically, if you have a low turnover amongst male employees the money you pay them is greater than the indignities you subject them to. (For the record, working for someone else is in and of itself a minor indignity, and the severity goes up from there.) As long as you have good pay and don’t treat them like serfs, men will pretty much operate within their hierarchical position without a lot of oversight.

        • “Men are hierarchical and tend to focus on the “end” part of the equation more than the “means”. We work with an often unspoken “bullshit to pay ratio” always in mind.”

          – Look, I don’t need more than one idiot clown in this thread. If you have nothing but this kind of illiterate crap to contribute, then just leave.

      • Perhaps you could educate where I went wrong? The ad hominem argument doesn’t really accomplish that.

        If we are going to help answer her question or give advice we need to find what is working for her and what is not. This is the base line. Perhaps a bit of gender equality would be a good thing for her to try out? She said that she is getting less problems from her male employees, because they are not coming to her with gossip or needing her to spend half an hour building them up before proposing any sort of corrective action. These are things I took from the article, not something I have projected into it. Perhaps treat both genders as equals? Do not listen to the complaining, do not answer whether or not she still likes them, not coddling her employees before telling them what she wants. Give them directions and let those that cannot hack sink, and those that can swim, regardless of gender.

        Entrepreneur, if this idiot clown comment makes it through moderation, hopefully this will give you some food for thought. If it doesn’t, best of luck anyways.

    • Wow. This is quite an amazing, almost poetic depiction of gender essentialism. It makes it much easier to understand. I’m known, for a little while now, that it was taking over our world.

      • “Wow. This is quite an amazing, almost poetic depiction of gender essentialism. It makes it much easier to understand. I’m known, for a little while now, that it was taking over our world.”

        – Yes, that’s why I was so sure it was a parody. It even reminded me of the parodies of gender essentialism you sometimes post, although yours a better written. But you don’t have the same degree of conviction in yours. :-)

        • I have no idea where I am going with mine. Everything degenerates into comedy, although at some level I mean what I am saying (my sense that things are off-balance) seriously.

          • Wouldn’t it be quite relaxing if for a moment, just a moment, one could have this complete clarity about how the gender binary rules absolutely everything that Meema has?

            • I think it is relaxing to see Meema as probably religiously indoctrinated. But then again, like Plato’s pure forms, she seems to be pointing to something that has permeated a lot of minds. Perhaps a lot of people are at least partly religiously indoctrinated. So, to see the pure form of the gender binary can be relaxing. Also it gives us an understanding of what we need to work to change.

              • “But then again, like Plato’s pure forms, she seems to be pointing to something that has permeated a lot of minds. Perhaps a lot of people are at least partly religiously indoctrinated.”

                – Absolutely. Crowds of people spend their entire days swapping these vaguely evo psych banalities because this gives them the illusion that they understand how the world works. Evo psych is the new opium for the masses.

              • Heh. But actually I was writing from the point of view of extreme cultural alienation. I am even as I write this also writing back and forth to a guy where we discuss my traditional culture as being quite significantly of the SPARTAN model and in psychological terms extremely oriented toward the male and masculinity. So I cannot understand a great deal of where the lines of normality are supposed to lie.

    • True comment. I have had no real issues with the men I have worked with, women however are all drama. Women take everything personally, do not separate work and personal life, and make work unbearable. For a man work is just that, work. It is not a party,social event, or fashion show. Work is how you earn money to enjoy your real life when you are not working. I read women’s magazines while in line at the grocery store and they have silly articles with foolish titles like” how to love your job” , ” learn to gain spiritual fulfillment from your job”, and ” best power suit to command attention in meetings” .women seem to misunderstand why you go to college, get a professional degree and take certification exams, to produce and earn not find spiritual fulfillment. Save that spiritual bullshit for yoga on your own time, work is time to get shit done. Find love on your free time, it’s called work not love. Fuck your power suit, command attention by getting shit done correctly the first time.

      I was working on a project once and got into a heated argument with a male coworker about the best way to deal with our large work load. Long story short he was right I was wrong. I admitted he was correct and we proceeded as he directed. Later on I was talking to a female coworker and she said I should have not given in on my point in the argument even though I was wrong, when I told her that was counterproductive she said that losing the argument and admitting you were incorrect was worse than doing the job wrong. Unbelievable.

      • If a man working for me ever said something so stupid I would start looking for an excuse to fire him.

    • OK OK good troll piece. There is a lot of good psychology in there. People are programmed by society so a lot of women do piss on their turf by buying expensive clothes and accessories (for themselves) and a lot of higher socioeconomic women are EXTREMELY entitled (much like rich men) but are often frustrated as many of them are not as clever as they think they are and not as good at picking out the most sought after educations as a lot of women buy the bullshit that it is the grades that matter more than the subject matter. And of course if there is massive competition for the few good jobs that people are oversupplying the same skillset for, it makes everyone who used the same employment tactics – that everyone else is using – insecure.

      The education advertising behemoth in the US over-hypes certain skills over others so newer groups to the academic game end up trying to compete in the same arena when a lot of guys who are left to figure out themselves tend to get better jobs by studying something other people find unpleasant or difficult; as they are told they need to care less in general about self fulfillment, which is better job advice. They are then more likely to go into better compensated fields that are less fun. Of course there are geeks that can be anyone, who just study hard obscure things other people avoid or can’t figure out because they actually like them, but I suspect that’s a small percentage of the population. Most people do not live for work.

  13. That was not a parody. It was meant literally.

    Some of it is over-general and doesn’t apply literally to every single case, every minute, of every day. It is a general sketch of some realities.

    It was a general picture of human social dynamics that can be of use, if it understood to be general.

    Anybody who thinks people don’t respond to packaging, visual symbols, and animal gender feelings is being silly. Of course they do.

    I am NOT saying that’s bad. It’s life. It can be worked with.

    The posts above are very valid and useful in many ways. My post wasn’t meant to over-ride or contradict them, just to add to them.

    The points about Anonymous learning to hire better, and to weed out certain types who are naturally attracted to her field, are valid.

    But what I said is still true and useful. If taken in general. Please do not tell me your aunt is a flaming exception. I know she is. I was speaking in general. What is general is not FALSE it is just general.

    Your mileage may vary, and probably will, but a car is still a car.

      • Gender is not a social construct. If it was, there would be plenty of examples of cultures with completely different gender roles and countries with most gender equality would have different ratios of males/females in occupations. Physiological differences don’t somehow magically exclude the brain, it’s part of our evolution.

        This doesn’t mean that what Meema says has to be true on an individual level. There’s a great deal of variation between people and when we look at individuals there are plenty of women who are able to lead, compete and focus better than most men. Our brains are big enough for us to think logically and not just follow our emotions. But if the physiological factors are not recognized and their impact thought through then they’re going to play a role much like Meema suggests.

        • “If it was, there would be plenty of examples of cultures with completely different gender roles”

          – And there are tons of such examples. Such as, for instance, my own culture. What is this, an influx of illiterates?

          “Physiological differences don’t somehow magically exclude the brain, it’s part of our evolution.”

          – If you are older than the age of 11, you should be ashamed of writing this badly. I’m embarrassed for you.

      • “If it was, there would be plenty of examples of cultures with completely different gender roles”

        You mention your own culture as an example, I’m assuming that’s Ukraine? Where women control about 9% of seats in parliament, women earn one-third less than men, jobs routinely specify age and gender requirements even though it’s prohibited by your Equality Law and loan-giving institutions are reluctant to give loans to women. Women also control 26% of small, 15% of medium and 14% of large businesses. 70% of unemployed were women in 2005. Work life conditions include ‘poor salaries in _traditionally female occupations_ which is part of the wage gap. How exactly is this different from other cultures exactly? So far I’m not seeing it. [1]

        Additionally males are more dominant in following industries: agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, manufacturing, utilities, construction, transport, storage, communications while females are more dominant in restaurants, hotels, education, health, social work, community and personal services. Not exactly what I call a culture with completely different gender roles by a long shot. [2]

        [1] Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World, Volume 1, page 1485
        edited by Mary Zeiss Stange, Carol K. Oyster, Jane E. Sloan

        [2]http://www.uva-aias.net/uploaded_files/publications/WP94-Klaveren,Tijdens,Hughie-Williams,Ramos-Ukraine.pdf

        “If you are older than the age of 11, you should be ashamed of writing this badly. I’m embarrassed for you.”

        While frankly I don’t see a problem with the sentence like you English isn’t my 1st or even my 2nd language. But I like that you decided to attack a sentence and not address my actual points.

        • You have decided to argue with me about my culture on the basis of some crap you found online? You are funny. But not in a good way. More like in a very pathetic way.

      • I am in medical school , to post this I had to give you my email and you can contact me and I will give you my real name and irrefutable proof that I am currently studying for Step 1 of the USMLE. Men and women have different brains , different methods of processing information, different hormones, and are biologically programmed to behave in different ways. There is no discussion about this from the neurology professors or PhD candidates in my school. Women have smaller brains ( due to cranial size) , smaller bones, less skeletal and cardiac muscle, different hormone concentrations and biochemical pathways, and more adipose tissue. The differences between the sexes are not a social construct , they are just reality.

        • “I am in medical school , to post this I had to give you my email and you can contact me and I will give you my real name and irrefutable proof that I am currently studying for Step 1 of the USMLE. Men and women have different brains , different methods of processing information, different hormones, and are biologically programmed to behave in different ways. ”

          – You are an idiot and an embarrassment to your school. Ban.

      • “You have decided to argue with me about my culture on the basis of some crap you found online? You are funny. But not in a good way. More like in a very pathetic way.”

        You’re free to refute anything I’ve said, but you didn’t provide any evidence for your claim and it’s starting to seem like you’re not interested in discussion and maybe have seemed a bit hostile in your responses. The papers I linked are university level studies and as far as I can tell don’t show notable bias.

        Then again, for the original point you only need to google “sex differences in human psychology” to research it for yourself but of course you will gloss over that like you skipped through everything else I said. But fortunately it’s not me you need to worry about but the people who read our interactions.

        • “it’s starting to seem like you’re not interested in discussion”

          – I’m glad you’ve finally started to clock on to the painfully obvious.

          “Then again, for the original point you only need to google “sex differences in human psychology” to research it”

          – Child, I’m a scholar. And as such I know that research is not done on Google. Please run along and don’t distract adults from their serious pursuits with your childish suggestions.

          “But fortunately it’s not me you need to worry about but the people who read our interactions.”

          – I will figure out what to worry about without you, kiddo.

      • “- Child, I’m a scholar. And as such I know that research is not done on Google. Please run along and don’t distract adults from their serious pursuits with your childish suggestions.”

        I guess you’ve never heard of Google Scholar which includes most peer-reviewed online journals of Europe and America’s largest publishers.

        http://scholar.google.fi/scholar?q=sex+differences+in+human+psychology&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=T2l3U7XYHLOL4gTg_4DwDA&ved=0CCgQgQMwAA

        • And it also includes tons of crap by cheap hacks. Haven’t you had enough of embarrassing yourself? Read the links I provided, get informed, and grow up already.

    • About hunter men and sensitive bonding women, have you tried traveling? I highly recommend. Different societies impose different roles. In my society, which is hundreds of millions of people, the gender roles are the exact opposite from what you describe. To me, “a sensitive woman” is an oxymoron. Because of my culture.

      • It may be that things were different when you left but I wouldn’t call “a sensitive woman” an oxymoron in the Ukrainian culture as it is today. Living in Ukraine and being employed in an academic institution I have worked with a number of women who were sensitive in pretty much exactly the way that Entrepreneur describes. Mind you, not all of them were like that, probably not even the majority, but those women were certainly there. For what it’s worth, most of them were employed in clerical positions (where they would predominantly work with, and under, other women) rather than in teaching or research positions (which have a more equal gender ratio).

        Perhaps there’s also a regional variation to this (i.e., East vs. centre vs. the West of the country).

        • ” Living in Ukraine and being employed in an academic institution I have worked with a number of women who were sensitive in pretty much exactly the way that Entrepreneur describes.”

          – My culture is extremely closed to foreigners. Ukrainians were faking, showing you what you wanted to see and, in all probability, laughing behind your back at you. I’m not saying it’s good, it’s just what it is.

      • >My culture is extremely closed to foreigners.

        Пані хибно зрозуміла контекст, у якому я написав свій пост. I am Ukrainian, as well as a native speaker of both Ukrainian and Russian who was raised in a multilingual household (in Ukraine).

        >Ukrainians were faking, showing you what you wanted to see and, in all probability, laughing behind your back at you.

        Mind you, we are talking about some Ukrainian women acting in a hypersensitive way at work (i.e., contradicting your claim that there are no sensitive Ukrainian women). Why do you think they would fake this type of behaviour before foreigners? I can also reassure you that they didn’t single out me to put on an act or anything like that. I know for fact the women in question acted the same with their other peers, not just me. I can also attest to women who were stoic remaining so in the company of their foreign colleagues.

        If you don’t mind me asking, what oblast are you from? I really suspect this is either a matter of regional differences (less likely) or the expectation that women must act this way having spread over here (more likely) — or both.

        • I see you are passionately attached to the idea of ultra-sensitive women. May I ask why it is so crucial to you to believe this silly myth?

        • By the way, “Ukrainian”, can you tell me what the Ukrainian and Russian for “a sensitive person ” even is? Right you are, there is no equivalent. You can do a calque, but we all know what it will be worth. So how dare you disrespect me and my culture by projecting your silly Anglo prejudices on us?

      • I’m claiming that Entrepreneur’s post applies to (some women in) Ukraine and that’s about it. Not sure where you saw me being “passionately attached to the myth of ultra-sensitive women” unless you count the above as that.

      • >So how dare you disrespect me and my culture by projecting your silly Anglo prejudices on us?
        What? Again, I am Ukrainain, “born and raised” as they say in your now-homeland. Whatever prejudices I have are Ukrainian as well and based on your about page I have spent a total of more years in Ukraine than you have. If you somehow decide to disbelieve me on that there is not much I can do. As for the matter of words: відсутність відповідного слова в українській та російській нічого не доводить. Цей шаблон поведінки міг дійти до нас із Заходу швидше, ніж відповідне слово. Так уже не один раз траплялося з культурними запозиченнями.

        Admittedly, I was surprised you assumed (and perhaps continue to assume?) I was a clueless foreigner rather than a native who disagreed with your misrepresentation of my culture as it stands now. (I failed to explicitly state I was Ukrainian but that’s because I thought this much was implied.)

        • So no word for “sensitive.” Cool. Now one last question, for how many years have the “sensitive Ukrainian women” been the primary breadwinners in the absolute majority of families? I want the exact number.

          By the way, if you did in fact have anything to do with Ukraine, you’d be participating in the numerous threads on the invasion of our country by Russian fascists that I have on this blog. This would matter more to you than these silly and ridiculous Anglo issues about the dearth of true American princesses. In Ukraine we don’t have this problem, never had it, and never will. But we have other, more pressing concerns.

      • >for how many years have the “sensitive Ukrainian women” been the primary breadwinners in the absolute majority of families? I want the exact number.

        Unsurprisingly, I don’t know the exact number but I’m aware of the fact and it certainly reflects that I see in real life with my friends’ and relatives’ families. If you go back to my first post you’ll notice that I claimed mere existence, not universality, of sensitivity in Ukrainian women. In particular, I didn’t claim that, on average, women in Ukraine didn’t work hard. You, however, seem to have misread the intention of my comments from the very beginning as maliciously trying to say something negative about all Ukrainian women. Instead, what I was responding to was what I saw as unjustified exoticization of my culture as oh-so-different-and-tough by someone who may have lost touch with it.

        >By the way, if you did in fact have anything to do with Ukraine, you’d be participating in the numerous threads on the invasion of our country by Russian fascists that I have on this blog.

        I discovered your blog through a direct link to this post. If the fact I’ve written to you in Ukrainian, a language that isn’t exactly popular abroad, doesn’t convince you I assume nothing will. I have my thoughts on the Russian invasion of my homeland (and more importantly, the vaguely accepting reaction it got in the Luhansk on Donetsk oblasts) but given your uncharitable interpretation of what I’ve posted so far I’m reluctant to participate further.

        P.S.: I just reread your posts and realized that you must think I am Canadian Ukrainian. Well, that’s not true and hope you can tell from my writing style in Ukrainian that I’m not from the діяспора (see how I spelt it?).

        • Google Translate розмовляє усіма мовами. Мене цим не вразиш. Але людина, яка не баче різніці між українками, у яких принаймні 5 генерацій жінок праціють, і американками, у яких ніхто з жінок ще не працював, не здається мені дуже цікавою. Я українка і громадянка Канади, а зараз знаходжусь у штаті Іллінойс. Мені настільки легше ніж американкам балакати, працювати, заробляти гроші, досягати, що тут нема про що розмовляти.

      • >Я українка і громадянка Канади, а зараз знаходжусь у штаті Іллінойс.

        “Знаходитись” у значенні “десь бути” — це русизм. Тут треба написати “перебуваю” :-)

        http://slovopedia.org.ua/30/53399/25871.html

    • She is correct in that the average person is unlikely to overcome their bias. If women are taught to be less professional and fall back into dependency status if things don’t work out, then the average person in this group will act this way. However right now I think only overly coddled women are like this. IE its a social class problem (but just what kind of entitled personalities do you think are attracted to the uncertainties of a startup? where they don’t have to work for money but can work for stock or don’t care if their job is there in a few years?) Many ordinary (drawn from a standard us population) young women are a lot like young men, in that we know we need to have a job and figure out how to keep it. Also women who feel they can make more money in the marriage market might just be doing education to meet men of the same socioeconomic background as their parents much like they did 50 years ago. A lot depends on the economic strategy different women are pursuing. We are entering an era of fairly large inequalities. In the new gilded age,maybe being pretty and pouty is a better economic strategy than working for a living? Just less men have figured out that they can also enter the trophy market.

      • “We are entering an era of fairly large inequalities. In the new gilded age,maybe being pretty and pouty is a better economic strategy than working for a living? ”

        – “Inequalities” are a fashionable term but, in and of itself, they mean nothing. What matters is the basic level of well-being enjoyed by the majority. In developed countries, it’s extremely high. It is so high as to make the “inequalities” incapable of influencing how people act.

      • ‘- “Inequalities” are a fashionable term but, in and of itself, they mean nothing. What matters is the basic level of well-being enjoyed by the majority. In developed countries, it’s extremely high. It is so high as to make the “inequalities” incapable of influencing how people act.’

        Yes and no. I think you are underestimating the sheer competition the most recent cohort of graduates face. And the even greater competition that will be faced by kids still in elementary school and high school as the labor force increasingly draws from all corners of the globe where education is often subsidized. Internationally we are experiencing the effects of a baby boom and developed countries are only now beginning to react to the massive changes and growth happening in other parts of the world. A lot of traditional industries that employed many people today still and in the past are dying, and new fields employ small numbers of people and are pretty bubbly. I’m not sure what the world will be like in 5-10 years but it will be different, that’s for sure. We SHOULD be in a great depression like scenario, but as a rich country we are paying off the speculators and bailing out the banks rather than let them crash and reset. This creates real inflation as there is more money going out into the system even if most people’s paychecks are stagnant, and while it might not be all felt now, it will certainly be felt in the future barring other changes in how we distribute income. I am not talking about trendy academic concepts, this is just pretty simple math. If you print a lot of money and then distribute it more to the rich and well connected than anyone else, at the same time as you raise the costs for essentials such as schooling, YOU WILL have more inequality and more interest in social class differentiation and signaling.

        • Americans have no need to fear competition in white- collar jobs because the US higher ed is light-years ahead of everybody else on the planet, even Canada. And even the blue-collar job market is booming in the US as evidenced by the dramatic drop in college enrollments starting this year. Qualified candidates are fought for by companies and job recruiters are refashioning their strategies because the current trend is to please the non-paying candidates and not the paying clients (employers).

          The future will be different in that growing numbers of people will choose not to work at all and live on social welfare. In the US this will take longer than in Western Europe. I’d say 30 years at least. But I do not see it leading to any massive discontent. As long as people have their TVs, smartphones and ACs, they will be content.

        • The money for the bailouts was not printed. It was borrowed. Hence, the soaring foreign debt. But that debt is being paid down very fast, so I wouldn’t worry about it. I also don’t see the need to worry about inflation since the US is committed to going to absolutely any length to avoid it. The recession was harsh but the US and Canada withstood it shockingly well. Gosh, even Spain with its 29% unemployment is very calm and peaceful. There is no reason to feel apocalyptic.

      • While I think inequalities are definitely going to influence how people act in developed countries (at least people who are paying attention), I get your point and agree that many parts of the world are much more precarious. Developing countries have even more extremes between rich and poor. But middle classes in poor countries often have a lot of subsidies that the middle classes in developed countries don’t get (if for no other reason than to bribe their citizens into complacency). So you have a weird inter-play between international social classes as well as between different social classes in the same countries. The opportunities for students from poor countries are booming, but the costs for more marginal students in rich countries are pretty high at the same time as the schools they can get into are more likely to lead to a stagnant job market with less chances of future growth (barring changes).

        So is it better to be broke, middle class, (but with a degree) in Brazil or broke and in debt (with the same degree) in the United States? Assuming you are just starting out and have no wealth behind you but can travel either legally or illicitly…. I guess the key question would be is the cost of employment higher for a college student from a rapidly developing country or from a developed country? As that would be what would create incentives for different types of behaviors. That would make an interesting study, a lot of people are still coming here though so the cost of a visa is still considered to be a reasonable cost of business (so far.) But you also have reverse immigration in some cases, where architects from Portugal are going to Brazil as the economy is stronger for their skill set.

        Also when you are talking business norms, you are pretty much talking about middle class norms no matter where they are coming from. People who are literally destitute, or refugees fleeing wars, have a much more difficult time obtaining suitable white collar employment.

        • Elizabeth: I like you, you are intelligent.

          “So is it better to be broke, middle class, (but with a degree) in Brazil or broke and in debt (with the same degree) in the United States?”

          – This depends on one’s priorities. If one looks solely for economic benefits (which middle-class people never do, that’s the definition of middle-class to look for more than just food and shelter), then the answer is the US. But a Brazilian has to relinquish the culture of fun, enjoyment, sexual freedom and inscribe him or herself into the very disciplinarian US culture. That normally doesn’t go very well for Brazilians.

          “That would make an interesting study, a lot of people are still coming here though so the cost of a visa is still considered to be a reasonable cost of business (so far.)”

          – The only legal immigration to the US is open for purchased brides and religious fanatics. You can’t pay for a visa. If you want to come as a tourist from my country, you have to invent a convincing story, or you don’t even get to visit. As for permanent immigration, there is no such option.

      • I don’t really feel particularly apocalyptic, just watching. I think at least some of the banks are likely to be shrunk or split up as they pissed off a few too many people and they are paying back money nominally (but not in inflated terms). However a lot of hedge funds and traders will make money off of this. But then again a lot of traders and hedge funds are also stupid and will end up losing at least some of that money since they aren’t as good at interpreting a chaotic situation but think they can. The best strategy is sometimes just to cash out while ahead and go to a tropical island. I think most of the changes are going to be on net positive. I just think the economic incentives are likely to be somewhat confused along the way. In the future I expect there to be less differences between the middle classes of rich and poor countries, which should improve growth worldwide and hopefully provide a more stable political environment when we get there. But we’re going to have to wade through politics first, which should keep things interesting for awhile.

        • ” I just think the economic incentives are likely to be somewhat confused along the way. In the future I expect there to be less differences between the middle classes of rich and poor countries, which should improve growth worldwide and hopefully provide a more stable political environment when we get there.”

          – For now, I can’t even imagine what a middle class of a poor country would look like. There is certainly no middle class in Ukraine. Almost none in Russia. And these are not even the poorest countries. But as you say, this remains to be seen.

      • Are American undergraduate degrees still considered better? I am just coming from the prospective of a math tutor, since I wasn’t impressed with the math abilities people had and non-science students definitely were steered towards a calculus class that I would have considered to be high school level and was not allowable for credit if you switched to a science or engineering degree. However I don’t know what other school systems are like. I know American graduate degrees we are still pretty competitive, but was more concerned about earlier on in the pipeline. It would be nice to see our colleges pay more attention to giving students serious courses in subjects that they might not be majoring in. And math 108 at my university was not a very serious course. I heard it described as calculus for people who didn’t know algebra, which was also my experience as a tutor.

        • “Are American undergraduate degrees still considered better?”

          – American employees don’t hire anybody with non-American degrees at all. Even Americans with ultra-prestigious European degrees 9as one of this blog’s readers can attest).

          Of course, American high school graduates are doing very poorly and we need way to much remediation on the college level. But I don’t blame it on the schools as much as on the very American idea that parents need to invest no effort into actually raising their children.

      • The changes I am talking about are more likely to come further down the pipeline in kids who are yet to finish primary school but are already starting to come into the calculations of the more aware members of the millennial generation. Global finance is taking heed. Goldman Sachs has their hands all over the European Debt crisis starting in the early 2000s around the time of the Iraq War. Developing countries are in bubbles all over the world. But if you look at fertility rates that are much higher in other countries and technology that makes it possible to do the work from anywhere, then it is clear that the developed countries are no longer the only game in town. (Particularly with the rise of China and India). Just because people haven’t figured out how to make it convenient to shift work between localities yet doesn’t mean we won’t find it standard in 10 years. Robotics are going to be big too. Factories in the US are able to work with prison labor that *is* as cheap as developing countries.

        As for immigrants, whether people come here legally or illegally, or use a loophole, they still find a way to get here if they want to and there is demand for them in the economy. The business world might be happy letting undocumented immigrants stay in precarious positions in the economy between the lines but there is political pressure building up to allow a lot of these people to regularize their status and in the process knock out a key prop in the market for human trafficking. And people get married all the time between countries so yes it is a bit of a loophole if people don’t actually want to be married but as the demand is high for that kind of quick fix, people will do it anyway.Thanks for the compliment I was kind of skimming before and just saw it. :)

      • Many of the emerging consumer class of poor countries are cronies or at least closer to the power structure of the regime in poor countries (as development money is spread around a lot of different places in the world and it helps to be the first in line for a position). They are probably closer to what was the merchant class historically than what we would consider to be middle class of a developed country which is often a group of people who go by salary but often end up maxed up on credit and not saving enough for the future. So the type of people in middle classes internationally is much different than the composition locally. The up and coming “move with their feet” migrant class while not always here legally, are arbitragers by nature. They often work in high wage countries, pooling resources to live cheaper with other immigrants and sending money home to low cost countries. There is also a group of migrants that are more likely to bring their whole family that is becoming almost as (more?) prevalent than the group that sends money home. But the flow of money is not just staying in high cost countries. Retirees may move to low cost countries too as their retirement income goes further but not many have thought of this yet. Probably more will in the future. Particularly since they were primed over the last decade by the lower cost of health care in developing countries as many poor countries have at least one modern city.

  14. “I understand the temptation to make this about a single small company.”

    I’m really not sure the workplace environment as described in the blog post is a universal phenomenon. So I’m not going to assume that premise and start offering analysis on why women are so gossipy and hysterical and what we should do about it (fire them all!!).

    Look, any place where different people come together for work (or pleasure, or anything, really) will have friction. People’s perceptions, egos, personalities, backgrounds, etc. get it the way sometimes. In this case, the women seem to be the perennial problem. New women get hired, same problem. Brilliant women quit their jobs! With no plan! Can we at least entertain the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the culture of this company is hostile towards women?

    • No, we can’t entertain that possibility. I was at the company and I insist that no rational person could see the environment there as hostile to anybody. The owners jump through hoops to be as accommodating, open, welcoming and encouraging as humanly possible.

      I wouldn’t post the article if it were any other way.

      • “I was at the company ”

        Were you an employee at this company? How long did you work there?

      • There’s the problem then, the boss is seen as a soft touch and the employees are walking all over her.
        Entrepreneur: When someone comes in to your office to share gossip, listen to it without comment then ask after whatever they’re meant to be doing and then inform them that you’ll need it done sooner than previously planned for.

    • Besides, if we look at the text of the post, throwing a tantrum about your desk being placed on the wrong side if the office or berating the boss for not thanking you exuberantly enough are hardly reactions to a hostile workplace. In hostile workplaces, people get scared and creep about in terror.

    • Interestingly, the only person who took deep offense to my post is a man. This proves my point that feminism needs to change direction. Men are not the problem.

      • No. I’m a woman and I take offense. I haven’t posted because I’ve been trying think of what to say that isn’t just a stream of cuss words.
        This is very personal to me because I’ve been looking for a job recently and wondering why my applications are getting rejected. I try to keep myself going by assuming that I’m just one of many qualified applicants, that I need to rework my cover letter or maybe that I’ll have an easier time finding a job after I take a few more classes and develop some more in-demand skills. I try not to entertain the notion that the places I’m applying are refusing to look at my applications because I’m female, but here you are confirming all of my worse fears.
        What exactly am I supposed to say that you would listen to? People like you make things twice as hard for people like me and your “decision” is illegal if we live in the same country (though we both know you’re not likely to get caught). I don’t fit the profile of the women you describe, but I would have no way to prove it to you if my application was rejected in the first place because of my gender.
        I’m sure you know all of this, which means you’ve just decided it’s better to violate discrimination laws and to make sure that any woman who applies to your company is unknowingly wasting her time than to find alternative solutions to your problems.

        • “I’m sure you know all of this, which means you’ve just decided it’s better to violate discrimination laws and to make sure that any woman who applies to your company is unknowingly wasting her time than to find alternative solutions to your problems.”

          – The post is meant to be provocative and has a provocative title to attract attention. Nobody is about to break any laws. But i do hope we get to think about this very important issue of North American women being sabotaged in the workplace by the deeply ingrained socialization norms that hurt their chances for success. (And, of course, if I posted an article called “Socialization Hurts Women’s Success” I’d get maybe 2 comments.)

            • The stories are all true but nobody is about to fire anybody or refuse employment to anybody or discriminate. This is a way to start an interesting discussion. And it’s working! For myself, I’ve already figured something important about this issue that I will share in a later post. Together with a series of practical suggestions.

              I thought people were used by now to my style of blogging and to how I always aim to provoke and create a huge debate. Come on, folks, does anybody think I would condone anything illegal???

              • I have no idea. You seem to dislike restrictions on business owners. Anti-discrimination laws restrict decisions that business owners can make. You implied that this was all true and the original poster says that she only plans to hire men from now on. What am I supposed to conclude from that?

              • djiril: I have no idea. You seem to dislike restrictions on business owners. Anti-discrimination laws restrict decisions that business owners can make. You implied that this was all true and the original poster says that she only plans to hire men from now on. What am I supposed to conclude from that?

                I did not say that I would never hire women, but rather that at this point I did not *want* to and I explained why to have a discussion about it. In the sea of general outbursts, there have been some very interesting points and observations.

              • “You seem to dislike restrictions on business owners. Anti-discrimination laws restrict decisions that business owners can make.”

                – I’m completely in favor of anti-discrimination laws.

                But I want to discuss something beyond laws here. I believe that feminism has already won all of its most major battles in the legal field. Now we need to look past that. I believe that the greatest obstacle to women being even more successful today is gender socialization. More specifically, it’s this belief that so many women have, at least in this culture, that any criticism of them is an assault on their very being, on their core self. I want to understand where this comes from because I’m seeing it everywhere, constantly. And I want to understand what to do to diminish this issue.

      • Clarissa – you keep saying that you want to understand….
        you got a lot of answers – at least partwise directly addressing your ‘not understanding’ and try to inspire you.
        perhaps it’s time to contemplate about some of these posts. there are no more comments required. Just use and learn from what you got so far. if you do you, you’ll reach your goal (of wanting to understand). Blogging in itself won’t reach that goal for you.

        • Ok, once again, slowly: Clarissa doesn’t want to understand anything in this thread. Clarissa is not asking you to leave comments. Clarissa’s goals have not been stated in this thread.

      • I find the post to be interesting. I was a bit of a latchkey kid growing up, so in a lot of ways socialized more like a little boy than a little girl and honestly don’t understand make-up, purses, shoes, etc, as anything more significant than as occasional costume pieces when you want to get people to react in different ways. I probably have some mild autistic tendencies. Anyway, I find women in this country as alien as men. So the inter-gender sociology is interesting stuff as I don’t really fit in completely with either the girls or the guys and actually have a fairly balanced social group as I had to pick out all my friends individually rather than rely on group dynamics. Lately I have been working with another woman on self-employment type projects, but its because she is into the same types of things I am into, which is political-economy, information, statistics and math. She’s more into computers I’m more about data and patterns. Additionally the lady I am working with is Russian, so not socialized like an American (I am American), although I am friends with other American women and men but that is more of a generational thing as I relate best to Millennials but can understand the basic psychology of both Millennials and Gen X (older sister).

        So graduation from uni was funny. Certain haircolors (of women) were over-represented in different degree programs so it was pretty obvious whose cultural strategies implied an interest in being a second income (considering standard hair color sex signaling strategies IE who dyed their hair blonde vs who left their hair a natural color, the peer pressure of being in a many blonde academic subject, or conversely maybe blonde girls were more likely to self select into the social sciences than brunettes or international students?) I had to attend three graduations since I did two degrees and was in a co-ed business fraternity. For the record I’ve dyed my hair reddish-blonde, mostly because it is fun, so I don’t take the hair color statistics that seriously. I just found them to be interesting as it is one of the ways women flirt and show individuality. Bonus observation: my friend who worked at the world bank, noted that most of the women there were superficially attractive. IE it might not just be the secretary who is expected to follow gender beauty norms.

  15. This is interesting to me because it is so completely unlike anything I’ve experienced in my own female-dominated workplace that I can’t even begin to think of any productive comments.

    However, I do have a question for the original poster. Suppose I’m a female applicant for a job at your company, and I don’t do any of the things you’ve described in your post. What could I do at the application stage to demonstrate to you that I don’t do any of those things?

    • “This is interesting to me because it is so completely unlike anything I’ve experienced in my own female-dominated workplace that I can’t even begin to think of any productive comments.”

      Exactly. This is not a universal problem. Either you happen to be the unluckiest boss in the world when it comes to women employees, or there’s something you’re not seeing.

      • It is possible that candidates are self-sorting by industry. I have never seen this behaviour in my field (embedded software development) but my wife has numerous times – from both men and women – in hers (customer support call centre).

        • Oh absolutely I think there is definitely segregation and polarization of women by industry. I noticed distinct hair color signaling discrepancies between degree programs at my university (for women), between the science/tech/business tracks and social sciences, which means that the subcultures that dye their hair blonde for instance vs leave it the standard color of brunette or black, are pooling up in distinct college programs.

          Bonus, since the calculus course non-science students are being told to take (at least at my school) is around sophomore in high school level of difficulty, they wouldn’t even find it easy to switch degree programs since they would have to take calculus I to get into a science track. This is when they might already have business calculus, which makes it difficult to make a switch for a student conscious about the costs and time of a lost semester and blow to their ego (as it is a harder course).

    • “More specifically, it’s this belief that so many women have, at least in this culture, that any criticism of them is an assault on their very being, on their core self. I want to understand where this comes from because I’m seeing it everywhere, constantly. And I want to understand what to do to diminish this issue.” -The most crucial bit.

      • Probably linked to the difference between being and doing, and once again to the gender roles where women, being the ornamental sex, are identified with unchangeable BEING and men are considered creatures who DO. Being, of course, is not easy to alter, and especially if it is all one has one may be reluctant to try to change it, whereas, one can always change the ways one DOES something. So, traditionally-minded women get all upset about criticism and traditionally-minded men see it as instructive or helpful.

        • “So, traditionally-minded women get all upset about criticism”

          – It’s more than upset. It’s wounded at the core of their being, completely demolished, put at risk of complete extinction. We are talking about the women who have sent gender roles very easily to hell in every other aspect of their lives. But not in this one. The interesting question is why is this so persistent?

          • They don’t want to look within to the extent of doing any hard work on their own characters. So they embrace a silly notion that character structure is immutable. That enables them to continue to blame “the system” and various others for their failures.

      • It at least partially because we have to make compromises on stuff to get ahead but there are some things women are not supposed to compromise on (such as looks and helping people, often unpaid) that can hold them back professionally. Honestly, some coursework is not as easy to plan out and just needs to be plowed through. Some subjects can be a lot harder and they are more likely to muck up your perfect body and social life, which interferes with dating strategies for more women then men. However if guys can get away with having a snooze button on socializing to get the engineering degree we should allow more women to do the same if we want more female engineers. The groups that have the highest education level in the country also have the latest first marriage rates, so we are already doing this to some degree but it is not the norm.

        Also late marriages and career/life balances create fear in people who do want to have children, so there are some things that need to be worked out socially and biologically, although I think some of the paranoia about older parents is overblown. Another perfectly good solution to the problem of older mothers with professional degrees is for them to do the same things professional men do if they are worried about fertility and marry younger guys. I think probably about half the fertility problems older mothers face is because their husband are even older or they are unhealthy and stressed out.

        • Elizabeth, I like your comments. We need more engineers regardless of gender. However, if you want to expand access to the snooze button on socialization, you’re going to have to figure out how to reorient parents and peer groups. They’re the ones pressuring teen women to move in a certain direction.

          That said, the US is importing the bulk of engineers and statisticians from Asia as grad students or as H1B workers. It’s doing that at the same time that it is putting college and grad school out of reach financially for much of the population. With demographic shifts that are underway, the country will be very different in 30 years from what it is today.

          You mention issues with women having children later in life. There are really three issues there:

          (1) We don’t understand today the impact of environmental factors on reproduction. There is an effect, but no one wants to fund the necessary research to understand what’s going on. Certainly industry doesn’t, given the potential liability. Industry’s political allies in Congress have kept the government from funding the necessary work.
          Let’s face it, teens with cancer were never this common in the past. To think that someone who has 30 years of additional exposure would be unaffected is silly.

          (2) For most people, having children later in life means working until you die. The problems of financing later years of life has lead in this decade to a growth in both suicides and bankruptcies among Americans over age 50. Both CDC and AARP have published on this. (Under the current healthcare system in the US, seniors should expect to incur upwards of $225,000 in uninsured healthcare expenses, in addition to whatever they need to live when not working. That’s the CDC estimate.)

          (3) Most older parents lack the physical ability to do things with their children that younger parents can do. So the children lose out.

  16. I see these behaviors in myself. It’s a constant battle because I have pronounced insecurities which are worsened because I am directly talked down to and talked over by sexist employees. I work with many people from India, Russia, and Latin America who have no qualms with making openly sexist remarks.
    When I give a presentation, I get peppered with questions and cannot direct the flow of the meeting no matter how forcibly I try to. When my male colleague does the same, my superiors and colleagues sit with starry eyes and congratulate him and say “Yes, great job!”
    Yes, I shouldn’t need ‘great job’, but I want my work to be recognized as much as the work of my male colleague!

    In my experience women who ‘act like men’ are the most promising. The ones who are extremely boisterous, crude, and confident can take criticism, but they can also dish it. They can be scary because not everyone is used to women questioning them instead of being obedient.

  17. “Besides, if we look at the text of the post, throwing a tantrum about your desk being placed on the wrong side if the office or berating the boss for not thanking you exuberantly enough are hardly reactions to a hostile workplace. In hostile workplaces, people get scared and creep about in terror. ”

    Haha, come on! You live in US, where people bring guns and kill their bosses and colleagues. It’s such a common phenomenon that we even have a term for it: Going Postal. So, to say that people have just one kind of reaction to hostile workplaces is obviously incorrect.

  18. Behavioral biology is a valid field. It explores how animals behave and why. I assume you are kidding when you say that animals do not exhibit gender-driven behavior. People aren’t animals, but we are indeed walking around in mammalian biological armatures and that doesn’t not matter. We do indeed respond at an animal level but that is not the same thing as being merely an animal.

    I am NOT putting anybody down.

    Of course people are moral beings, while still sweating on a hot day, and dilating their pupils in the presence of someone sxlly attractive. People are not prisoners of their animal natures but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them.

    I don’t consider any of this news, or bad in any way.

    Fine, so you made a bad hire, and hired an idiot receptionist. Hiring well is an art. Try to do better next time.

    But the original post was about a very general sense that gender handling wasn’t working out well AT ALL for the poster, a candid, frank, and useful observation, if perhaps painful.

    So I put in my perspective on that. Hey, you said it first. I just filled in some details.

    This does not mean women are not good people. All people are good but they aren’t going to play the same role in every situation.

    Healthy people rejoice in their special skills and contributions and experiences. They don’t fight who they are. They perfect who they are.

  19. Well, my wife(The boss) would concur immediately. Though it didnt take her owning a business to find it out. She remembers having this fully presented to her in highschool about 30 odd years ago. ;)
    Thanks for the refreshingly honest post. Good luck in your future dealings. :)
    It strikes me as you must be related to Clarissa with that kind of honesty. :P

    • Please say hello to your wife the boss from a fellow boss. :) Albeit I do prefer the word ‘leader’.
      What did your wife do to deal with this issue? Did she adjust her management style? Did she focus on hiring more men? Would love some wisdom and experience sharing.

      • As she grew as a ‘leader’ she learned she had to adapt her style for the female employees. I always tease her and say why cant she be so gentle and engaged with moi!

  20. Clarissa
    Entrepreneur: how do you work with male employees? Do they challenge your authority?

    In general, they don’t! And if they ever do, we have a quick, prompt and candid discussion about it. Any behavior is easy to address and modify with my male employees. And multiple explanatory follow meetings are not required! Such bliss.

  21. For what it’s worth, I’ve spent more than 25 years teaching at all levels (first year-phd) and in a variety of places from community colleges to ivy league, and I have always found girls more difficult to deal with than boys because the former tend to react emotionally and cry at the drop of a hat (or rather grade, or critical observation). I have always considered myself a feminist, but I have to admit this has been my experience at every level. As to why this should be, presumably it has less to do with genetics than culture. Boys are taught to suck it up; girls learn early and often that emotional response is effective.

  22. What kind of things or services does your company sell, Entrepreneur? What are the traits of your best salespeople? (You mentioned most of your employees are in sales.)
    I’m making my responses about specifics because your OP is presenting as a problem to be solved.

  23. Hag, boys are taught that, because they wouldn’t make very good girls, and, girls who are taught that, aren’t being raised to have dignity and maturity and manners.

    However.

    A male who is criticized understands it is part of learning to become more valuable, so he accepts it. It’s a process, not a label.

    But a female who is criticized experiences herself being branded, visibly and horribly, a less valuable person. It’s a label.

    That is how she interprets the criticism.

    This will cause anguish. It has to.

    It carries the threat of death, in the sense that a low-value female isn’t going to get protected. That is scary enough to make anybody cry, who can’t protect herself. And no, a woman can’t protect herself.

    Speaking generally.

    These character traits pre-date legal, peaceful societies.

    They are deep inside and have nothing to do with culture. Of course you can train people to be restrained, and not weep all over the place at inappropriate moments, but these impulses are there. And nobody is at fault that they are.

  24. TOH, it’s not culture. Culture matters but it rides on top of biology and works with it. It can’t cancel it.

  25. It sounds to me like they make poor hiring decisions when it comes to women. It may have something to do with desire to hire women so they can “encourage them to find their voices”. In general, when you do a hire, you really want to hire someone (male or female) who knows what they want to do, i.e., work for you, in your industry.

    I have seen very poor hiring decisions made by partners who unconsciously want to maintain a status quo: E.g., our previous graphic designer was an Asian female and she was great; let’s hire another even though we want to expand our use of a program she’s never seen before! Or, that client really prefers to work with an Ivy-league white guy; this guy fits the bill in looks and attitude, let’s hire him even though his references say he has a tough time working on more than one project at a time and often disappears from the office for unknown reasons.

    You get a pretty good read on how a person is going to react and interact in the interview process. You should know what you want, hire a person that matches that, and finally, set the expectation of behavior in the office.

    • Your comment is misaligned with the topic of the post. My problem is not retention, lack of passion from my female employees or lack of diversity. The problem is that female employees require more management than their male counterparts.

    • The hiring committee that hired me was composed of profoundly intellectual people. Yet I easily convinced them that I was outgoing and fun when I’m the exact opposite. It takes minimal effort to project any kind of persona at an interview.

  26. So, you stand by your findings that women react very differently to work situations, but, you ascribe that to their culture not to biology.

    I fully agree that some cultures may raise spoiled brats, and others may raise disciplined realists.

    So, as Clarissa said that in her particular culture, “sensitive woman” is an oxymoron, maybe just hire women who are members of Clarissa’s culture?

    Would that solve what this thread is about? Are you going to go back to hiring women, if they are from Clarissa’s culture?

    If you don’t, you are conceding that culture can’t solve this problem.

    Except I don’t see it as a problem, just a fact of life. And I am not judgmental. I don’t like any kind of person any better than any other kind.

    But I never had a receptionist quit over a butterfly picture. Your irritation is understandable.

  27. ” The problem is that female employees require more management than their male counterparts.”

    “Biology is entirely unrelated to gender, so I’d prefer not to discuss it in this thread. ”

    “Animals don’t have gender. ”

    You never had a tomcat, and had to have him fixed because he sprayed all over, yelled all night, and ran away too much? You never walked a male dog on a leash, and had to wait while he marked all the fence posts? Anybody who hasn’t got time for that needs to get a female dog. She won’t do that.

    You don’t think human sx hormones affect feelings and actions? You never had PMS? Do you think PMS is just a cultural construct? Do you dismiss post partum depression?

    If biology doesn’t affect feelings and behavior, why are all those people taking mood-stabilizing drugs? Why would anybody relax with a glass of wine after a hard day?

    Human behavior is a lot more subtle and hard to see than a dog watering a fire hydrant. But it has been studied or there wouldn’t be a field called “behavioral psychology” and there is.

    You started this thread based on wide experience as an exec, and TOH came in citing 25 years of teaching experience, and this thread is all about gender being a big predictor of behavior.

    I contributed that it wasn’t BAD, but rather reasonable given gender dynamics and realities, and nobody’s fault, and normal. So?

    • So you don’t know the difference between biological sex and gender? If you don’t know something that basic then you shouldn’t even be commenting here.

      • I’ll give you an example. Would you say that women’s hair is biologically longer then men’s? If you went on on the street and started observing that then you might reach the conclusion that women’s hair tends to be longer. You would be correct, of course, but you would be a bit naive if you thought that men’s hair is just biologically designed to be cut shorter.

        • “I’ll give you an example. Would you say that women’s hair is biologically longer then men’s? If you went on on the street and started observing that then you might reach the conclusion that women’s hair tends to be longer. You would be correct, of course, but you would be a bit naive if you thought that men’s hair is just biologically designed to be cut shorter.”

          – Brilliant. :-) :-)

      • So you would think that “hormones” determine the fact that most young men on a college campus have extremely short hair, and that the average young woman has longer hair, because her hair grows faster because of “hormones”? Interesting…

      • Jonathan Mayhew on May 14, 2014 @ 6:09 pm

        “I’ll give you an example. Would you say that women’s hair is biologically longer then men’s?”

        Let me rephrase your question: Would you say that a woman is biologically more or less a beard than a man?

        You put up a straw man and knocked it down, well done! But what exactly is your point?

        There are clear physical and biological differences between men and women that aren’t primary sexual characteristics. Stature, by and large, women are of smaller stature.

        Or facial hair, not too many women I know wear a beard. Nearly every man I know could if he chose to.

        It’s not an unreasonable leap to imagine these differences extend to psychology too.

      • Right, I’m distinguishing gender from biological sex. Why is that so hard to understand? Facial hair differs among the sexes. The length with which hair is grown on the head is a social convention related to socially constructed gender roles. For someone to find an example of sexual difference in men’s and women’s bodies does not negate this distinction. Yes, men have penises, we know this. The mistake is to assume that all observed differences between genders in a given society are simply the biological result of this. This is not complex, people. It’s sociology 101. I thought my example of hair length was clear and obvious, but apparently not.

        • “The mistake is to assume that all observed differences between genders in a given society are simply the biological result of this. This is not complex, people. It’s sociology 101.”

          – Unfortunately, the post has attracted many people who are not nearly sophisticated enough to understand the ideas I want to discuss in this thread.

      • But it is ALL biological Jonathan. The simple fact is all our thoughts, actions stem from our brain or body. Last time I checked the origin of whether we cut our hair or not is from our thoughts which is………………….come on, you can say it. ;)

      • That is not at all what people mean when they say “biological,” of course. The tautological meaning of the word you offer is not vey helpful if it includes the ideological constructions people make of gender, simply because these construction are the products of people’s brains and thus… biological. Then of course the argument that men are women should behave in a certain way because … biology also disappears, because all human behavior is … biological.

      • Johathan @ May 15, 2014 @ 9:23 am:
        “For someone to find an example of sexual difference in men’s and women’s bodies does not negate this distinction.”

        Except as part of your straw man argument ( hereby refuted ) you cited a percieved physical difference between the sexes, cranial hair length. Then pointed out that hair length isn’t really a sexual characteristic. Very clever but pointless.

        I am not disputing there are fashons in various societies, nor that those fashons change with the times. So what?

        In aborigional societies, women often go bare breasted, there being little more required to identify a woman as such.

        Johathan @ May 15, 2014 @ 9:23 am:
        “Yes, men have penises, we know this.”

        Ugh? You don’t know the difference between primary and secondary sexual characteristics?

        Johathan @ May 15, 2014 @ 9:23 am::

        I’m distinguishing gender from biological sex.

        No. You are identifying a transient cultural norm, let’s call it ‘fashon’. Then ascribing it some greater significance to it, than is warrented.

      • @Jonathan

        I dont think people “should” be required to act anyway. But maybe, they do because of biology. Even the individuals who “think” they are choosing their gender when it could be just as easily their biology making the choice for them. The brain is a complicated thing. I know, I know, maybe not so much for you or Clarissa, lol.

      • Clarissa: These days, the length of hair depends solely on how much you are willing to pay your hairdresser. :-)

        – Not in my case it doesn’t. :(

    • “You never had a tomcat, and had to have him fixed because he sprayed all over, yelled all night, and ran away too much? You never walked a male dog on a leash, and had to wait while he marked all the fence posts? Anybody who hasn’t got time for that needs to get a female dog. She won’t do that.You don’t think human sx hormones affect feelings and actions? You never had PMS?”

      – No to all questions.

      “Do you think PMS is just a cultural construct? Do you dismiss post partum depression?”

      – Yes to both questions.

      “If biology doesn’t affect feelings and behavior, why are all those people taking mood-stabilizing drugs? Why would anybody relax with a glass of wine after a hard day?”

      – I’ve written many posts on psychological problems and alcohol on this blog. I invite you to read them.

      Can we now go back to the subject of feminism if possible?

      • Without the time to go back and read your previous posts to get a feel for your stance on hormonal shifts (in any biological being, not just women) causing depression or other emotional or behavioural changes, let’s just say that I’m not overly fond of your curt dismissal of post-partum depression. I believe, however, that it is of little relevance to the topic at hand: namely the supposition that the majority of female applicants hired in the workplace described by Entrepreneur require additional management effort compared to male applicants in the same workplace.

        If these are indeed the best applicants for the position, perhaps the overall answer is that, regardless of the level of effort, it is Entrepreneur’s job to expend the extra effort in managing these employees.

        People Management is a difficult job, and requires a broad range of both business skills and interpersonal skills. I know I am personally not skilled enough on the interpersonal side to manage people, and I would be tempted to hire a people manager specifically to complement my missing and/or weak skill sets.

        Let’s separate our responsibilities here:

        1) As a feminist, the responsibility is to discuss the social constructs that are molding these situations and causing Entrepreneur’s stress over hiring women. From this perspective, we might look at larger solutions like behavioural seminars and training targeted at strengthening the confidence of women in the workplace, and also targeted at changing ingrained cultural sexism in the common workplace. We can also talk about better education in early years for both boys and girls towards healthier behaviours. None of these are likely to help Entrepreneur in the next hiring round (though I believe this is actually the discussion that Clarissa is attempting to foster here).

        2) As a manager, the responsibility is to take the applicants who are best suited to the role they are hired for and actively expend the required time and effort to effectively manage them. This doesn’t mean that the manager needs to micromanage everyone (that would be a terrible waste of effort). It means that there is a responsibility for the manager to attempt to work with their employees as individuals. There are many management seminars and training sessions that may help complement the skills that Entrepreneur already has, and that may provide additional tools for dealing with such situations as expressed in the post and the commentary. If all else fails, moving to a 2-manager system, while introducing some overhead, could also provide some relief both in the effort required to manage the team, and in providing a more diverse set of tools for managing the people on the team.

        Anyways, just my 2 cents.

  28. I agree with Meema’s first comment. The problem is not so much the women you are hiring (although you may have one or two bad apples in the bunch) but that you have not established yourself as an authority figure to these women. If the women are coming to you with office gossip, or complaining to you about how you failed to acknowledge the prettiness of an item that they bought, they are relating to you as a friend, not as a boss.

    You might also want to reflect on whether, subconsciously, you have been putting too much emotional energy into worrying about whether your employees like you. The fact that you are agonizing with your business partner over what seem to be minor interactions with your employees would seem to suggest so.

    To establish proper authority, you may want to first reframe in your mind the relationship you have with your employees and the relationship that they have with your company. They are hired to facilitate your business and to make your life easier by taking work off your hands. If they are making trivial complaints or gossiping, they are wasting your time, lowering morale and accordingly are failing to fulfill their obligations to you and to your business. You, as the authority figure, need to communicate these obligations to your employees so that they in turn understand what you expect of them and what behaviour is/is not acceptable.

    In summary, you are the boss, not their friend. You don’t have to be mean or overbearing, but it must be clear that you are in charge. Hope this helps and good luck with your business.

  29. “Yet several people just in this thread agred that the problem exists.”

    And several people just in this thread agreed they’ve never seen this situation in their workplace.

      • Well, I wasn’t aware that only the opinions of business owners and ‘leaders’ mattered on this blog. If so, I’m not sure it was a good idea for Entrepreneur to make a guest post here, since its audience is probably 99% composed of non-business owners.

        • “Well, I wasn’t aware that only the opinions of business owners and ‘leaders’ mattered on this blog.”

          – Since I’m neither, that’s hardly likely. :-)

      • @stringer

        I made no such remark about it only being for owners, I was just pointing out how the views are probably different depending on position.

      • Well, you can count two friends and three relatives I’ve shared this post with: all of them in managerial positions. And no, they haven’t seen it. (Since we’re also looking at this culturally – four work in the US, one in Israel.)

        • @hkatz: I am curious – are your relatives in question male or female? I wonder whether male managers’ experience is different from mine.

      • @Entrepreneur – three men, two women. I wonder if the sector you’re working in matters too, to some extent. One of them is in tech, two in a healthcare-related company, one in the education field, and the fifth in an accounting firm.

        • I would hate having to take on the ‘do not bother me unless it is important’ attitude or a scary persona people do not dare approach.

  30. Let’s do this thought experiment:

    A business owner comes to you and says he’s constantly having a lot of problems with black/jewish/homosexual employees in his company, and in order to *rectify* this situation he was planning to *never* hire a back/jewish/homosexual person ever again.

    What would your reaction be?

    • “A business owner comes to you and says he’s constantly having a lot of problems with black/jewish/homosexual employees in his company, and in order to *rectify* this situation he was planning to *never* hire a back/jewish/homosexual person ever again.”

      – Let’s change it a little to resemble what we are actually talking about. A Jewish person says, “When I hire other Jews, they don’t recognize my authority, sabotage me in a variety of ways, and as a result sabotage themselves. Non-Jews don’t do it, and I’m wondering what is causing this dynamic.” I’d be interested to discuss.

  31. Well I’m a woman and I find this post highly offensive. The post’s author is not only advocating something illegal but something morally repugnant. I would contribute something more detailed but both the original poster and Clarissa insistently absolve the original poster from ANY blame; instead, the conversation seems to revolve around trying to figure out why ALL women — 50% of humanity– are irredeemably flawed when it comes to office/workforce dynamics. To me, as a woman who loves and takes pride in her career, it is egregiously offensive to suggest that women AS A GROUP can’t participate in the workforce effectively.

    I really love this blog but seeing this post has made me rethink whether or not I am willing to read it anymore. I truly hope we readers are going to find out that this is some sort of hoax. I’m completely disgusted I must say.

    • Anyone who describes herself as an entrepreneur is probably quite a pretentious person. And no doubt light in the pocket book as well and into blaming others for her failures. This is pretty low-level stuff, all right. But I’ll keep reading the blog, because I find it amusing, though not particularly enlightening. I am interested in how people who just showed up in the U.S., like Clarissa, see this country.

      • “Anyone who describes herself as an entrepreneur is probably quite a pretentious person.”

        – or maybe it’s their profession.

        “But I’ll keep reading the blog, because I find it amusing, though not particularly enlightening. I am interested in how people who just showed up in the U.S., like Clarissa, see this country.”

        – Yes, Hattie, we all know you hate immigrants. There is no need to reiterate it quite as often.

        • “Ooohhh, an immigrant hater. The quality of readers suddenly deteriorated sharply.”

          – Hattie considers herself a Liberal but in the meanwhile erupts in rage whenever an immigrant appears in her field of vision. The whole thing is highly entertaining.

    • Exactly. (Though I think this is supposed to be about American women, not all women). The women described in the post sound like women I would avoid. They do not sound like most of the women I know. If a company really somehow has all of the female employees behaving like this, I think it says more about the company than women in general. I don’t know what it says exactly, but I do know that women are perfectly capable of acting professional in the workplace.
      The last woman I worked for wouldn’t have this problem because she projects an aura of “Don’t bother me unless it’s important!” Not every boss wants to take that approach, but there must be a happy medium between that and being everyone’s therapist.
      Now, how to get out of a situation where a large number of apparently valued employees have decided that you are their therapist and that they can escape criticism by crying might be more tricky, but there must be a better approach than to start discriminating based on gender.

    • I am not talking about ALL women but rather the women that have worked for me. I am not looking to condemn anyone, so instead of your disgust I would love for you to share your experience. Have you ever reported to a woman or managed women? If either scenario was successful on a long term basis, what do you attribute it to? Do you have suggestions for me? To women in the workplace?

      • I am pretty sure it is the way women are socialized here. It never made any sense to me so I pretty much ignored it but original thought seems to be quite uncommon in this (or most) countries. You can get around early indoctrination as a lot of the barriers in the professional world have been lifted, but a lot of people don’t. Also a lot of upper middle class people train their kids in new ideas for success but that doesn’t mean they understand them. Emotionally a lot of women are still trapped in gendered roles and the ones who aren’t trapped confuse people.

    • “The post’s author is not only advocating something illegal but something morally repugnant. ”

      – Where is anybody advocating anything? To advocate means “recommend publicly.” There is no recommendation here at all.

      “I would contribute something more detailed but both the original poster and Clarissa insistently absolve the original poster from ANY blame”

      – It was collectively decided at the start of the discussion that it’s best to depart from the idea of blame altogether here because that would not be productive.

      “ALL women — 50% of humanity– are irredeemably flawed when it comes to office/workforce dynamics. To me, as a woman who loves and takes pride in her career, it is egregiously offensive to suggest that women AS A GROUP can’t participate in the workforce effectively.”

      – Do you notice, though, that the article was written and posted by just such women who are participating very effectively in the workforce? I just don’t think that if I participate successfully in the workforce that should mean I need to leave behind all of those women who are finding it more difficult. Yes, I could care less how I’m “perceived” and whether somebody wants to criticize me, call me a bitch or see me as aggressive. But many women do care! Should we pretend that they don’t exist and are not struggling with this legacy of rigid gender norms?

  32. Everyone’s opinion matters but I am uninterested in looking for scientific proof of whether my experience is the norm. As I mentioned earlier, I am not looking for validation. Rather I hope for a deeper analysis of the issue, as well as an insight into what I personally can do differently. When 4 women quit within a year to do absolutely nothing, my conclusion is that the ‘toxic environment’ I must have created is hardly at fault. I tend to see a bigger problem. Had they been quitting to join better companies, I would place the blame on my own inability as a business leader. However, they left to ponder the next step. Three women in their twenties and one in her fourties.

    • I love it. It’s always nice to have a well thought out and considerate analysis in black and white such as Clarissa provides. I prize this blog!

    • If this were important I would consider it slander, but it’s just you going off. You never read my blog anyway or comment, so how can you make pronouncements about me like that? Do you read anyone’s blog but your own?

      • Your blog is in my blog roll, Hattie. As are 715 other blogs, many of which I quote in my weekly link encyclopedias. But I don’t see how that is relevant to the discussion of the anti-immigrant comments you keep leaving on my blog.

        It’s very telling that when I say I find your comments offensive and several immigrants in the thread agree, you choose to disregard that and throw a hissy fit about the dearth of comments on your own blog.

    • Dear Entrepreneur, over my career, I’ve seen great HR people as well as some I consider disfunctional and lazy. With growth in the use of job boards, many companies are using software to screen the flood of resumes they get. Whether or not you use software, the process produces prospects who know how to game the system and who are not necessarily best suited for your needs. That was the basis for the case I made for re-examing how you recruit. Once you have someone on board, I would look to a tool like Rath’s “Strengthfinder 2.0″ to get a better sense of the person.

      If you’ve had four recent hires leave within a year, the recruiting process is broken. Statistically, an event like that is too unusual to happen by chance.

  33. “Back in 1999, I heard in class about this research that shows that women tend to speak more tentatively and apologetically in professional settings and fear what being aggressive would do to their image.

    I was incensed by the whole thing and ranted and raved against the sexism of the study …”

    Clarissa, you were being very feminine when you did that. Not in the nice sense. You weren’t concerned with the objective reality, which was rigorously and carefully studied only to document, and … to HELP women do better at work. By training themselves to not talk so girlishly, and be more confident. A very valuable insight.

    No! You ran right to … “oh no! I am perceived as less than ok! People say I don’t talk well! How dare they talk bad about me! this is terrible!” and you had an …. off-the-point, silk-slipper-stamping, hissy fit. Not so good.

    It’s good they did that research. It probably helped many women advance. And you ranted against it.

    I have no great answers for women’s need to be thought well of. I think they ENJOY this. A lot. A boss might see it as a problem, but the women don’t.

    I think women enjoy both being well thought of and thinking well of another person.

    They just like the whole process. They like to praise.

    That means they are going to want praise, as they see it as high-value.

    Of course that has to do with mothering. Mothering is praising.

    So? Yay, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day. Somebody has to be a mother, or there won’t be anybody.

    • “Clarissa, you were being very feminine when you did that. Not in the nice sense. You weren’t concerned with the objective reality, which was rigorously and carefully studied only to document, and … to HELP women do better at work. By training themselves to not talk so girlishly, and be more confident. A very valuable insight.”

      – No, I was young. It’s the only flaw that diminishes with time.

      “I think women enjoy both being well thought of and thinking well of another person.They just like the whole process. They like to praise.”

      – I’m sure this simplistic view of the world eases your anxiety. But have you considered getting educated instead? If you read a couple of books, you might even enjoy it, and the world will seem less scary and confusing? Do try.

    • “Clarissa, you were being very feminine when you did that. Not in the nice sense.”

      Indeed… she should have been more masculine, in the not nice sense, meaning to say she should have raged, slammed her fist into walls, sat around brooding, threatened and/or physically attacked people, made nasty remarks about their sexual orientation and promiscuity, drank a lot, and hid behind comforting phrases such as “objective reality” while reassuring herself that she’s indeed innately rational, objective and not emotional.

    • What? My blog has been around for years and gets some comments, but I’m not in it for the ego tripping. You just make stuff up. I don’t.

  34. In short, you were doing exactly the thing you are complaining about: reacting to how you thought (erroneously) you were PERCEIVED. As if how you were thought about was the only thing that mattered. Not objective observations about people and what works well and what doesn’t work well, in a workplace.

    I once left a job when quite young because there were no nice men to meet there. I eventually got a job where I met my husband. A woman who wants to marry won’t stay indefinitely in a job where she can’t meet any suitable men. I mean, she’s not a big cheese. She’s just your worker. She isn’t a star or a millionaire there. It is understandable she would move on.

    That’s not so complicated.

    • “In short, you were doing exactly the thing you are complaining about: reacting to how you thought (erroneously) you were PERCEIVED. ”

      – No, I wasn’t. But I realize that you are not intellectually sophisticated enough to understand these complexities.

      • Meaning, you reacted angrily to how you thought women were PERCEIVED.

        Not you personally, no. But women in general. With whom you identified.

        But it’s the same thought process that irritates you in other women: perception as being the main thing, a big important thing.

        Not the objective observations of the researchers, but how it would “make women look”. Perception. An affront to perception made you forget that useful data was in front of you.

        I am sure you wouldn’t do that now.

        • “Meaning, you reacted angrily to how you thought women were PERCEIVED.”

          – I can see you are struggling to grasp the meaning of this very trivial anecdote. But it’s OK, I know you can eventually maybe even get it. Keep on keeping on! :-)

  35. @dijril: I too have had the experience of looking for a job and being rejected for months. It sucks and I fully empathize with you. First of all, I need to let you know that 80% of my hires have been women. I am exhausted from managing them and what I really want is to see women acknowledge that the problem lies with them and to start fixing it. The problem is not the men, not the government and not the mean toxic boss. The problem is women’s obsession with how they are perceived and their plan B of doing nothing.

    That being said, I am fully open to advice and criticism of what I should be doing differently. In fact, I crave it. Some commenters have said that I should be more authoritative, less ‘friendly’, command authority and I am open to trying all that. I am looking for a discussion – not emotional outbursts.

    • “Not that you deserve a comment on your dumb attack, but I am a U.S. citizen with an international outlook.”

      – Hattie, I think you can deal with a little glimpse into how you are perceived. :-) Immigrants perceive you as a hater. And I think you need to know that. Maybe even consider adjusting your “outlook.”

  36. “I am a U.S. citizen with an international outlook.”

    This sounds way, way more pretentious than calling oneself an entrepreneur (which is one’s job). I’m cringing here.

    • “This sounds way, way more pretentious than calling oneself an entrepreneur (which is one’s job). I’m cringing here.”

      – Hattie always comes to every post I write about the US to tell me how she hates it when immigrants dare not to be 100% appreciative of their good fortune of being here.

  37. Maybe she IS an entrepreneur and IS a US citizen with an international outlook. Being pretentious is putting out that you stuff you are not. It’s not pretentious if you really are that thing.

  38. @Entrepreneur – one of my relatives suggested that coaching (on an individual or team basis) might be a good way to help this behavior. To point out the dynamics directly, to work on constructive ways of receiving feedback and expressing one’s self in the workplace, to minimize the passive-aggressiveness and to work on better emotional self-management (echoing the seminar idea I’d suggested earlier in the thread). The effects won’t be immediate, because it takes time to work on behavior that’s habitual. But it could be helpful. People can be coached on all kinds of behavior, from how they give presentations to how they interview…

    Did you ever tell your employees point-blank that they’re difficult to manage emotionally? (Not necessarily in those words – but more like pointing out the problem and its effects on you as a manager.)

    • Yes, of course! I have told two of my employees that certain behaviors needed to be changed. The first one started crying saying that she was embarrassed that everyone thought negatively about her. I explained that it was not everyone, the opinions were mine and suggested what could be done better in the future. In a few days she asked to speak with me. When we sat down she said that she did not know how she could recover after everyone thought that her behaviour was unacceptable. I reiterated what I had said previously. She thanked me, teared up again and said that she was embarrassed. Again.

      The second employee’s reaction was: I hope you do not think I am high maintenance! I said no, we do not think that you are high maintenance. I only think what I just said which is ABC. ‘But you know how much I love working here! I hope you don’t think …….’ She came to see me three more times to ensure that I did not think some imaginary thoughts. My original concern, which is what I actually wanted to be addressed, remained at status quo.

      • “She came to see me three more times to ensure that I did not think some imaginary thoughts.”

        – Yes, this is it! This is the real issue. A woman often feels that there is this imaginary group of people that sits in constant judgment of everything she is, does and thinks. Now the question is: where does this come from? Who puts these judges in her head? And how can they be evicted?

        These imaginary thoughts are her thoughts. She hates them and wants to argue with them. But to do that she needs somebody to voice them. So she pushes you to admit you voiced them. But you refuse, denying her the possibility to argue with these painful ideas. So she gets frustrated.

      • “A woman often feels that there is this imaginary group of people that sits in constant judgment of everything she is, does and thinks. Now the question is: where does this come from? Who puts these judges in her head?”

        I read this and immediately thought of parents.

        I know those voices well. If you’re micromanaged and criticized minutely on a regular basis growing up… not every home is like this, but it happens frequently enough. I haven’t fully evicted these voices myself, but I can label them for what they are. The recognition dampens their effect.

  39. I think I must be a man. Because I’ve never operated under the illusion that asking my boss if he or she still liked me was a thing that people should do and I’ve actually cried at work (but that’s when my grandma died).

    As for being emotional, I’ve seen plenty of men throw tantrums, get hyperbolic, pout, make accusations, loom over smaller people and actually threaten to physically fight in office settings. And women are the emotional ones?

    Set a clear boundary between friendly and friends. Nothing irks me more than somebody telling me that some workplace is like my family or my new friend circle. It is not and I don’t want to hear about the same thing anybody’s personal life more than once a day.

    Signed,
    A misanthrope in sympathy.

    • Yes, yes, yes! Not to the first sentence but to the rest of what you wrote. Men get plenty emotional in the workplace BUT they do not expect me, their manager, to manage these emotions or validate any imaginary thoughts and emotions. I have seen my male employees get pissed, frustrated, overwhelmed, freaked out but these were their emotions. I have coached them on how to best handle different situations and we moved on. Our time was not wasted on discussing hypothetical scenarios or other employees’ perceptions.

      And yes, work is work. We are not family and not friends. We are managers, employees, colleagues.

      • The whole issue that people are discussing upthread seems to relate to women being somehow positioned as those who are gazed upon, rather than as acting in their own rights. Well that relates to women being aesthetic entities, whereas men are action entities. If those ideas are internalized a great deal, you end up with random women wondering what the invisible observers might be thinking about them. Get into an action mindset and you do not care. But to what extent does any particular culture allow these extremely conventional and rather rotten roles to be altered?

  40. I was just discussing this thread with somebody over the phone and he said, “What’s missing is for reader el to say something about Israel.”

    El, we all love you, but this comment did make me laugh for 5 minutes.

    • Personally, I can’t stop giggling over “silk-slipper-stamping” from one of Meema’s comments above. That, and “You never had a tomcat…?” :)

    • // I was just discussing this thread with somebody over the phone and he said, “What’s missing is for reader el to say something about Israel.”
      El, we all love you, but this comment did make me laugh for 5 minutes.

      I haven’t left any comments till several minutes ago. Now am curious: What thread are you talking about?

  41. “But to what extent does any particular culture allow these extremely conventional and rather rotten roles to be altered?”

    – This is precisely what I wanted to discuss. We need to alter them, that goes without saying. But how do we do that? What will be the price we pay?

  42. “The last woman I worked for wouldn’t have this problem because she projects an aura of “Don’t bother me unless it’s important!” Not every boss wants to take that approach, but there must be a happy medium between that and being everyone’s therapist.”

    I’m thinking this has something to do with it. Maybe in your zeal to be supportive of women, you’re coddling, and dare I say, infantilizing your female employees. You’re being a den mother to them when you should be their boss. Just a thought.

    • “Maybe in your zeal to be supportive of women, you’re coddling, and dare I say, infantilizing your female employees. You’re being a den mother to them when you should be their boss.”

      – There is definitely a lot of this going on.

    • Your suggestion stands to reason. I would prefer to know that the reasons lie within myself and not others as it is then so much easier to ‘fix’. :)

      I will repeat ‘coddling’ and ‘infantilizing’ in my head regularly to be more aware of the behavior I exhibit. I definitely don’t want to be mothering anyone in the workplace.

  43. I too wonder about your hiring process. I know many emotionally difficult women, and a few fairly competent ones. As a rule, those who present themselves (naturally or through effort) as extroverted, friendly, and fun are also those who can’t handle their own internal work. While I am sure you hire based on merit, is it possible that you prefer women who seem to be “team players” and other code words for people pleasers? Maybe you mean to, and maybe it’s accidental.

    I am fairly standoffish – people ask me all the time if I’m mad at them because I don’t pose with little smiles on my face when I’m lost in thought. All the time. But I would never leave a job without a reason (who has that kind of life?), and I absolutely never bother my boss with my emotions. I work as a nanny: in close contact with only two adults and often in the middle of very emotional situations. I wonder if you would benefit from favoring introverted women like me who may – at first – seem downright antisocial.

    • I prefer competitive ‘aggressive’ people over ‘people pleasers’. Considering that the positions are in sales, the ability to work with others and emote in certain situation is definitely required. That being said, my two last hires have been introverts, the last one having shared that she had scored as a high introvert on multiple personality assessment tests. My problem with her is different than the extroverts with their ups and down. But she too requires a lot reassurance; for example she asks me to let her know if there is anything she is doing wrong and that I do not like twice a week. She even asks for the additional reassurance after an hourly coaching session discussing what is going well and what requires extra work.

  44. Entrepreneur, you are being played. A woman employee, (and some men too, but it’s effeminate), know that if the boss is looking at you and talking, it’s good. It means you are visible and approved of. It doesn’t matter a bit what is being said. If you and the boss are reciting the phone book to each other, it’s good. What matters is that the boss is looking at your face and her lips are moving. Attention is GOOD. Not being invisible is GOOD.

    You are dishing out ice cream and are amazed that people like it and are asking for seconds. Stop doing that.

    Sales jobs are for very hard, tough, self-directed, self-motivated people. Most people of ANY gender can’t do it. The very few who can may skew male.

    Continue to respond to your men employees as you usually do, as that works well.

    But take a different tack with your women ones: certainly be nice, but, with no disapproval, simply be very little available to your women employees.

    Why? Because they don’t handle it well.

    If they can produce in the marketplace, wonderful. Give them plenty of monetary reward, and when they succeed, and ONLY when they succeed, some brief, very warm praise, maybe a trinket prize, and then, turn on your heel and, still smiling very warmly, disappear. If they interrupt you, be nice but crisp. Act as if you mean well but an important call is coming in right now. In fact, stand up. Listen very briefly, and start walking the woman out of the room. Smile and shut the door.

  45. Rinse, repeat.

    If a woman insists on asking what is wrong, just keep doing that. Praise her work, not her. Don’t let it be a personal matter, just producing.

    And understand that every word you say to her is worth ten dollars. If you keep yacking to her you are hemorrhaging money. Your time is money. And, she is just milking you for attention. And every minute she spends doing that – selling to YOU – is a minute she isn’t selling to her clients.

    • Just don’t hire pretty women. They’re too used to being told that the sun shines out of their behind. Employment is just a huge ego deflation for women like that. “What, you mean you want me to do this all day every day for little to no ass kissing? What do I look like, an ugly woman?”. Skip hiring melodramatic divas or put them somewhere where they can do no harm (i.e. don’t force other, sane employees to endure their bitchiness and passive-aggressive whining).

      • Not at all. I will endure this kind of behaviour in personal relationships. I would even say I find it exhilarating. But in the work place, dealing with it from multiple women, it’s just too emotionally-draining and time-wasting to endure — for zero benefit (unless your business is marketing or fashion).

        • “I will endure this kind of behaviour in personal relationships. I would even say I find it exhilarating. ”

          – Of course, you have learned to enjoy women spitting at you. That’s the only kind of interaction they deign to offer you, after all.

      • By the way. What’s up with your profile pictures? The one alongside your comments looks like it’s been doctored to make you look younger. The one at the top of the page makes you look like Cinderella’s ugly sister.

        • I know, I know, all of the rejection you’ve gotten over the years really hurts. I will now add to your pain by giving you a kick on your ugly ass (which is still less ugly than your sorry excuse for a face) and kick you off my blog.

          Bye-bye, loser.

  46. I haven’t cried once at work or University, and I have honestly never seen another woman cry in a professional setting. Now that I teach almost all-female classes I have still yet to see one of my students cry.
    I have however seen countless men doing careless work, not listening to others (especially women), bullshitting their way through work and claiming they understand things which they didn’t solely to fight for their position in the hierarchy. On the other hand, I have experienced women to be very careful, self-critical and much more honest and my collaborations with them have gone better with men.
    This is just to say: experiences differ. :)
    Maybe it has to do with my own expectations about men and women. From observing my parents, my expectation is that women are more analytical and controlled, and men are more emotional.

  47. I have never been praised publicly after doing something correctly, and i never expected it. I later got good reviews about my work but that is all.

    But, ofc i am a male. Working with one female is ok, sometimes even better than working with a man, but working with 2 or more women in the same team = hell.

    Yes, i agree about women boycotting each other… Competition 24/7… Same with looks, women dress up in order to be better than the other girls around, to receive more attention than them. This is very easy to see in a one only female office vs a several female worker office.

    I would not hire several women neither, worst working environment i had was being in charge of 8 women and 0 men… Fights between them weekly, no respect at all, not following orders… Every single day someone was ill… Never again…

    Men are simple, women are complicated.

  48. Here is a thought, you are letting the women-folk walk all over you. My suggestion is to buy a large box of kleenex tissues. The type of box that has individual boxes of tissues in them. When someone comes to you to gossip, give her a box and tell her the next time she does this to just pack up her desk and go home and then tell her to get back to her job. The next time time one of your gals comes to you with a special need of just having to discuss the recent meeting give her a box of tissues and tell her you are paying her to solve the problem not talk about solving the problem.

    You are not their friend. They are not yours. They are your employees. You pay them to do the work you don’t have time to do. Why do you let them take up your time?

    The only resource you have that is limited is your time. Your female employees are stealing that time and you are letting them get away with it. The time you spend consulting with your partner about a female’s special need is time wasted.

    One thing you might also say to the next time-waster, be thankful you got a box of kleenex, you might just get a pink slip instead. You probably won’t have to do this to every female, the word will spread rapidly. Make sure your stack of boxes sits right behind you at your desk. More than enough to handle all your women-folk. Some males might be in need of one as well. Eventually you can have the stack removed.

    This sounds mean, but it really isn’t. You didn’t get into your business to become a counselor. If one of your females comes up and asks you if you still like them, hand them a box and tell them point blank, “I don’t like you. I never have and I never will. Here’s a box of tissues to ease your pain. I don’t dislike you either. I didn’t hire you because I like you. I hired you to do (Insert her job). Likes and dislikes are luxuries I can’t afford. Ask me again and that box will be a pink slip. Have a good day.”

    If you want to know why they are acting the way they are acting, that is a distasteful subject, full of sexism and ageism and all sorts of rage inducing comments.

  49. My experience is quite different. I have had women working for me in positions ranging from Sales Director to various Engineering Manager jobs…with the groups they were running usually encompassing both men and women, sometimes as subordinate managers…and have generally not had these problems.

    Yeah, there have been emotional situations…crying (though never in meetings) and the occasional knife-in-the-back attempt, but I’ve encountered inappropriate emotional behavior from men, too.

    I did find your assertion “I get extremely angry when I come across articles that insist there are gender differences that extend beyond physiology” to be interesting, and wonder what you base this belief in absolute similarity on, unless it is some kind of religious revelation. The “extremely angry” part is worrying…I have to wonder if you find it difficult to be exposed to information that conflicts with your deeply-held beliefs, and hence if you suffer from even more confirmation bias than the general run of people…and whether this leads to problems in hiring and management.

    • Well, I hardly think that my post can be basis for psychoanalysis and my probable anger management issues.

      • A manager’s own psychology is highly relevant to the way she or he performs their job: I thought you were looking for insights.

        • “So because she recounted her story on the Daily Mail that makes it irrelevant?”

          – Tabloids lie. Didn’t you know that? Not a single article published by a single tabloid has ever been true. Everybody knows that all these tabloid stories are invented.

      • I guess in the future I’ll have to rely solely on bloggers such as yourself to get my daily dose of truth. Because everyone knows that bloggers never fabricate stories, right?

        • “I guess in the future I’ll have to rely solely on bloggers such as yourself to get my daily dose of truth. ”

          – Are you aware of no other sources of information but bloggers and tabloids? Seriously?

  50. Entrepreneur may be hiring women who reflect an aspect of herself.

    She may be hiring women who do not threaten her.

    Maybe she wants to be the smartest woman around, and unconsciously hires women who are inferior to her.

    MEN DO THAT TOO. But men hire weak, non-threatening men – who do the job. But this isn’t a good situation: they aren’t doing the job. Because their real job is to make the boss feel that all is going well. Not take up the boss’s time and annoy the boss for nothing. They aren’t doing their job, because the boss does not feel all is going well.

    None of the above is a crime. Just a possibility. No negative is meant. People do all sorts of things and Entrepreneur did ask for help.

    • “Entrepreneur may be hiring women who reflect an aspect of herself. She may be hiring women who do not threaten her. Maybe she wants to be the smartest woman around, and unconsciously hires women who are inferior to her.”

      – You do know you are talking about yourself here, right?

  51. Yearlong maternity leave and all I have to do to be better than all other female candidates is behave like a professional? Egads, I wish I could sign up.

  52. // I was going to celebrate the achievements of my female hires […] Yet, I had no idea that the problems women faced in their workplace […] it is women themselves!

    I think (almost) any group in a worse condition both is discriminated against in many (work)places and self-sabotages. Women, poor (I believe culture of poverty exists, as many sociological studies claim), some blacks in USA (because of culture of poverty, which is, like the case with women, a matter of socialization, unsuitable for success in capitalist workplace), etc.

    If you want to help any disadvantaged groups (by not refusing to hire them), you must be ready to find out they aren’t ideal. A history of discrimination seldom affects its subjects in a good way. It becomes self-fulfilling prophesy, which also has been shown in studies.

  53. I’d question your hiring practices and whether you’re hiring the wrong people. Crying on the job and needing validation all the time isn’t professional behaviour – there are many women who never exhibit these traits. Why don’t you hire them? Also, if you’re not aware of your male employees’ gossip, then you’re out of the loop. Men gossip all the time – it’s just they tend to see it as exchanging information. But the content is typically the same.

    It’s also highly inappropriate for a junior employee like a receptionist to be feeling comfortable enough to tell you off for not validating her feelings, if you’re her employer. And why are you engaging in soft talk and therapy with your employees? People react according to the incentives you give them. It sounds like you’re acting like a therapist – so don’t be surprised if your employees emotionally dump on you.

    • I don’t actually engage in these conversations – what I have been doing (and am now stopping) is softening my approach and cushioning my feedback.

    • Also, I do not care who gossips – what I cannot stand is people throwing others under the bus instead of taking ownership for their own actions (or lack thereof). I have a new example from today’s workday: I brought two of my male employees into my office to discuss a situation they had mismanaged. I explained, they gave me their insight, we agreed on a future plan of action and that was it. Under 5 minutes. Every time I have a similar situation with my female employees it takes at least five times that amount of time. And they go back to the discussion in future meetings!

  54. Interesting to read many of the comments here. A large number of them suggesting that there must be something wrong with E’s management style, that she’s prejudiced against women, etc. Anything to avoid the possibility that her views might have some veracity. As a small employer myself I have six full timers of which two are women. Can’t complain myself because everyone on the team is top notch. And in teems of non-producing slackers, I’ve seen them from both sides of the isle, so to speak. The female interviewees in the past have definitely had a greater sense of entitlement despite being less technically adept than the male interviewees, but I don’t interview enough people to say whether it is a pattern or the luck of the draw.

  55. Here’s a little insight into some women compared to some men. A while back I noticed Muster getting upset that someone was clicking “thumbs down” to a lot of her comments. It visibly upset her and she made several remarks in relation to it. Most men I know would not have even come close to making a comment about it. It may have bothered them but most would remain silent. Generally, there are differences, whether people want to admit that is another issue. :P
    For entrepeneur I think its important you take stock as you are doing and ask yourself is it really worth the energy with the average woman compared to the average man.

    • Ah, now isn’t that interesting. Someone has installed a video camera in my house and has been watching my typical feminine mannerisms as I made my observations about things.

      I didn’t realize that people could be so shrewd, but now I know it.

      So how did the camera get installed in the first place?

      I’m very curious!

      I’m inclined to suspect it may have been an imaginary camera installed in the mind of the one doing the imagining, but there may be something about technology I do not know.

      So, how was it ascertained that I was “visibily” upset?

      • “I’m inclined to suspect it may have been an imaginary camera installed in the mind”

        a.k.a. “objective reality”

        Doesn’t matter what the content of those remarks were or your purpose for writing them, because that information is too sensitive for the all-seeing camera to capture. The images are rather grainy. But we can still make out your womanly silhouette in this grainy photo – and that’s all we need to know about you to really know you…

        • I’m sure there is a high level of emotion being emitted — specifically (and not more than) the material contained in a highly conventional and rather fearful male mind.

        • hahahah. I haven’t made any videos lately. I did do one on my midweek martial arts training, but there is not much to it. The other videos have some philosophical content and some more general musings. That is what they have in them.

        • It’s a testimony to my incredible blogging talent that even in a thread of 232 comments people easily say “it” and expect me to know what “it” refers to.

          I’m very brilliant.

      • You do realize that is one of the main reason I read your blog. Your brilliance is interesting and educational. Mind you, you are a little nuts sometimes, but hey, we all have our crosses to bear. :P

      • @JT

        “And the white knight hk rides to the rescue.”

        As a woman, I can be a white knight? *claps hands excitedly and squeals*

        But seriously, you think I commented to rescue her – when I don’t even think she’s in need of rescuing…

      • “Hkatz: you routinely leave brilliant comments that rescue the entire blog from boredom.”

        Thanks, but this blog wouldn’t become boring, even without my comments :)

      • Hkatz

        I thought feminists could be whatever they wished. You got balls, so you can be a white knight too. lmao.

  56. One suggestion? Start keeping record of how each of your employees reacts to certain things, on a spreadsheet or chart (however is easy for you to organize). That way you can see in front of you, in black and white, the difference between the two sexes. I’m not at all expecting you’d see a different answer, however. Do you have an equal partner at your business? Have them do the same, and compare notes.

  57. All very interesting but you should be thankful you are a woman, you can get away with writing such a thing, you could probably get away with writing that you didn’t want to hire men anymore. Can you imagine a man, not only holding such a position, but coming here and making a blog post on it? His company would be made to suffer I assure you. But then again, who ever said this was a free country?

        • “Thank you for proving my point.”

          – Seriously? A 541-comment thread and you decide it is crucially important to clutter it with “Thank you for proving my point” a propos of pretty much nothing? And I’m supposed to remember who the hell you are and know what this idiotic chirping is supposed to refer to? Do you consider yourself mentally stable? Because you are not managing to make such an impression.

  58. “I get extremely angry when I come across articles that insist there are gender differences that extend beyond physiology.”

    That’s your first mistake. Insisting that the differences between male and female are ‘social constructs’ as opposed to biological and neurological in spite of the evidence to the contrary (both scientific and observations – your own included) means you will be forever spinning your wheels trying to explain the differences. Different expectations? Discrimination? Policy failure? Etc.

    Evidently this is a generalization (which is perfectly legitimate. We can’t discuss people without generalizing) but one must be willing to look at explanations that don’t fit with the accepted narrative.

    • “That’s your first mistake. Insisting that the differences between male and female are ‘social constructs’ as opposed to biological and neurological in spite of the evidence to the contrary (both scientific and observations – your own included) ”

      – Such evidence does not exist.

      “Evidently this is a generalization (which is perfectly legitimate. We can’t discuss people without generalizing) but one must be willing to look at explanations that don’t fit with the accepted narrative.”

      – Another person with ridiculously poor writing skills and zero education.

  59. Hello Clarissa, welcome to the world of being an employer.
    You may notice that most “gender social construct” and feminists are not employers.
    You may also notice that most of those in your classes 15 years ago are not employers either.
    I would say it’s a good bet that most of them depend on the gov for handouts, jobs and subsidy while spouting the same stuff you did, but never having the guts to go out and prove how good and independent they really are.

    People are paid to do a job efficiently without the kindy treatment.
    If they can’t, fire them and replace them. And surprise…most are men lol.
    Once again welcome to reality.

    • What is it, an advent of losers and brain-dead chirpers to the blog? Wake up, Phero, and try to read the pits you are commenting on. Clarissa is not an employer.

      Do you manage to sit upright without toppling over with this degree of awareness?

      God, I hate idiots.

  60. Two thoughts after reading the blog and a good share of the comments.

    First, it might be helpful to think of this in terms of the types of personalities we attract into our lives. Usually, this is talked about in terms of romantic relationships, but more broadly we tend to reproduce dynamics of our early life in our adult relationships. Perhaps the women who make it through the three interview process at your company reflect relationships you (and/or the others responsible for conducting interviews) had with a sibling or someone else with whom a particular relationship dynamic is still playing out today.

    Getting clarity on such personal dynamics can help in identifying red flags to look for during the hiring process. And again, if you aren’t the only person interviewing and/or making the final hiring decision, it isn’t just your dynamics that are at play. This would require all those involved in the hiring process to do some work.

    However, this doesn’t address the problem you have right now: you’ve already hired employees who take a lot of energy to manage. Worse, when you try to change your management style to shift that culture, the passive-aggressive behaviors get turned outward, and the rest of your staff suffer.

    Here’s the thing: Your staff were suffering even when you were taking this all on yourself, because they need you to be managing the company, and you can’t do that as effectively if you’re energy is going to being a counselor and confidant.

    So, what to do? Here’s my suggestion: bring in an HR person with the background and experience to fulfill a specific mandate: to do the emotional labor of shifting the culture. This means not only checking the passive-aggressive behavior of those who don’t appreciate your change in management style, but also keeping you on track as you work to change that management style.

    Now, this means hiring someone for a job function your company doesn’t currently have. You may already have HR staff, but they aren’t tasked with this. You’re trying to do it on your own.

    Is it worth the investment to create this new position? To answer that, consider all the work you might be doing to grow and advance your company’s mission if only you weren’t so busy managing the emotional lives of so many of your employees. If recovering that opportunity cost is worth the overhead of a new employee (or consultant? idunno, maybe), then do it.

    • I find the first part of your comment helpful and aligned with the comments I had found particularly useful so far. As I am indeed the common denominator in these situations, I am certainly an active participant and a contributor to the issue. On a side note, I am “allergic” to HR (I am opening myself to another attack here, I know), so I would do any soul searching I possibly need and can before I would consider an HR department. However, that is a story for a different post. ;)

      • “On a side note, I am “allergic” to HR (I am opening myself to another attack here, I know), so I would do any soul searching I possibly need and can before I would consider an HR department. However, that is a story for a different post.”

        – Yes, please. Let’s stir another hornets’ nest with that one! We can call it, “Why HR Is Useless.”

      • Okay, I get that. So perhaps not “HR”, as such. A supporting executive/lateral managerial position might be another way to structure what I’m suggesting, or maybe a consultant is the way to go. Shifting the culture can be a full-time endeavor in and of itself, so it is worth considering bringing someone on board with the experience to move that process forward.

        After all, if the issues you describe were easy to figure out and resolve, you’d have figured them out and resolved them already. Like any other skill set, you need to decide for your business whether its something you would best hire for, or whether you can make it work with the skills you and your employees already have.

        That all said, glad to have planted a seed for a future post. :)

  61. i wonder if any of this has to do with a person’s sensitivity to the fucking annoying aspects of their own gender. for instance, i’m a man and other men are exhausting to be around with their constant posturing and maneuvering for dominance, it requires a huge amount of thought (though it’s more subtle than what’s described in the article, being noticeable mostly in its absence).

  62. Maybe this is more of a society problem than just a “women in the workplace” issue. Being held to certain standards physically and emotionally takes a toll. But it’s almost expected of women to act a certain way at work is it not? If you tell a person they are dumb repeatedly do they not eventually believe it? We are told that we are overly emotional, that we cannot handle the pressures, etc. So then we stand our ground saying “I’m emotional – I can’t handle it”. What we need to enforce is “it’s not personal, it’s just business” over and over and over again. But society defines us (men and women) so much by their job, their looks, their everything except that core person. I admit I take things way way to personally at work. Sometimes I think I’m justified and hold my ground, other times it takes my husband or uncle to give me perspective. It just does. I agree with the sentiment that the WORK should be appreciated not the person. Maybe what we as a gender need to do is make it clear in the workplace what is and is not acceptable. If you don’t want to hear the gossip, especially as the boss, tell them it is not appropriate in the workplace. There are always two people in a conversation one talking and one listening. If you tell them you choose not to listen, the conversation stops. I’d like to personally be more business focused (not more manly) in the work place. A lot of our emotion helps us take a different perspective. We don’t all have to be the same, but we can enforce work place propriety. Just my two cents.

  63. Guy here, leading a team of 5 developers out of which one is a woman fitting this bill. I dare not say all women like you do! Anyway she has had trouble working with people before but her stint with me happens to be most productive and longest.

    It is not like I didnt face problems. I was clever and most of the times fixed things up with the guys beforehand. It didn’t take long to convince the guys of the situation. With her we would concede defeat on issues that might have blown up otherwise. Sometimes talk really low of myself, trivialize details just to get her to try things she would otherwise never take up. I totally understand the fatigue Clarissa is subjected to, it feels distinctly different to work with mature men or women.

    Shenanigans, is something productive men and women manage to remove actively from their careers.

  64. Guy here, leading a team of 5 developers out of which one is a woman fitting this bill. I dare not say all women like you do! Anyway she has had trouble working with people before but her stint with me happens to be most productive and longest.

    It is not like I didnt face problems. I was clever and most of the times fixed things up with the guys beforehand. It didn’t take long to convince the guys of the situation. With her we would concede defeat on issues that might have blown up otherwise. Sometimes talk really low of myself, trivialize details just to get her to try things she would otherwise never take up. I totally understand the fatigue Clarissa is subjected to, it feels distinctly different to work with mature men or women.

    Shenanigans, is something productive men and women manage to remove actively from their careers. People who don’t, do stand out like a sore these days.

      • Didnt Varsha pretty much just say men and women are different, as in, he treats the woman in his employment in a specific way that it seems he doesnt treat his male employee’s? In fact, he has to explain to his male employee’s how its all going to work. Talk about infantilizing.

        • Behave differently and are different are two completely different things. I know you know that but just can’t let go of this thread. :-) :-)

      • I made it clear I was being specific with “fitting the bill”. It means my boss who is a woman does not surprise me with a problem of the day. She probably takes it out on some one else, but has that decency to not bring it to work.

        I am pissed enough to say, this is the typical padding I used to do. jeez JT

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