So we call in the expert to assist us with this conversation. Anneli Blundell, author: The Gender Penalty: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities for Women at Work.
Natalie and Anneli, delve into the challenges faced by women in the workplace. In particular, the impact of gender stereotypes on performance conversations and pay raises.
Anneli’s expertise in executive coaching and her experience with women at work programs shed light on the practical strategies needed to address these issues. This blog post aims to summarize their insightful discussion and highlight key takeaways for navigating performance conversations in a way that empowers women.
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The inspiration behind the Book
Anneli, an “accidental feminist,” initially questioned why so many women needed help in their careers. However, through her coaching practice, she noticed distinct patterns between the challenges faced by male and female clients.
For example, women often receive feedback that they lacked the gravitas and executive presence associated with leadership, despite their competence. Anneli recognizes that society undervalues the unique strengths women bring due to traditional gender stereotypes.
Therefore, motivated to address this issue, she developed a Women at Work program to help women navigate a leadership landscape designed by men. And from here the Book evolved.
Understanding the Gender Penalty
The gender penalty refers to the repercussions faced by individuals who defy gender stereotypes. Men, for example, may face backlash if they show vulnerability or emotion in the workplace. Similarly, women who aim to be more assertive and exhibit leadership qualities receive criticism for being too aggressive or boastful.
Furthermore, women find themselves in a challenging position. Particularly, where conforming to societal expectations may hinder their growth, while defying stereotypes brings social penalties. Therefore, striking a balance between authenticity and competence becomes crucial for women in performance conversations. In addition, Harvard Business Review research suggests, employers need to stop undervaluing exceptional women.
Gender Penalty in performance conversations
During performance reviews, the gender penalty manifests in multiple ways. Research shows that women tend to underestimate their abilities and subsequent performance, while men often overestimate theirs. This disparity can impact a woman’s confidence in asking for a pay raise.
Additionally, self-assessments may lead women to undervalue their achievements, potentially affecting their performance evaluations. Research suggests that women are less inclined to self-promote than men. Anneli advises women to be aware of these tendencies and consider the value that they add.
You can listen to the podcast for the many great questions to ask yourself here.
Continuing the conversation
The conversation between Natalie and Anneli shed light on the gender penalty women face in the workplace and the impact it has on performance conversations, including pay raises. Understanding the challenges associated with gender stereotypes is essential for both individuals and organizations striving to do better.
Whether you are involved in developing annual performance systems, coaching managers, a manager embarking on the performance season, or getting yourself ready for your own performance review, this is a webinar that we are all going to benefit from.
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