Welcome to Glorious & Cash – Les Glorieuses launched this newsletter to talk about why money is power and matters for gender equality. In partnership with Women’s March Global, we’re taking this revolution worldwide. It’s written by Arièle Bonte.
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Who benefits from the myth of rivalry between women in the office?, by Arièle Bonte
There is this idea that women working together would inevitably be rivals. This myth – because yes, it is a myth – persists despite studies that prove otherwise.
Tell me more about it.
An article published last December in the Harvard Business Review showed by A+B there is « no empirical evidence supporting the notion that women are more mean-spirited, antagonistic, or untrustworthy in dealing with other women than men are in dealing with other men ». To affirm this, the authors of the article, Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris, have researched and dusted off a handful of scientific studies in their book, It’s Not You It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work and the Bias that Built It. So why is this view of women bickering in meetings still so widespread?
« We believe the answer lies in a fundamental misunderstanding of why women sometimes have fraught work relationships with other women. It’s not because they have some unique, female psychological characteristic, it’s because of workplace discrimination, » Kramer and Harris postulate.
It all makes sense.
Some jobs are exclusively – or almost – occupied by men while others by women. In terms of hierarchy, men dominate a large majority of positions of power, imposing so-called « male » norms, values and expectations on their employees. Because of gender bias and what Kramer and Harris call « affinity bias » (giving responsibility to someone who looks like us), women are unlikely to be appointed to positions of power. This is where the competition between women begins, Kramer and Harris say.
What are the consequences?
For women who reach executive or management positions, they are torn between the role they have to play (leading a team, a project, being assertive, etc.) and the role expected by society (being gentle, mothering, listening). The results? These women may appear cold, selfish or hostile. Whereas a man with the same behaviour will just be seen (and recognised) as someone doing his job.
What about leaders with (really) toxic behaviour?
Then yes, they do exist and that’s why Annik Houel, professor of social psychology at the University of Lyon II, wrote the book Rivalités féminines au travail (« Feminine rivalries at work »). She explains in L’Express that women in a position of power can indeed come to convey « male discourse (…) making sexist remarks, for example » and sometimes falling « into harassment, verbal and psychological violence ». But the existence of these women are in a clear minority compared to men with equally toxic behaviour, reports Le Temps, and in no way prove the existence of what American researchers in the 1970s called the « queen bee syndrome ».
How to act?
Instead of cultivating sexist stereotypes of women in the office, it’s time to analyse them, says Annik Houel in Le Temps. « Because it’s quite practical this way: while they’re busy arguing among themselves, women don’t think about climbing the ladder of hierarchy, they don’t question the dominant position of men. » Just imagine for a short time that this deconstruction would take place: it would mean more women in positions of responsibility, more parity, gender balance, equal pay and therefore better performance for companies, healthier relations between all human beings and, finally, happier employees. Shall we start right away?
Madrinas is the programme – and the community – launched by The Family in the beginning of this year to « feminize the largely male-dominated world of investment, » says Salomé Taieb, who is in charge of the programme. Women of all ages and from all industries are invited to the table with one thing in common: capital to invest. « The aim is to demystify startup investment, to show women that it’s not more complicated than that and that anyone can do it. » Next workshop March 10th. All the info can be found here.
Other program launched by The Family and this time aimed at those of you who want to get started: Goldup. The promise: 5 days of training to launch your online business. Next session starting April 4th. You can find out more about the terms and conditions here.
The Equally Work platform proposes an ingenious idea: adapting the famous Bechdel test to the world of work. To pass it, all you have to do is ask these three questions in a meeting: 1. are there at least two women in the meeting? 2. during the meeting, did these two women share their opinions or ideas together? 3. Were they able to do so without being interrupted by a man? Are we putting into practice this week and taking stock on Friday?
👭#GloriousandSpending👭Tired of the invisibility of
women on Youtube? Give a boost to creation by participating in the financing of Badass, a series on the channel Les Fanatiques, carried in particular by journalist Nora Bouazzouni. The goal ? 10,000 euros!
Notebook « The feminist revolution starts here »
SOLD OUT ! The pink/french version is no more available ! But you can still find our beautiful notebooks, in French blue, and in English, in blue or pink.
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Arièle Bonte is a French journalist specialized in equality, gender and sexuality. For three years she was leading RTL Girls, for RTL.fr. Today she’s an independent journalist but she still has the same goal: spread the news through the gender prism. She also wrote a novel « Le Chaos des décibels » (Librinova), and she’s the author of the newsletter « Spell it out » about modern witchcraft. Her dream is to meet Lana Del Rey, to travel around the world and to have a green thumb.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER
For more than a 100 years, L’Oréal has been dedicated to beauty. With its international flotilla of 36 brands and its 86.000 employees, the Group achieved 26.9 billion euros of sales, its best year of sales growth in more than 10 years in 2018.
L’Oréal has long been a leader in gender equality. Worldwide, as of 2018, women account for 69% of our workforce, 47% of our management committee members, 31% of our Executive Committee members and 54% of our key positions.
L’Oréal firmly believes in Diversity and Inclusion, and is convinced that Women’s leadership must be promoted in order to achieve a more
inclusive workplace. Its commitments across the years have marked the Group as one of the leading organisations globally: in 2018, women represent 46% of the board membership, 54% of the Group’s key positions, and 66% of the Global brand general managers. L’Oréal was ranked Top gender-balanced company in Europe by Equileap in 2018 and is among the TOP 100 companies in the Bloomberg 2018 Gender Equality Index.