There aren’t many women who attend the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, but those who do sure know how to make waves. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg told an audience this weekend that she believes employers should be able to speak freely with female employees about whether they plan to get pregnant. The question is considered taboo by HR departments (not to mention feminists) because it’s illegal (not to mention slimy) to discriminate against a job candidate or employee based on pregnancy status. Why is Sandberg, one of the top women in male-dominated Silicon Valley, in favor of changing the system? More
Burger King’s employee dress code includes pants, so when 17-year-old Ashanti McShan interviewed for a job as a cashier, she made sure to ask if she could wear a skirt instead. McShan’s Pentecostal religion only allowed her to wear skirts and dresses. At the interview, McShan was assured that she could wear a skirt instead, but when she arrived at work for orientation, a manager insisted that she had to leave. Now Burger King is paying up for its refusal to accommodate her religion. More
Last week, Goldman Sachs announced its annual promotions, in which 266 employees advance to become managing directors on January 1, while a smaller elite group becomes partners. As it turns out, women make up just 23% of those new managing directors, and 14% of the new partners. Meanwhile, a gender discrimination lawsuit against Goldman, accusing it of bias and an “outdate corporate culture,” winds it way through the court system. Why, after all these years and negative attention, do women still lag behind at Goldman?
Yes, seriously: About half of the wage gap between men and women can be explained by the fact that women tend to work in lower-paying industries than men. The field of engineering is dominated by men, while women dominate in elementary education. It’s a tricky question: Why do women persistently wind up “choosing” to earn less money? A new study proposes an answer. More
Sadly, we’ve gotten used to hearing about stories where women are discriminated against in the hiring process or on the job. That makes this story from Brenda Chapman, the woman behind the Pixar movie Brave, feel like such a surprising one: Chapman writes that when she was hired by Disney in 1987, she was explicitly told it was because she was a woman. More
Both male and female scientists are biased against women, according to a new study from researchers at Yale. Using the ol’ “evaluate identical job applications with different names attached” technique, researchers found scientists rated female applicants lower in competence and hireability, and — here’s the painful kicker — said they’d be less willing to mentor the women than men with identical qualifications. Oh, and they’d pay ‘em less, too. Oof. Science, am I right, ladies?
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Earlier this summer we wrote about how sometimes long hair, especially if it is a little wild, can be perceived as unprofessional. One of the people interviewed for that story, workplace. Alexandra F. Figueredo, said when she worked in banking she kept her naturally curly hair slicked back, because she thought it looked more professional. But do curls, even if they are very well-kept, come off as unprofessional? We talked to some women about this.
Jessica Kupferman told The Grindstone:
“I have had curly hair all my life and I can tell you, many of us curly haired gals straighten when we go on a job interview so we don’t seem too “crazy” or wild-minded. I know I often do. In my more corporate days, when I wanted to be taken really seriously, I would straighten my hair – and it was much longer and took me an hour. I’m not sure WHY there’s that mindset – almost as if curls are created by some insanity brainwaves and therefore can’t be trusted – but even women with curly hair will tell you, we act accordingly. And men never seem to have this problem. I’ve never met a man interested in straightening his hair, ever.”
There are plenty of ways that politics can influence hiring practices. Normally, we see civil rights as helping minorities to fight off discrimination. But the current immigration debate might have hurt one woman’s job search. How? Well even though she’s a US citizen, she has a Mexican birth certificate. And after months of interviews, she became pretty sure that her foreign birth was holding her back. More
A Muslim woman has sued the US Commission on International Religious Freedom for discrimination. In a horribly ironic story, the government agency that’s charged with protecting religious rights seems to have discriminated against an employee for her own religion. The woman’s story is a horrible indictment against the government agency, but it was also encouraging to see how seriously the case was taken by lawmakers. More
How’s this for a stressful interview question: During Edward Wolfe’s second interview for a job at a lighting company, a branch manager asked him to list every church he had attended over the past few years, along with where, when, and how he was “saved.” The manager also asked him if he would be OK with arriving to work early to attend a Bible study — without pay. Now — surprise, surprise! – Wolfe is suing the company.
Do women pay a higher price for cursing at work than men do? Just ask former Yahoo! head Carol Bartz, notorious for her cursing on the job. (Here’s video of her telling a tech journalist to “F— off!”) According to a fascinating new article about cursing on the job in the Wall Street Journal, other directors at Yahoo! “discouraged her frequent use of swear words.” When a Journal reporter chastised Bartz for over-using the F word during her Yahoo tenure, she spat back, “And Jack Welch doesn’t?” More