Should a woman act more like a man at work?

Jobs for Mums December 04, 2017

If you're a female feminist we're sure you flaring up wondering how we could ever think of debating a subject like this. We know. When this blog title idea was pitched in one of our brainstorming meetings most of us had the same reaction.
However 20minutes later we realised that we had come up with some very valuable points, examples and scenarios which are blog worthy, some of which might even be considered  controversial, so we thought we'd give you all a back-stage pass to our brainstorming session. Word of warning, there are two sides to every argument, ultimately, we're all have the same mission - to inspire, motivate and empower women to reach their full potential no matter what that may be.  

So, should a woman act more like a man?

Let's start from our initial reaction to this question. Absolutely, definitely 'NO'. Alone the word 'act' doesn't sit right with us. So, we didn't even flutter an eyelash. Women should be successful because they are themselves. A woman shouldn't have to dress like a man or act like a man to be successful.
BUT. Yes BUT.  You didn't think this was the end of it? The famous three letter word took this session to the next level.

'What about women who possess the stereotypical male characteristics?'

Now on this note, we just have to point out that reserach suggests that being assertive, authoritative and dominant are behaviors usually associated with men and typically are not considered to be attractive in women.
Let's face it, if a man takes a stand, the world perceives him to be strong and is respected for that - we admire and applaud him. If a woman had to do the same, we'd describe her by some other less attractive words and very probably dislike her. 
Of course we are saying that you need to ba authentic, reflect truely who you are - and what if you posses the stereoptypical characteristics generally admired in men but not in women? Well you probabaly secretly are admired too - because you own them and not becuse you act them! - However you may right now be admitting to yourself that you do often face some likability challanges none the less. 
So we are saying that men and women are expected to 'act' a certain way based on their gender? Really? ... The answer 99% of the times is YES! Look around you, we're certain you can come up with a couple examples of your own. 
Then and there the conversation took an interesting twist.

Are women actually ready to own who they really are?

Are females willing to show their leadership skills, are they comfortable being assertive and decisive or do they take a step back for they fear that they will not be liked? Realistically, in general, men highly self-rate their own leadership skills and their ability to tackle management and challenges. Most women don't and that's a fact.
Here's an interesting example. The board of directors called a male manager to the board room and congratulated him for a job well done. He thanked them and asked them if this would mean that his performance bonus would increase. Next the board called a female manager to the board room and also congratulated her on her exceptional work. She told them she was surrounded by a strong team and she appreciates their ongoing support.
Do you see what we mean? Shocking - but true.
On this note a team member quickly pointed out that a Stanford study found that “masculine women” received 1.5 times more promotions than “feminine women.” They also received 2 times as many promotions as “feminine men.” According to this research women who display masculine traits are more successful in the workplace. Sounds familiar? Do you relate? If you do here’s a must-read
So, hand on your heart - do women intentionally keep themselves back because they fear to loose to the likeability test? We think that this is unfortunate yet true.

Is workplace diversity a good thing?

We threw another idea to the mix and involved Google in our heated debate. We found a study by researchers at the University of Florida which confirmed that workplace diversity increases productivity and gives companies a creative edge by “increasing marketing opportunities, recruitment, creativity, and business image.
So why are we telling people with more feminine leadership traits that they need to be the ones to change? so the more diversity in thought, personality and opinion we have in the workplace the better we will be.

At this point you're probably wondering what our verdict is.  

Well for starters, women really do bring a unique style of behaviour to the workplace, an attitude and aura which is needed, especially in today's climate, so thinking in terms of men versus women not only lessens equality for women it limits our collective future potential. Furthermore, certain women (or certain men) have the potential to be excellent leaders, so ultimately we need to make sure that there is a level playing field and that individuals who have leadership skills (no matter if they’re male or female) don’t keep themselves back, are supported and have the opportunity to benefit from flexible working and other incentives which would ensure that they are allowed to thrive, take their career to the next level and achieve greatness for the brands that they work for.

So that's where we stand. What about you?

We are shifting this debate to all of you. What are your thoughts? Do you have any experiences you'd like to share? We'd love to hear you. Our debate continues on our FB page so drop us a comment or send us an email on

image credit to Jrg Stb