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    September 2011
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How To Deal With Women In The Workplace

Nairobi, September 25th 2011- For all intents and purposes, business remains a man’s world. But there are two very positive trends that indicate that the future organization will be a more representative one.

First, there are more women filling the higher echelons at large and small organizations. Second, schools are showing more women than men are in most business disciplines, and not just in female-friendly areas like marketing and human resources management, but in finance and management information system (MIS) as well.

As men enter the business world, they should realize that internally, they are competing with women for jobs, promotions and contracts. Externally, women are increasingly at the other end of the transaction, leaving us in the interesting but delicate predicament of having to negotiate with the stronger sex.

After all, men — we are told — think with the wrong head, effectively giving women the upper hand. Jokes (and puns) aside, over the next two decades, opportunities will only amplify for women, and men will increasingly face uphill battles.

Is this fair? No, but business was never and to a large extent is still not — fair for women. Oftentimes, women not only had to work harder to reap the same rewards as men, but family priorities made them swallow setbacks in their professional paths that men would never have to face.

Does working with women make a difference? Of course it does. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. Broadly speaking, there are two separate codes of conduct when it comes to working with women. The first deals with the situation of women at your company, the second deals with women outside your organization.

Believe you me; women will increasingly be given the benefit of the doubt, so you have no choice but to be on your best behavior. Consider yourself warned.

The first obvious consideration is a woman’s rank. If she is above you, then you need to tread very carefully. No matter how ambitious, confident and driven a woman may be, she has endured her fair share of naysayers; so the last thing you should do is question her authority.

Conversely, she wants to be treated like anyone else, so do not go out of your way to kiss her butt. Just treat her the way you would want your mother or sister to be treated by their male colleagues or subordinates. In fact, this is the rule of thumb for how you should interact with all women in business (well, not the ones you want to date, but that is another story, so read on).

If she is under you, bear in mind that she may not always be beneath you. The tricky area here is simple: men are (or is it should be ) chivalrous by nature and sometimes end up showing more courtesy to a female employee than a male one.

Frankly, this is not appropriate even though some of us just cannot help it. In other words, a female employee should get the same treatment as her male counterparts, but human nature often dictates otherwise.

You do not believe me? How often do you see the affectionate receptionist or seductive administrative assistant join senior management’s table at company outings? She might want to think that she is invited into the elite circle because she is quick on her feet, but according to her male counterparts (who wish they were sitting at the big boys’ table), she is good on her knees.
Alternately, some men seem to treat women with a shocking lack of respect because they are women. I could tell you why this is not advisable, but merely from an ethical perspective, my general rule is to show others the courtesy and respect that you would want them to reciprocate.

Adapted from www.careerpointkenyajobs.co.ke


One Response

  1. Women make good workers good to give them opportunities…

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