Summary of What Works for Women at Work

Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know

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What Works for Women at Work book summary
It’s tougher for women to succeed at work than men. Here’s why – and what you can do about it.


8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Women must shrewdly manage office politics because, unlike their favored male counterparts, they must cope with gender bias. Hastings College law professor Joan C. Williams and her daughter, Rachel Dempsey, thoroughly explore this unavoidable truth in their intelligent manual for working women. The duo interviewed successful women from a variety of fields and identified four patterns of gender bias: “Prove-It-Again!, The Tightrope, The Maternal Wall and The Tug of War.” They describe each pattern and how it affects working women. Then, they offer strategies to mitigate the effects of gender bias so you can cope with this unavoidable, but not unconquerable, blockade. getAbstract recommends their tactics to working women everywhere.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What four patterns shape gender bias in the workplace,
  • How each pattern affects working women and
  • What strategies mitigate gender discrimination.


Stealthy Sexism
In years past, the workplace accepted pervasive, overt sexism. Men cavalierly asked women to fetch coffee, do the drudge work, dress femininely and keep quiet. Lawsuits and societal changes drove such blatant gender discrimination underground. Women now graduate from college...
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About the Authors

Joan C. Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, wrote Unbending Gender and Family Conflict and What to Do About It. Her daughter and co-author, Rachel Dempsey, is a law student at Yale University.

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