Women have been left out of leadership opportunities due to stereotyping and their societal conditioning to stay quiet and select service-centered careers such as teaching, nursing or being an assistant. Leadership expert Carol Sankar explains that women limit their potential by over-explaining, over-apologizing and not speaking up about their value. Though she doesn’t address systemic patriarchal issues, Sankar offers concrete examples and helpful talking points as she explains how to communicate assertively and attain the high-level opportunities you deserve.
Stereotypes and the “pink perception” keep women from reaching the executive suite.
When author Carol Sankar was a child, she told a teacher she wanted to become a federal judge. The teacher chastised her for harboring such an unrealistic wish. Sankar changed her answer and said she wanted to be a teacher to avoid further scoldings and persecution from her peers.Society normalizes certain career choices – such as nursing, teaching or being a receptionist or assistant – as women-centered, thus perpetuating the stereotype that a woman’s job is to serve others. The shortage of women in other careers reflects the fear women may feel about asking for opportunities outside the service-oriented norm.
This hesitation to speak up also has its roots in social conditioning that tells women to be nice. The “nice girl” is often passive, compliant, servile and outwardly pleasant. This stereotype boxes women into the pink perception, an image of quiet servitude based on norms and expectations that ultimately affect women’s socioeconomic well-being and sustain the gender pay gap. If you don’t speak up and advocate your worth, people...