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It’s been a tough few years for women, and they can’t even claim the silver lining of true equality in their careers, despite recent claims of a shattered glass ceiling. This week’s guest has made it her mission to help bridge the career gap for women.
Award-winning advisor, speaker, and Rhodes Scholar Christie Hunter Arscott has been named one of the top management thinkers likely to shape the future of business by Thinkers50. Her book, “Begin Boldly: How Women Can Reimagine Risk, Embrace Uncertainty, and Launch a Brilliant Career,” has been chosen to help celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Rhodes Trust. Her book aims to help women learn how to succeed in an environment made for men and, one day, change that system.
WOMEN BRIDGING THE CAREER GAP
Despite some claims to the contrary, it’s clear that the gender gap hasn’t been eliminated yet. Arscott points out that well-known studies have shown men will apply for a role even if they aren’t completely qualified, whereas women apply only for jobs where they meet requirements 100% — or are overqualified!
These studies showed Arscott that “there’s a gap that women need to close more than men. So how do we actually create a custom toolkit to help women get their head around risk-taking?”
Because risk-taking, as so many of our guests have told us, is essential for growth and success. But “the world reacts differently to women than men. That’s just the reality.” So when failure, which goes hand-in-hand with risk-taking, happens, women might react differently — or others might react differently to women than to men. “So we have to create more supports embedded into the system and gender intelligent tools to deal with that. [...] It’s saying, you know, when you do this, this is how you prepare.”
This may sound like women have to work with the system when many of us want and need the system to change. Arscott understands this: “I wish I could change society, but while we’re waiting for organizations and society to change, we have to equip ourselves to deal with these conversations [and] barriers in the meantime.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSIDERING INTERSECTIONALITY
Women aren’t the only ones struggling to jump that gap to success. Intersectionality is something we must consider, as well. Arscott explains that “if you’re a woman that’s underrepresented from another aspect of your identity as well, then you’re going [to] need some of these supports and tools more.”
This is why Arscott also does broader inclusion work with companies, advising and coaching them on how to be more inclusive. She tackles the language used in job descriptions, such as asking for “preferreds” rather than “requirements,” and she reminds recruiters that they need to consider broader outreach. No more can employers use the excuse of “not finding” leaders from certain underrepresented groups; “We need to stop that narrative [of] ‘They don’t exist,’ because they do.”
HOW LEADERS AND ORGANIZATIONS CAN CLOSE THE GAPS
With legal support systems and rights being taken from women and underrepresented groups, Arscott emphasizes the role of organizations in helping to support their employees, current or prospective. When it comes to legislative changes like affirmative action, organizations have to consider questions like, “What do [legislative changes] mean for companies? And how will their policies look?”
Everyone, Ascott reminds us, “has affinity bias. We’re more likely to gravitate toward people like us, and that impacts our purchasing decisions, who we hear in the room, who we invite to sit at the table, who we promote. And so we really have to be conscious of that.”
Leaders can’t just sit back and ignore their bias. They have to accept it and learn how to broaden their perspective despite it. “I always say, ‘Instead of walking into a room and looking at who’s around the table, look at who’s not around the table that should be, and invite them to join.’ [T]hose simple flips of the script and mindsets really help.”
Tune into the full episode to learn more about Arscott’s views on recent legislative changes related to women and underrepresented groups and what her book provides for women looking to bridge the career gap for themselves!
Our Motivational Mondays guests provide amazing advice for pursuing leadership and success. Check out our recent episode on unleashing your leadership edge to give your career journey a boost.
Listen to this episode to learn about...
- [1:49] Why Arscott wrote “Begin Boldly”
- [4:50] The questions professional women are asked that men aren’t
- [8:21] Equipping women with tools to navigate expectations in their careers and at home
- [9:29] Addressing concerns for those navigating intersectional identity in the workplace
- [12:41] Gaps in early-career support for women
- [13:53] How Arscott coaches companies to improve support for women and underrepresented groups
- [18:54] Arscott’s thoughts on recent movements against inclusive policies
- [19:40] Employers’ responsibility to care for employees’ health and psychological wellbeing
- [27:07] Arscott’s suggestions for limiting the effects of affinity bias
Catch the Members Only episode to hear Arscott’s advice for avoiding living in an echo chamber.
Work with Arscott and boost your career.
Build your professional toolkit with Arscott’s book, “Begin Boldly: How Women Can Reimagine Risk, Embrace Uncertainty, and Launch a Brilliant Career.”
Find more tangible advice in Arscott’s writings.
Listen to other Motivational Mondays episodes.