Friday Five: Health, Being Heard and Negotiating Space, Time and Money

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Welcome back to the Friday Five! Another week of big news in tech and politics — don’t worry, I’ve kept the election reads to a minimum, since I know we all need a break. This week I’ve largely focused on different kinds of sexism in the workplace, from invasive questions about health, to lack of representation, to unconscious bias.

A reader forwarded me her recommended reads in the September 9 LinkedIn newsletter, saying that one article stood out from the pack — but not in a good way. In amongst pieces on career advancement, big business deals and, naturally, using LinkedIn, was a piece on weight loss. The article itself isn’t bad — it encourages women not to look to celebrities for fitness role models, since they, unlike most working women, dedicate several hours of each day to fitness and working with a trainer. But what’s strange is that it came bundled with career advice and business news. What are you trying to tell us, LinkedIn algorithm?


Which brings me to our first read of the week:

Your Weight Can Affect Your Job Prospects — But Only If You’re a Woman

According to a new study weight has a profound affect on women’s career prospect. “Researchers had 120 people (half men, half women) look at photos of 40 strangers’ faces two different times. They were instructed that the candidates were equally qualified and asked to rate how likely they would be to hire them for positions where they’d interact with customers (as in the retail and hospitality industries) and jobs where they would not.” While participants were less likely to hire a heavier woman for a customer-facing role, they showed no reluctance in hiring a heavier man for the same role. They were even less likely to hire women of “normal” weight, than they were heavier men.

Women at the White House Have Started Using a Simple, Clever Trick to Get Heard

White House staffers have a clever technique to stop men from interrupting them or taking credit for their ideas: they simply back each other up by repeating each other’s points, and credit each other with having done good work. Consistently amplifying each other’s work, as they put it, made it harder for men to run away with conversations, mansplain, or take credit for female staffers’ work. Teamwork, ladies!

The Sexist Speculation About Hillary’s Health

Jeet Heer argues that all this speculation about Hillary Clinton’s health is sexist — and probably beside the point. Although some concern about the health of the next president is natural, especially with two older candidates, the level of attention paid to this issue, in this election, has been higher than we’ve ever seen before. Heer says the attention plays into sexist stereotypes about men and women in the workplace, particularly to do with aging women. In Hollywood women reach their best before date at about 35 but men continue to have vibrant careers into their 90s, even booking action roles — so long as they can project masculine physicality. We often see this mirrored in the workplace, with even high powered executives being characterized as sweet grannies later in their career, while no one doubts Warren Buffet’s ability to keep making big money. I can’t help but think that how we’re talking about Clinton during this election will have longterm consequences for working women — and even working men. Whatever their age, how much do we really need to know about her health, his health and the health of our colleagues?

New Research Shows Women Do Ask for Raises As Often As Men—They Just Don’t Get Them

New research from the Cass Business School, University of Warwick and University of Wisconsin shows that women do ask for raises, and just as often as men do. But they don’t receive raises nearly as often. “Men were 25% more likely to get a pay rise, the study found. In other words, it is not that women don’t ask for more money, only that they don’t get it.” The study “examined data from the Australian Workplace Relations Survey (AWRS), which studied 4,600 randomly sampled workers across 840 Australian workplaces between 2013-2014.”

Apple Responds to Diversity Criticism: “We Had a Canadian” Onstage at iPhone 7 Event

Did you watch the iPhone 7 launch event? I didn’t, but I know a bunch of you did. Did you notice how, well, white the presentation team was? Over at Mic Melanie Ehrenkranz analyzes Apple’s response to her criticism of the lack of diversity on stage. For one thing, Apple told her that, hey, they’re so diverse they even had Canadians on stage!  Um.

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