The limited episodic podcast is hosted by HBR magazine editors Sarah Green Carmichael, Amy Bernstein, and Nicole Torres. Topics such as sexual harassment, leadership, and work-life balance will be covered during the show’s run.
The podcast’s first episode, “Make Yourself Heard,” features sociolinguist Deborah Tannen. In it, Carmichael, Bernstein, Torres, and Tannen talk about the ups and downs of dealing with coworkers who constantly interrupt others as well as ways women can assert themselves in meetings when they feel their voices aren’t being heard.
During the hour, Tannen elaborated on her ‘90s era study, which showed how women are more likely than men to phrase their authoritative requests as questions in order to sound polite. She stated that although women in a leadership positions ask rather than demand in order to not come off as bossy, they consequently downplay their authority.
Tannen also referenced psychologist Laurie Heatherington’s study where hundreds of incoming university freshman were asked to predict the grades they expected to receive in their first year. Heatherington’s experiment method had half of the students write or state their predictions in public and the other half write down their predictions privately on a piece of paper.
The study found that women who answered publicly predicted lower grades for themselves than men did, and that, in private, women tended to predict about the same grades as men. The conclusion was that women did so in order to not come across as self-centered.
Another emphasis of the first episode was the need for workplaces where listening is highly valued. The need for people to speak up with ideas is just as important as teaching people how to listen to others who want to voice their ideas.
The extended audio format of a podcast opens the gate for in-depth conversations on current issues and successes for and about women in the workplace. As author Sallie Krawcheck states in her book “Own It: The Power of Women at Work,” the gender disparity in representation and compensation now calls for a deeper level of analysis. She writes that the conversation shouldn’t just be about women feeling empowered, it should be about them owning their power, and that navigation is key.
“The future is ours to seize,” Krawcheck wrote. “But we aren’t going to seize it by contorting ourselves into the male version of what power and success look like. Instead, we’re going to do it by embracing and investing in our true female selves—and bringing those badass selves proudly, unapologetically, to work.”
Upcoming episodes will focus on a variety of other situations women encounter in their careers, from unequal pay to being in a relationship where both partners are career-oriented.
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