On February 26th, YaleWomen Chicago hosted author Joanne Lipman to discuss the gender gap between men and women at work -- the topic of Lipman’s recently published book, That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together. (Elisa Spungen Bildner’s interview of Joanne Lipman – the former Chief Content Officer of publishing company Gannett and Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY and the USA TODAY NETWORK -- appeared in the June 2017 issue of this enewsletter.)
Lipman’s book is particularly timely in the wake of the #MeToo movement and recent news about predatory behavior in the workplace. To Lipman, predatory behavior in the workplace is just a sign of other systemic issues of gender inequality in the workplace.
Lipman talked about how unconscious bias – bias that is buried so deeply that we don’t know it exists – affects workplaces and perpetuates the gender gap, even at companies that have implemented policies to push for gender equity. She also highlighted how there is a sizeable respect gap between men and women: between a man and a woman with the same title, the man will get more respect and more power, which translates into more pay.
Lipman recommended several strategies to help close the gender gap in office culture, including implementing a “no interruption” rule during meetings; using the strategy of amplification – having one colleague repeat another woman’s ideas so that she gets the credit for it; and also forming brag buddies – having a friend brag about your work – as a way to get more recognition for one’s work.
One of the rallying cries of the book – and a point Lipman emphasized during the talk -- is the importance of getting women back into the workforce. Lipman asserts this could add up to $2.1 trillion to the gross domestic product of the U.S. economy over the next two decades.
The YaleWomen Chicago event was a great success. Over 30 Yale women alums attended and feedback was hugely positive, with a first-time YaleWomen Chicago event attendee praising the “open dialogue” with Lipman and the opportunity to meet alums in the area. Another alum called it “a genuine treat” in a nice setting, with an interactive audience, welcoming environment, and engaging topic.
According to the organizers of the event, “Identifying the subliminal bias messages through conversation is our first action. Recognizing the need for improvement, resisting old patterns, and being intentional about our strategies to increase respect, equal pay, and recognition will be a catalyst for change.”
Susie Krentz ’80, Margot McMahon ’84 MFA, Wendy Greenhouse ’77, MA ’82, MPhil ’84, PhD ’89, Becky Huinker ’93, and Stephanie Yu Lim ’00 contributed to this article.
Photo courtesy of YaleWomen Chicago.