If a man is in a managerial position and he’s demanding, he’s headed for the corner office. If a woman is demanding, she’s “hard to deal with”.
This is in reference to the recent firing of Jill Abramson to be replaced by her deputy editor Dean Baquet.
This article in the New Yorker is CHOCKFULL TO THE BRIM with every cliched gender based reason why the woman had to go that I have ever seen. What’s really astonishing is that the male underling complains to the publisher at dinner about his woman boss when it was that very woman boss who set him up for the dinner. Why am I not surprised? “Awww, she made a decision without consulting you? What a meany. Well, this is the last straw. She’s got to go. Hey, why don’t YOU take her job?”
Now, I have heard a lot of nice things about Dean Baquet. He’s a nice manager. He’s unfailingly polite. Everybody likes him. That sounds like it’s in contrast to Abramson who was probably just acting like an editor in her position. You would have thought that the 8 Pulitzers her paper has won since her tenure began would make a difference. Nope.
Here’s the problem with women in a corporation. Men act like adolescents who are dealing with their mothers. Or girlfriends. If she tries to get her work done and is assertive or needs to exercise authority, it is immediately seen as aggressive and she’s “hard to deal with” or “not a team player”. If she backs off and speaks softly and is genial and friendly like Dean Baquet, “she’s not up to the job” or “too passive”. Yeah, try swapping the two personalities. Would Jill Abramson ever become executive editor at the New York Times if she had been “unfailingly polite”, “genial” and well-liked? How about if Dean Baquet had been brusque and aggressive?
For every woman in power, there will always be a male in the group who will want her job and will use every gender stereotype to get her out of the way. It’s extremely easy for guys to manipulate cultural stereotypes to shape perceptions and move into positions of power. It’s extremely easy because no one stops it. It’s not all about the money, although that’s very important. It’s more about the lack of authority even if a woman is doing a good job.
I’ve seen it before. Usually, it’s the woman who has to consult a career coach to make sure she is not offending any man with her unreasonable demands to get stuff done. It never works.
That’s because it is the men who need the coaching. Better yet, Sulzberger should have just told Baquet to STFU and do what he was hired to do.
Yeah, yeah, I’m dreaming.