The proverbial “glass ceiling” is real, and can block women from reaching their full potential. There is a lot of work to be done here, but not all women are in a position to effect systemic change.

So what can women (and their allies) do in their daily lives and careers to close the gap? That’s the subject of Sally Helgesen’s book, How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job.

Helgesen’s groundbreaking research with thousands of women and companies over 30+ years reveals the fascinating differences between genders in the workplace, and the reasons some women struggle to claim credit for their achievements and vocalize their career aspirations — habits that often come more naturally to men.

In a corporate culture where achievements are rarely valued unless you shout them from the rooftops, women constantly balance perceptions of being “too aggressive” and not advocating for themselves enough.

Helgesen says, “why not both?” And she shares practical advice for women navigating these tricky waters.

Takeaways from this episode:

  • We can’t deny systemic bias, but we have the tools to overcome it on a daily basis by advocating for ourselves.
  • Misplaced loyalty: Sometimes we don’t want to jump to a new S Curve because we’re worried about our team or manager. But often, growing into a position of authority can help the team you love working with.
  • Women and men tend to be different––women tend to perceive themselves differently on their own S Curves. Women, don’t be shy about claiming mastery when you’ve earned it!
  • We have made progress: There’s always more work to do, but Sally’s research shows us how far we’ve come over the last 30 years.

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