Why women shouldn't make tea at work

Why women shouldn't make tea at work

Although women have made strides at breaking the ‘glass ceiling’ at work, successive research suggests females are still lagging behind their male counterparts.

One of the theories accounting for women’s’ inability to be on equal footing with men is that females are not ‘pushy’ enough to ask for pay rises.

However, a new study has shown that females are just as likely as men to ask for a pay rise, but are less likely to get one, the Cass Business School and the universities of Warwick and Wisconsin have found.

So why is there still a disparity? Two successful businesswomen, Sue Unerman, Chief Strategic Officer of MediaCom, and Kathryn Jacob, CEO of Pearl & Dean, have written a book which aims to get beneath the setbacks facing women, and offers advice and strategies on how to excel their careers.

The Daily Mail has collated the main points, as extracted from the book, 'The Glass Wall: Success Strategies For Women At Work'.

1.      Watch what you say - “You have to be aware that every word you say in any workplace setting is taken literally and might be used against you.

“There’s no such thing as downtime with your colleagues, even if you think there is. When you are in the workplace, you’re on - and that includes in the bar after work as well.”

2.      Don’t make the tea “Never, ever pour the tea and coffee if you are the only woman in the meeting.” This could lead to inadvertent exploitation where fairness should be promoted.

They suggest that males and females begin on an equal footing when they start their careers, but women’s career trajectory slows down after their late twenties. This is usually accounted for with maternity leave - although no research confirms this – and it’s probably due to a lack of confidence.

Walking fast around the building, sitting near to the CEO in a meeting and sending emails after hours are ways to show confidence. They advise to self-promote unreservedly - the way a man would.

3.      Roar like a lioness – They cite a Harvard Medical School study, which found that those who repressed frustration were three times more likely to say they had reached a glass ceiling.

“Don’t throw a temper tantrum every week. But very occasionally, let it be known that you are a lioness, not a pussycat, when provoked. Don’t sweat the small stuff - save your anger for when it will count,” the book suggests.

4.      Think like a man – A study showed that women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they felt they met 100% of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they met 60% of the job requirements. 

“Ask for the job you want. Ask for the help you need. Be clear, and don’t take any setbacks personally. It will not help.”

5.      Offer an opinion - and the more it goes against the grain, the better.

6.      Lie – “I would say to any mother, if you need to stay home because one of your children is sick, don’t tell the truth. Say that you feel ill. No one will question you - you’re not going to do this every week. But if you say that you’re staying at home because of a child having a temperature, everyone will disapprove of you as it means that essentially, because you are healthy, you could work from home.”

7.      Build your brand – “You could set out to be known for being a ‘safe pair of hands’, or choose ‘creativity’. The idea is to commit to a brand persona. Identify with it, work out what it means, then go out of your way to become known for it.”

Comments (1)

  • Boris
    Tue, 6 Sep 2016 12:18pm BST
    I'm sorry, so you should lie about the reasons for not going to work? That's daft, it shouldn't matter if your kids are sick. Plus, not pouring the tea is fair enough but not if it means you'll miss out on a beverage because every male in the room can't lift a cup. Pour yourself one but don't 'play mother' and do the entire room, much more sensible.

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