Women and even feminine-faced men assumed to be poor negotiators

make yourself heardWomen’s reticence to negotiate is often blamed for part of the gender pay gap, with naysayers claiming ‘you get what you ask for’. Yet more research shows that stereotypes about women who do attempt to negotiate are often a bigger part of the problem. The journal of Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes reported that people of both genders were more likely to want to negotiate against women -and even men who had feminine facial features.

This implies women, and even men who look like them, are poor negotiators and therefore more appealing adversaries. The researchers at Cornell University found ‘people were systematically more aggressive to feminine featured faces – they were more demanding and would send in offers that compromised less.  The only upside for women? Become a good negotiator and you’ll surprise the other side of the table – who expect less from you.

What ‘Coder Barbie’ Should Have Said

Barbie I can be... booksMattel’s Barbie’s new range of “I can be” books has high hopes; featuring career choices such as presidents or sports players but still falls wide of the mark. We could potentially forgive ‘computer engineer’ Barbie needing help to reboot her computer, a skill she should’ve mastered by now? We’d even turn an eye at the pink heart shaped USB stick hanging round her neck, but when she utters those fatal words: “I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” Needless to say, the twittersphere was hot with ‘suggestions for improvement’.

We love ‘Barbie Remixed’ by Casey Fiesler, which features suggested amendments to the book which has Barbie narrating: “Really good games are made by a team of people. I’m doing some of the coding now, but Stephen and Brian are helping, too. There are lots of pieces to making a game, like art and music and storyline. Brian drew that puppy. You’re a good artist, Skipper. Maybe you could be a graphic designer when you grow up.” Skipper grins.“I love art, but I really love science, too. Physics is my favourite class. I think I want to be a physicist.”

Like all good code, we hope Mattel’s version of their story is an ongoing work in progress.

‘Advice to my Daughters: Why Young Women need Feminism More than Ever’

Emma Watson UN speechNow I’m working with InclusIQ, I notice more to share with my daughters. The recent Emma Watson speech at the UN certainly was a great springboard for discussion, as it might be for your own children. I tell my three daughters to aim high; with hard work and commitment they can achieve anything. This is true, but sadly it’s not just their attitude and zest for achievement that will affect their path.

Recent research by Girl Guilding shows 87% of female 11-21 year olds feel they are judged more on appearance than ability. Three out of 4 (75%) say sexism affects most areas of their lives. This is disappointing, but all the more reason to support girls who get involved in campaigns such as the Everyday Sexism Project and No More Page 3. Girls are taking a stand and ensuring their future is one they have a say in.

Julie Bentley, Girl Guiding CEO told the BBC, girls: “can do anything that they set their minds to”. They produced a short film and dedicated it to all party leaders, explaining why girls and young women play a vital role in society. They want the support of parliament to ensure a ‘future that truly sees parity between men and women’.

Ellie Dibben, also of Girl Guides explains: ‘People are beginning to understand society isn’t as equal as we thought and young women are no longer content to remain a silent group within society. We are the voters of tomorrow and government needs to take our views into account’.

Girl Guides are taking on a more proactive role calling directly on politicians to:

  • Listen to their concerns about harassment.
  • Requesting schools teach body confidence and gender equality.
  • Address harmful sexualised content in mainstream media.
  • Guarantee women will be equally represented in parliament.

Girl Guides give young women aspirations; with initiatives such as ‘Camp CEO’ which partners them with female executives from a range of sectors. It’s a great way to help girls consider leadership roles.

The best advice for my daughters? Be true to yourself, work hard in all core subjects – and get plenty of exposure to strong women. If they feel inspired into action by Emma Watson’s speech all the better. At the end of the day our children shape our future.

By guest blogger Wendy Rundle

$1 contraceptive shot for world’s poorest women

3rd world countries toWomen in the developing world will now be able to buy the contraceptive device, ‘Sayana Press’, for £1 or receive it free. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund, are extending access to new contraceptive injections for women in 69 of the world’s poorest countries.

The BBC describe ‘Sayana Press’ as simple and pre-packaged so doesn’t rely on preparation by health workers; reducing risk of spillage or dosing errors. The device is single-use so cuts infection due to needle-sharing and works for 3 months.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 222m women in developing countries would choose to use contraception but don’t have access. Only 26% African women use contraception, a figure that’s doubled in the past two decades – but remains low for a region where women want safe, affordable and reliable contraceptives.

Kadidia Diallo, a midwife in Burkina Faso, West Africa, the first country to be offered the pilot contraceptive injection spoke to the BBC saying: ‘Normally for injections you have to put them in someone’s bottom, or the top of their leg, but with this – you use the arm. That’s an advantage for women living in the bush. Many women don’t come forward for injections if they have to pull their dresses up – this is more discreet.’

Basic health, prosperity, equality and access to contraceptives are essential to secure a sustainable world. Head of Global Development at the Gates Foundation, Dr Chris Elias, said in The Independent: ‘When women are able to plan their families, they are more likely to survive pregnancy and childbirth, to have healthier newborns and children, and to invest more in their families’ health and wellbeing’.

It’s a sentiment shared by the women demanding contraceptives themselves. Rahimata Tiendrébéogo, who is 18 and from Burkina Faso, wants to attend university to study English: “It’s not good for people to have babies so young because they are students…they don’t have money or the means to bring up children. I’m independent and I want to be responsible.” More women like Tiendrébéogo can take control of their bodies and choose to use birth control, something we in the West take for granted.

Ban Julien “rape evangelist” Blanc from UK – Sign the Petition

 As the 21st November draws near, we are watching carefully to see if the UK will follow the good examples of Australia and Brazil to take a stand against the sexist, misogynistic and racist Julien Blanc. The ‘Pick-Up Artist’ is due on our shores this week. He hosts ‘dating advice’ events where men pay up to £1,250 to learn how to emotionally, and in many cases, physically manipulate women into having sex with them. Teaching harassment is not a skill the UK needs. It’s bad enough that one in five British women have been victims of sexual violence since the age of 16. With tutorials that will only contribute to a culture of this violence, Blanc is offering a pick-up seminar in London on November 21 – dismally, it’s already fully booked.

Blanc provides seminars to “make girls BEG to sleep with you after SHORT-CIRCUITING their emotional and logical mind into a million reasons why they should”. One of Blanc’s tactics for ‘breaking the ice’ is to grab the heads of female strangers and thrust them toward his crotch. Another of his ‘approaches’ is to grab women in a choke-hold, while he puts his finger on his lips and whispers ‘Shh’. We don’t need more misogyny on our shores. According to The Ministry of Justice over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year in England and Wales.

Anti-Blanc social media campaigns have gathered pace in recent days, with Twitter users sharing pictures of his hand around the throats of women posted with his disgusting hashtag #ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld. Online petitions are putting pressure on the Home Office and Theresa May to deny Julien Blanc a UK Visa. More than 150,000 people have signed a change.org petition, drawn up by a city worker using the pseudonym Caroline Charles to protect herself from abuse, and over 129,000 the avaaz.org community petition. Forced to cut short a visit to Australia following widespread protests, Blanc was subsequently denied visas in Australia and Brazil for his misogyny and racism.

As yet there has been no official comment from The Home Office but Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary and Lynne Featherstone, have added their voices to the calls with Featherstone telling The Guardian: ‘As the Home Office minister with responsibility for tackling violence against women and girls, I am extremely concerned by the sexist and utterly abhorrent statements Julien Blanc has made about women’.

We don’t normally advocate for petitions, but knowing that a man who routinely advises his audiences: “If you’re a white male, you can do what you want. I’m just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head …on the dick’ means action must be taken. Please sign one of the above petitions as the UK is better off without Blanc’s ‘lessons’. The UK must show more respect for women and follow Australia and Brazil’s lead; let’s ensure his visa is revoked.

Are all the misogynists working in technology?

techonologyOur sister company, The InclusIQ Institute’s inbox was inundated with comments about a technology site ‘codebabes.com’ that aims to reward novice coders with page 3 style photos for every piece of new code they learn. No prizes then for guessing that sexism is a major problem in the technology industry. Headlining the website are hyper-sexualised women who remove a piece of clothing on the successful completion of a test like, ’Where to stick your CSS’. It’s actually advertised as ‘educational’ with a byline of being ‘awesome for Learning to code & Checkin’ out babes’. While sites like this are clearly offensive to women; they are patronising to men as well.

It reminded us of a MassChallenge Business Start up we attended a year ago. Everyone pitched their business concepts; looking for strangers to join them over the weekend in turning their idea into a reality. A number of young guys presented concepts for website or apps that rate local parties by the quality of the women attendees- ‘so you always know ‘which’ party to go to’. Dismayingly, these proposals got selected whilst projects by the few women who pitched potential websites where parents can rate babysitters in their local area, were largely ignored. What a missed opportunity for crowdsourcing great information for which parents would gladly pay.

It brought to mind an article: ‘Technology’s Man Problem’ in the New York Times. Two TechCrunch Hackathon entrepreneurs showcased their ‘Titstare app’ – which ostensibly offers bare-chested women the opportunity to take photos of themselves in the mirror. Thanks, but no thanks.

Not surprisingly, participants were shocked and it sparked a massive online backlash on Twitter. One attendee, Elissa Shevinsky, co founder of Glimpse, was disgusted and started a Twitter blogpost :“I thought that we didn’t need more women in tech. I was wrong.” TechCrunch published an apology; ‘Any type of sexism or other discriminatory and/or derogatory speech will not be allowed. You expect more from us, and we expect more from ourselves. We are sorry’. As purveyors of ostensibly the newest and best in technology, we do indeed expect more.

Parity between the genders in the technology sector feels a long way off. Every small step counts. We support organisations who strive to make tech a safer and more inclusive place for everyone, such as the one mentioned above and others: womenintechnology.co.uk, The Representation Project #NotBuyingIt app, and womenwhocode.co.uk, Black Girls Code , Girl Develop It, and Girls who code.

 

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