S3 E4. Shattering the Six Gender Bias Barriers Still Holding Women Back at Work with Amy Diehl and Leanne Dzubinski, authors of Glass Walls

[00:00:00] Section: Podcast introduction

[00:00:00] Anna Stoecklein: Welcome to Season 3 of The Story of Woman. I'm your host, Anna Stoecklein.

[00:00:05] Anna Stoecklein: From the intricacies of the economy and healthcare to the nuances of workplace bias and gender roles, each episode of this season features interviews with thought leaders who provide fresh perspectives on critical global issues, all through the female gaze.

[00:00:20] Anna Stoecklein: But this podcast isn't just about women's stories. It's about rewriting our collective story to be more inclusive, equitable, and effective in driving change. It's about changing the current story of mankind to the much more complete story of humankind.

[00:00:42] Section: Episode level introduction

[00:00:44] Anna Stoecklein: Hello, friends, and welcome back. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being here. So, you've probably heard of the glass ceiling, that somewhat supposedly invisible [00:01:00] barrier that keeps women out of the top jobs in management. Uh, and maybe you've heard of the glass cliff where women are more likely than men to reach those top jobs in management, but only during periods of crisis when the risk of failure is highest. But have you heard of the glass walls? The hidden forces of gender bias that surround women from all angles and continue to shape our workplaces and hold women, and the companies that they work for, back.

[00:01:32] Anna Stoecklein: Well, if not, get ready because today I am speaking with Amy Diehl and Leanne Dzubinski, authors of the book Glass Walls: Shattering the Six Gender Bias Barriers Still Holding Women Back at Work.

[00:01:46] Anna Stoecklein: In today's conversation, we really get into the heart of gender bias in the workplace, looking at topics like male privilege, the concept of devaluation, the beyond troubling hostility that women encounter at work, [00:02:00] and all the other constraints that women face just because of their gender. And Amy and Leanne have even named some of these behaviors for the very first time, because of course, if you don't have a name for it, it's pretty hard to talk about it and do something about it. So I really loved hearing these names for the first time, and I think you will too.

[00:02:21] Anna Stoecklein: So by the end of the episode, I hope you'll get a new understanding of how all of these barriers show up and find ways to shatter them once and for all.

[00:02:30] Anna Stoecklein: If you enjoy this conversation and want to further help shatter these glass walls and the ceiling and the cliff, uh, please consider sharing the podcast with a friend, giving it a rate and review, or even becoming a patron of the podcast for access to ad free and bonus episodes. All of this is really, really helpful and so appreciated.

[00:02:54] Anna Stoecklein: But for now, please enjoy my conversation with Amy Diehl and Leanne Dzubinski.[00:03:00]

[00:03:00] Section: Episode interview

[00:03:00] Anna Stoecklein: Hi, Amy and Leanne, welcome and thank you so much for being here with me today. I'm super excited for this conversation.

[00:03:07] Amy Diehl: Well, thank you so much for having us. We're super excited to be here.

[00:03:10] Leanne Dzubinski: Yes, we are.

[00:03:11] Anna Stoecklein: Absolutely. So we are discussing your new book, Glass Walls: Shattering the Six Gender Bias Barriers Still Holding Women Back at Work. So I wanna start with the origin story of this book, because you both come from different backgrounds. Amy from higher education, and Leanne from faith-based nonprofits.

[00:03:34] Anna Stoecklein: But that difference in backgrounds really ties into your journey of coming up with the idea and writing this book. So to start, I'd love to have you tell us that story, how you arrived at that point, and a bit more of your backgrounds leading up.

[00:03:47] Amy Diehl: Yeah, Yeah, this is Amy. I'll go ahead and start. So I actually, I do work in higher education. I work in information technology, so my part of higher education is very male dominated and when I was [00:04:00] in college, I studied computer science, again, male dominated. I didn't necessarily notice any gender barriers when I was in college, but when I started working, that's whenever strange things started happening.

[00:04:11] Amy Diehl: Like one of the things was I would try to be authoritative. At one point I was given a new team to lead and I tried to be authoritative when making decisions, and I found that I lost respect with the team. But what I had been doing was I had just been watching the men around me. I was watching how they led and duplicating, replicating what they were doing, but finding that I was getting a very different result.

[00:04:32] Amy Diehl: And there were a few other things that were happening that I was, I started to question it at a certain point. I took them personally for a long time, but then when I started to realize, well, wait a minute, I think there's something more going on here than it's just me, a personal failing.

[00:04:45] Amy Diehl: And so I started a PhD program and I, as part of that program, I started researching, uh, gender barriers affecting women. And as part of my dissertation, I wrote about that, gender barriers affecting women leaders in higher education. And a year after I finished, I went [00:05:00] to a conference in Utah where I met Leanne, and it was at this conference that we started comparing notes about what had happened to the women in my study, which was higher education and what was happening to the women in Leanne's study, which she had studied faith-based organizations.

[00:05:15] Amy Diehl: And I'll turn it over to Leanne at this point so she can jump in and share her story and the rest of our work together.

[00:05:21] Leanne Dzubinski: Sure. So my experience was similar to Amy's. I always did well in school, loved school, got good feedback. And it wasn't really until I got into my field that I started to figure out that something weird was going on. So I realized that men and women were recruited same standard, same requirements. But once you got deployed, once you got sent on assignment, it was the men's gifts and the men's training and the men's skills that counted. And women were supportive, just supposed to figure it out as you went along. And even single women sometimes would get assigned to support some man in their region instead of being able to do the work that they particularly were trained to do.

[00:05:57] Leanne Dzubinski: And I also noticed that the middle [00:06:00] aged women, the women who had been doing it for a while were kind of cynical and disconnected, and they had lost some of their fervor. People go into that kind of work usually because they're pretty passionate about it, and they were, they were burnt out.

[00:06:10] Leanne Dzubinski: I thought, what is going on? And so I did a study in my organization. I thought, well, maybe if the men know what the women are doing, they'll be able to, you know, support them better. Well, they didn't actually really care a whole lot about what I learned about what all the women were doing. And so eventually, I too enrolled in a PhD program and studied top level leaders in these faith-based organizations and started finding out that these problems were more widespread.

[00:06:36] Leanne Dzubinski: And it was about, gender, right. And I personally had run into them. And so when I met Amy, we sort of swapped our own stories. We started telling our dissertation research stories and discovered, what we initially anticipated, was that they would be really different, and what we discovered was they were actually very similar.

[00:06:53] Leanne Dzubinski: So even though she was in what's considered to be liberal higher education, I was in what was considered very conservative religious environment. The [00:07:00] women were telling us the same things, which led us to conclude this is really about being a woman at work. That's the problem. It's not so much the field you're in or the industry you're in.

[00:07:09] Leanne Dzubinski: So we put all this together and have been working together since 2014 and this book is now our baby that we're launching onto the market in hopes that it help other women.

[00:07:19] Anna Stoecklein: I have no doubt that it will. And that was definitely something I thought was striking when you told that story in the book, is the difference in backgrounds from where you all come from. And just as a great example of how this is not specific to any industry or sector exactly as you say, and we'll get into more examples and how we see this play out.

[00:07:40] Anna Stoecklein: But I'm glad you two found each other and it came together to do this because to your point, Amy, I do think that is just so classic for women to internalize and, and blame themselves when they experience this. So the work that you all are doing, and that's a big part of why I do what I do, is to show people the context [00:08:00] around these personal experiences to help realize that it's not you as an individual, it's the system that you are a part.

[00:08:07] Amy Diehl: Yep, that's right.

[00:08:09] Anna Stoecklein: So before we get in, you know, deeper dive into the book, I just wanna go back to the basics really to make sure we're all on the same page about what we're talking about today. So Amy, maybe you could lay out for us just kind of basically what even is gender bias? How would you define it?

[00:08:27] Amy Diehl: Yeah, so gender bias, this is our textbook definition by the way, gender bias involves barriers which arrive from cultural beliefs about gender, as well as workplace structures, practices, and patterns of interaction that favor men. So it's pervasive, it's often invisible. It's harmful and it demeans, discourages and disadvantages women, especially women at work.

[00:08:52] Amy Diehl: I'm really glad that you asked this question because gender bias seems like it's some nebulous concept, but it really isn't. [00:09:00] It's a set of behaviors and practices that can be broken down, identified, and then dismantled, which has been the basis of Leanne and my research.

[00:09:09] Anna Stoecklein: I'm glad you point that out because I do think that's definitely the feeling behind it, the sentiment behind it is this, this yeah, nebulous thing exactly as you say. But maybe that's because it hasn't been researched and studied and you know, named as we'll, get into people putting names to these different components that form gender biases.

[00:09:28] Anna Stoecklein: You can point your finger at it. It's not this completely elusive thing and we will be pointing our finger at it today. And, um, in terms of what causes it, you know, I know that's not straightforward, but again, we can talk to a little bit about what causes it. So I'm wondering if you can help explain that, just an overarching, how do these gender biases arise?

[00:09:49] Amy Diehl: Yeah. So, like you were saying about breaking it down and like I was saying about breaking it down in our book, we break it down in a research-based way into the six primary barriers. [00:10:00] The first barrier is male privilege. And so we really think that male privilege is the bedrock on which gender bias is built.

[00:10:06] Amy Diehl: So in the workplace, the cause of gender bias is it's because by and large men have built these institutions, built our institutions, to serve themselves with their own needs and their own life patterns in mind. So while organizations, they often appear to be gender neutral, bias against women is actually embedded into the daily functions.

[00:10:27] Amy Diehl: So work structures reflect male norms and they reinforce this male privilege. The unspoken goal is to keep men at the top of the gender hierarchy and women underneath. At work, this shows up as keeping men as leaders and in control of workplace decisions and resources. And women are allowed in, to be clear, women are allowed in, but they're allowed in in ways that are supportive of men and not to upend the male hierarchy.

[00:10:52] Amy Diehl: And so, we'll get into barriers maybe a little bit more, but one of the barriers we talk about is tokenism, where you've got like one woman, maybe two women at [00:11:00] the top, and it looks like you've got some diversity there, but with tokenism, they're there for the appearance of diversity and their voices and their suggestions and their ideas really aren't being heard or used.

[00:11:10] Anna Stoecklein: Yeah. And that's just classic with everything that it was built by men for men, even if it wasn't always overtly for the purpose of excluding women. But that was who was in power and in charge. And of course, that same thing can be applied to pretty much all of our institutions and our nations and, and the world really.

[00:11:32] Anna Stoecklein: So this is a nice microcosm for how the facts of this matter is kind of, deeply embedded into all of our systems and, and our cultures as well exactly as you say. So then, I mean this, again might seem like an obvious question, but just to get the basics at the beginning, what's the harm? Okay, so women are now allowed into the workplace, you know, um, we're there, we're allowed to be there. You can't [00:12:00] overtly discriminate against us. It's in the law. So what is the harm in these other types of barriers exist?

[00:12:07] Amy Diehl: Whether it's overt or subtle, implicit or explicit, the harms of workplace gender bias to society, to our overall society are huge. Bias really prevents women from fully contributing at work, and it keeps them out of positions of influence. So not only does this like limit potential corporate earnings and organizational effectiveness, but it also restricts society's ability to solve its most pressing problems.

[00:12:35] Amy Diehl: And I like to tell the story, and we tell the story in the book of Dr. Katalin Karikó. Dr. Karikó studied Messenger RNA, mRNA, for years at the University of Pennsylvania, but she encountered many barriers and the institution eventually demoted her out of her tenure track role. Now, normally when faculty or professors are demoted out of a tenure track position, they leave the institution.

[00:12:58] Amy Diehl: Dr. Karikó didn't do this. She [00:13:00] chose to stay and continue her research, and in 2012, she published a groundbreaking study on mRNA. This study and this work, her work, was foundational to the rapid development of the first covid 19 vaccines. So, while Dr. Karikó's tenacity enabled her success, I just think about how much more successful she might have been if her employer fully supported her work and didn't put up, so many roadblocks. And I also think about the women, unlike Dr. Karikó, who, for whom the roadblocks become insurmountable, they're unable to attain positions on par with men. Their work is undervalued and unsupported. And / or they have to leave the workplace before reaching their potential. So the harm becomes that both the employer and society as a whole lose out on potential innovation and growth.

[00:13:47] Anna Stoecklein: Absolutely. Again, the key for all of these issues that we discuss, that it's not just impacting the individual woman, but whatever institution, company who, whatever you're talking about, and the [00:14:00] society at large and in turn the world at large. And then this is something else that again, can be applied to all of these different issues that we talk about, but speaking specifically about gender bias in the workplace, throughout the book, you mentioned that no matter which barrier you're writing about, you would note how women of color are especially impacted. So can you just talk to that point and how gender bias plays out for women of color and all others that live at the intersection of gender and another marginalized?

[00:14:27] Amy Diehl: Yeah, Yeah, If we start with the numbers, women of color are the most underrepresented group in C-suite positions in American businesses and in top governmental positions. And it's the same in the uk. Clearly they're experiencing even more bias. So we actually, Leanne and I as well, along with another researcher, Dr. Amber Stevenson, we decided to explore this question about the intersection of gender and other marginalized groups. And a research summary was recently published in a fast company magazine.

[00:14:58] Amy Diehl: So we had the opportunity to [00:15:00] survey women leaders and ask them about other identity factors beyond gender that impacted their experience. What we discovered was kind of astounding. Um, there were 30 different factors that became criticisms of the women, and these were factors related to their identity. Things like race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, parental status, physical ability, just to name a few. But what you'll notice is that none of these have anything to do with women's ability to do their job.

[00:15:28] Amy Diehl: One quick example is that we found with age. We found that no age was the right age to be a woman leader. Women were told they were too young to lead, or they were too old to lead, and middle age wasn't quite right either.

[00:15:42] Amy Diehl: For women of color, we found that they experienced a whole lot of subtle bias. They were talked over, they were misperceived as being weak, or they were considered to be too aggressive, and they also experienced something called role and credulity, which is one of the terms that Leanne and I coined. In that they were assumed to be a student or an [00:16:00] administrative assistant or in another support role instead of a leadership role, like a doctor or a lawyer, for example.

[00:16:08] Amy Diehl: So what we found was that the more non-privileged identity factors that a woman had there, that led to more basis for criticism. And we ended up deriving a name for this. We call this, "We Want What You Aren't Discrimination", whatever the woman was she was never quite right in particular for leadership or for advancement.

[00:16:27] Anna Stoecklein: Yep. And again, like I said, that can be applied to all, all of these barriers that we'll talk about across the board. So, Leanne, tell us about some of the research that went into writing this book and your goal for writing it.

[00:16:42] Leanne Dzubinski: We started with Amy's dissertation research in mind, like I mentioned earlier. She had interviewed women leaders in higher education and I had interviewed women leaders in faith-based nonprofits, and we put those together and that resulted in an article where we named 27 Barriers. And from that then [00:17:00] we worked with Dr. Amber Stevenson, who Amy mentioned before, and Dr. David Wang, and developed a survey that we could use to measure these experiences of bias that went out. And we also included women in law and in healthcare in that survey, and that's where the six main factors came from.

[00:17:19] Leanne Dzubinski: Then Amy and I started just scouring everything we could find in the public realm. Biographies of women leaders and Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and news articles and blogs. Basically anything we could find that was out there in public became data that we could use to write about and name and describe these things that women are experiencing when they go to work.

[00:17:40] Anna Stoecklein: And there is so much data and stories, throughout the book. So it is really packed with this research. And I know one of your goals was making this, gender bias visible. And a part of that, as we have discussed, was naming things that didn't have names. Because if they don't have names, it's like they don't exist. And [00:18:00] it's really hard to combat something if you can't talk about it, if you can't point to it and say this is what that is.

[00:18:06] Anna Stoecklein: So you coined a lot of new terms. I'm curious if you know how many, I'm not, I can't remember if you said that in the book, how many did you coin? But also, yeah, why was that important and can you give us, you've named a few examples, but any other examples that you think are worth mentioning today?

[00:18:21] Leanne Dzubinski: Let me just reinforce a little bit this idea of making things visible. That's literally been the title of several of our pieces. Our first article was called Making the Invisible Visible, because it's so important, if we can't see it, if we can't name it, then we don't know what's there and it feels nebulous, like we were saying at the beginning.

[00:18:39] Leanne Dzubinski: And then our second article was called Measuring the Invisible. So we wanna name it and measure it and make it visible so that people can actually know how to deal with it. So one term Amy mentioned already is 'role incredulity', when women have a role and people don't believe that she has actually got that role.

[00:18:56] Leanne Dzubinski: And so we had story after story of women being mistaken [00:19:00] for the wrong thing or a call center person getting the call and being cussed at because the caller thought this was the secretary or something.

[00:19:07] Leanne Dzubinski: Another one that we coined was 'mantermediary'. We discovered a lot of women use this strategy when they can't get their voice heard, they get a man to be their intermediary and speak for them. So they will find a man who's friendly and get their idea to him before the meeting or before the conference call so that he can present it and get the thing on the table. another one we came up was credibility...

[00:19:30] Leanne Dzubinski: Oh, That one makes you groan...

[00:19:32] Anna Stoecklein: I mean all of them but....

[00:19:35] Leanne Dzubinski: R right, um, 'credibility deficit', when a woman makes a statement in her area of expertise and she's not believed, and so time after time, someone will turn to the man standing next to her and say, is that right? Or will say to her, are you sure about that? While we were writing this book, I was in a meeting and somebody asked me about something, I explained it and the guy on my right hand turned to my [00:20:00] husband on my left and said, is that right? And I was like...

[00:20:05] Anna Stoecklein: Thank you for giving me a wonderful case study for the book I'm writing about what you just did.

[00:20:11] Leanne Dzubinski: That's right. That's that's right. So, and there's many others, but those are a few of them. There's more in the book.

[00:20:19] Amy Diehl: Anna, to answer your question about how many, there are at least 14. There were new terms or new labels that Leanne and I developed together. And we document, we explain each and every one..

[00:20:30] Anna Stoecklein: I don't I don't know how you make that happen, but can you like apply, can we all like write into Oxford, I don't know what we do, how do we make that?

[00:20:42] Amy Diehl: Please do.

[00:20:44] Anna Stoecklein: Everybody get the book and learn these and..

[00:20:47] Amy Diehl: Yeah. Well, one thing I've personally been doing is using my Twitter feed to, I've put several of these new terms out on my Twitter feed as well as the articles that we've written for like Harvard Business Review Fast Company [00:21:00] and this book have gotten quite a few of these into the vernacular. Maybe not the dictionary yet, but I see people in unrelated posts using them, and it makes me feel good that now that they've got language to use to talk about a particular aspect of gender

[00:21:15] Anna Stoecklein: Definitely, well, one step at a time, I guess that's what it is first, people start using it and then gets into the dictionary. And I thought it was interesting that you even coined a new term to use instead of feminist. Can you tell us about that and why you felt that that was important?

[00:21:28] Leanne Dzubinski: Oh yeah. That goes back to Amy's and my very first meeting. We were sitting in the airport waiting for our flights out of that conference, and somehow we started talking about the term feminist and how people don't like it. Even people who are very in favor of the principles will sometimes feel uncomfortable with the term.

[00:21:46] Leanne Dzubinski: And part of it we think is just because it's come to mean so many different things, it's got such a wide variety of meanings. And so people will agree with one part or not another part. So we were like, well, maybe it would be good if we came up with a different word that wouldn't put people off, but would [00:22:00] express what we mean.

[00:22:01] Leanne Dzubinski: And so we sat there and worked on it and eventually we came up with the term equalist or equalism. And by that =we= mean that all people, regardless of any identity factors, deserve the same rights and treatments and benefits from society. Again, it's a, a very strong non-discrimination statement that everybody is worthy of respect, and so we're trying to get that term out there as well as a possible alternative if people don't like feminist.

[00:22:27] Anna Stoecklein: Equalist, equalism. Yeah. I know I, I used to have a recurring section on the podcast that kind of poked fun at that exact thing, all of the baggage that comes along with that word. And then asking people to define what feminism means to them, because, that is so common, and I, so I was really struck by that and how you use that throughout the book and, I think that that's great. Yeah. A good alternative for anyone who wants to still convey these same values, do the same work, but just have a little different name for it.

[00:22:58] Anna Stoecklein: So before we get into the [00:23:00] barriers, maybe as examples of some of these behaviors, you've coined names for, I'd love to hear a story from your own personal experience or something that you found striking from your research that really brings to light all of this.

[00:23:14] Leanne Dzubinski: I can take that one. One of the stories that just has stuck with me through all these years was a very early interview I did with a woman who was in a leadership role in her faith-based nonprofit, and I spent two hours interviewing her, and she insisted vehemently throughout that entire conversation that she never experienced any bias at work.

[00:23:36] Leanne Dzubinski: But she told me story after story after story of being excluded from meetings or having her decision overturned, or being treated with benevolent sexism or being just doubted and disbelieved. She literally couldn't see or name what was happening to her because she didn't have words for it and she didn't know how to identify it.

[00:23:57] Leanne Dzubinski: That interview has stayed with me and is part of [00:24:00] the reason why we thought this book was so important, because if women can't see it, can't name it, that's just this vague discomfort. And we wanted to help women like her be able to understand what was happening to them.

[00:24:11] Anna Stoecklein: Yeah, that's a great example and I think she, she'll be far from alone in that. I'm curious to hear how the rest of the conversation went if you were able to name it for her and then she could start to see, cuz sometimes that's a longer process than that to really be able to start to see it for yourself.

[00:24:28] Leanne Dzubinski: Yeah, that's true. It's tricky too because you don't wanna upset someone if they're not upset, but at the same time, you want them to be, begin to understand for themselves, like if they're blaming themselves, like Amy talked about, so many women blame themselves, but then also a woman like her is in a position to really be a role model for others in the organization. And so, you know, we want women to understand and also be able to support each other.

[00:24:50] Anna Stoecklein: Yeah. It's a good point.

[00:24:52] Amy Diehl: I had a similar story from somebody in my dissertation research. This was a university [00:25:00] president, she stated outright when I started interviewing her, that she didn't believe in a gender gap between men and women. But similar to Leanne's situation with her participant, my participant also told me stories of being excluded. And I remember one story vividly was that her college, they had, somebody had donated to them a small plane. When they received the plane, the president was expected to like, walk up these steps and I guess get up on the wing. Well, nobody prepared her for the fact that she got to wear pants and like flat shoes. So she comes to this event in a skirt and in heels.

[00:25:35] Amy Diehl: And she's describing it and the word that she used for it is like, well, there's just these oddities that you run into. And clearly it was a part of the, you know, the gender bias that we all are experiencing, she couldn't name it. To be honest, that was early in my research. We didn't have labels developed at that time. I didn't even know Leanne at that time. And so having those stories, even though the women couldn't name them and I couldn't name them, that was what gave us the data that we [00:26:00] needed to work individually and then together, Leanne and I, to develop the labels and develop the full concept of gender bias. what, what,

[00:26:06] Anna Stoecklein: So what labels would you give to both of those events? Are they new ones that you all have made up? Because I'm like, I could talk to how I think that's biased, but you know, to give it a specific name is, is tough even for me with those examples.

[00:26:19] Amy Diehl: Well, the overall concept of it is really one of the new labels is gender blindness. And that's where if someone doesn't see or recognize the fact that gender is impacting them in the workplace. So that's the overall label that we would probably categorize those, those stories under.

[00:26:37] Amy Diehl: Same thing with the airplane story. This woman had administrative assistants, you know, who would help her, like most presidents do. And, you know, tell her where she needed to be and what she needed to, you know, what to expect. But again, if the assistant doesn't recognize, like it's just the gender blindness, right, you just. You see it as, this is a standard thing and you don't think, [00:27:00] oh, a woman might be dressed differently and therefore have to, you know, not be able to accommodate walking up the steps or whatever it was to get up on that wing of the plane to

[00:27:10] Anna Stoecklein: Yeah,

[00:27:11] Amy Diehl: Um,

[00:27:11] Anna Stoecklein: Gender blindness. That's a, a good one for us to remember.

[00:27:15] Anna Stoecklein: So let's get into some of these a bit more then. So your book is called Glass Walls and this is because these six primary gender bias barriers form these glass walls surrounding women. So I'd love to go through each of them a little bit at least, just to get a little taste of what each of them are starting with the first one that you've already mentioned, male privilege.

[00:27:38] Anna Stoecklein: I dunno, leanne, if you wanna take this one, that's a term obviously most everyone will be familiar with, but what does it mean in the work setting and how do we see this play out?

[00:27:48] Leanne Dzubinski: Sure. So male privileges, basically men's inherent advantage caused by these workplace cultures that have been created by men, for men. Men are the leaders. They control the resources, they set [00:28:00] the standards, and they basically assign women to a second class status. Male privilege is basically the bedrock from which all the other barriers grow. And we've already talked about that one a fair bit.

[00:28:12] Leanne Dzubinski: The next one, if you want me to go on a little bit, we called disproportionate constraints. And this one means that women are constrained or restricted to act in certain ways that are supportive of men. And they're also held to unequal standards at work compared to men.

[00:28:29] Leanne Dzubinski: And so they're run into things like muting women's voices, that one tends to be one of the ones we hear about the most because it happens to women virtually every day. They may be interrupted in meetings, they may be hepeated, there's another new word that's been added to our vocabulary. It's not ours, but women say something and nobody pays attention. And then a man repeats it, and then it gets all kinds of excitement. And what a great idea, right?

[00:28:54] Anna Stoecklein: I'm just gonna cut in there to say again 'hepeat', because this is something [00:29:00] that we've talked about on the podcast with a multitude of people, and we've never known or had a term for it. So just for everyone listening, that's 'hepeat', that time when, uh, someone yeah, repeats your idea directly after you've said it. And another one that I liked the word for, 'broappropriating', appropriating women's ideas. Was that one you all came up with or did that one exist?

[00:29:26] Amy Diehl: No, that one existed. 'Hepeat', is a little bit more, maybe unconscious, broappropriating is a little bit more intentional, where someone intentionally, a man intentionally takes a woman's idea and assumes the credit for it. Often the he peeing will just happen in the course of a conversation or a meeting where an idea gets repeated by a man and everyone loves it and the man gets a credit. He maybe wasn't intentionally trying to steal the idea, but with broappropriating that, like you said, it's appropriating women's ideas and that really is more of an intentional thing. And we've got several stories of that.

[00:29:59] Anna Stoecklein: [00:30:00] Yes, yes, lots of, lots of stories. And just one more just to mention before we go on to the next wall, was the labeling, another way of silencing. So calling a woman, aggressive, angry, dramatic, bossy. That's another way of kind of censoring her as well.

[00:30:16] Amy Diehl: Yep. And it's all these labels that you never hear a man called, like since when is a man called bossy, right. And it's applied in a very derogatory, negative

[00:30:24] Anna Stoecklein: Mm-hmm. If, if it was, it'd be some kind of slight at also, you know, he's being crazy and kind of womanly. There would be like a gender slight in there as well.

[00:30:35] Amy Diehl: Yes.

[00:30:36] Anna Stoecklein: All right. Onto the next one then. So insufficient support and, you know, this one I thought was interesting because obviously with the pandemic, it started to shed light on one aspect of this problem, but that's really only one aspect of this problem. So, yeah, I'd love to hear you talk more about that, what that means in the workplace and the different ways this manifests.

[00:30:59] Leanne Dzubinski: [00:31:00] Mm-hmm. Yeah. Insufficient support just literally means what It sounds like that women don't have access to the resources and the social structures and the networks that they need in order to do their job well and to advance. This one just feels so well known and so common and so obvious, but it's worth pointing out again that this is something women run into every time they walk into the workplace, right? It's just not there for them.

[00:31:23] Amy Diehl: One of the aspects that you were alluding to there with the pandemic is beyond the workplace, women don't have support from the governmental institute, like societal support, governmental institutions. So we've started off the chapter talking about the lack of communal resources, and a lot of our research, most of our research, is based in the United States, so we know that things may be different in the EU and other areas of the world.

[00:31:45] Amy Diehl: But in the United States, there is no federal mandated paid family leave. There is no federal mandated subsidized high quality childcare. There is no universal pre-K. So these things that could help women to be able to [00:32:00] succeed at work just aren't there. And one of the quotes that we give in the articles, Dr. Jessica Calarco, and I'm paraphrasing, but she basically says that other countries have social safety nets, the United States has women. And so what the United States is doing is saying this isn't a governmental or societal problem when we can have women and their unpaid labor take care of children, elders, anybody that needs care taking. And so it's the very first aspect that we talk about related to insufficient support.

[00:32:30] Anna Stoecklein: I have that quote right here in front of me, cuz I wrote that down. And you got it, spot on by the way. Yeah,

[00:32:37] Leanne Dzubinski: Yeah.

[00:32:38] Anna Stoecklein: Spot on.

[00:32:39] Anna Stoecklein: And then just to kind of, for our listeners, say a little bit more about the insufficient support. Like, you know, we can imagine that it's unsupportive in the structures, kind of with the governments, with institutions, lack of policies, but it's also lack of being able to find sponsors or mentors, or your leadership is [00:33:00] unsupportive in that they're ignoring or overriding your ideas, or even things like disbelieving and victim blaming and trivializing, that's another way kind of saying like, oh, you're overreacting. So instead of providing the support you need when something happens, doing one of these acts, you know, saying you just need thicker skin, or, this is why women shouldn't be doing X, Y, or Z Z.

[00:33:23] Amy Diehl: Yeah. Really the employer saying, we just want like woman, person who has a problem, as a woman, we just want you to go away, you know, deal with your problem on your own. We don't wanna deal with it. And so the leadership, in particular in, when it comes to things like harassment and discrimination, really the leadership should listen to women's reports, support them, but what we find often is that they support the harasser or the person who's discriminating. And like, for example, the woman gets put on leave instead of the person who, perpetuated the bad behavior.

[00:33:58] Amy Diehl: And while we do say everything should [00:34:00] be, you know, obviously investigated, but the company should make sure, the organization should make sure to provide full support for the victim instead of just dismissing or trivializing or victim blaming her story.

[00:34:11] Anna Stoecklein: Putting her on leave. That is, that is wild. Talk about devaluing her because that's the next one. Um, devaluation. So, I don't know, Amy, uh, if you wanna tell us more about that one.

[00:34:24] Amy Diehl: Yeah, so devaluation are attempts to make a woman seem unimportant and detract from her authority. So examples are things like being paid less than men for the same work, being assigned to something called office housework. And also her words not being believed because they are coming from her, a woman and that goes back to what Leanne mentioned, the word we coined, credibility deficit.

[00:34:48] Amy Diehl: And so what we see is that every step along the way with devaluation, the message becomes, to the woman, that instead of we want to value you in the [00:35:00] workplace, we actually value you at home, you know, in home roles or in supportive roles.

[00:35:03] Amy Diehl: So every single one of the aspects of devaluation is basically communicating to the woman that, well, you can be here in the workplace, you need to be here in a supportive role, and you're not gonna be valued equally to what a man would be. And so if you're at home, all the, better. Um, But if you are here, you know, then you need to just be grateful for what you've been given, which is not on par with what men are receiving.

[00:35:27] Anna Stoecklein: Yeah, be grateful and fit into the male structure. Yeah, all of it and some others from that chapter that I took note of that fall under this category is the sexualizing that happens of women at work.

[00:35:41] Leanne Dzubinski: Oh yes. I don't think that we actually put this in the book, but the way we think about it, the way I think about it is our society has, and much of Western society, has trained men to see women as either mothers, lovers, or daughters. And there are no other categories. And so when women show up at work, they [00:36:00] get put into one of those three categories.

[00:36:02] Leanne Dzubinski: And so mothers get saddled with office housework and make the coffee and take the notes and help my colleague, you know, fix his presentation. And daughters get the sort of benevolent sexism pat on the head ,talking down to, which we talk about with pet names and diminutive terms for women at work.

[00:36:20] Leanne Dzubinski: And then the third category, the one who should be a peer and a colleague, the way to distance from her is to sexualize and objectify her and make her into something like a, a temptress, right? And so either you keep your distance from her because she's a temptress or you sexualize and objectify and then demean her that way.

[00:36:39] Leanne Dzubinski: And we just need better ways for men and women to think about each other. Right? What about brothers and sisters? Or what about work colleagues? Right? There's so many other categories. We could be friends sometimes, and that's okay. We just need to be.

[00:36:52] Anna Stoecklein: Slow down here, Leanne. Yeah, that's a really, a really good way of putting that. Like you really painted that picture so well. [00:37:00] That is unbelievably true. Those are the three main categories that women get put into.

[00:37:06] Anna Stoecklein: And this struck me, when you said about being put into these three rules, I think this was in the male privilege section, but it jumped out at me because when I learned about this, I was flabbergasted. And that's goes into this glass partition and the Pence Graham rule. So obviously they cannot see women other than sexual beings or temptresses that they need to stay away from. So can you tell us about that rule and how the Vice President of the United States had this rule?

[00:37:38] Leanne Dzubinski: Yes. So this rule started way back with the famous evangelist, Billy Graham, and it was part of a set of rules that he had and became kind of widespread in the religious realm and then when Pence became Vice President, he was quoted publicly as saying that he would never dine with anyone who wasn't his wife. And this became known as the Pence slash [00:38:00] Graham rule.

[00:38:00] Leanne Dzubinski: And it is literally this idea, we didn't coin the term glass partition another researcher had come up with that one, but this idea that men and women have to stay separate in the workplace and that men by and large put up these glass partitions precisely to keep this distance from women so that they aren't tempted.

[00:38:18] Leanne Dzubinski: So we had women who were told they couldn't go on a business trip or couldn't travel in the same airplane or car. Yeah, just crazy things. But it harms the women because they lose access to resources, to information, to networks, to mentoring, to sponsoring, all those things that are important in the workplace to help things work smoothly and people get their job done and people to advance and learn and grow. And if men can't interact with women, then women are losing out on a whole lot of resources.

[00:38:49] Leanne Dzubinski: But men are losing out too because they're losing out on women's energy and creativity and ideas and contributions and things that they could be bringing to work that would help the organization do [00:39:00] better.

[00:39:00] Amy Diehl: It originated in the religious realm and Pence was a very, former Vice President Pence, was a very religious man. We didn't just see this in the faith-based organizations or the religious organizations, we saw it also prevalent in law. And we think that, or there's actually research on this, it derives from the men in lobbying understanding what the potentials of sexual harassment lawsuits and wanting to avoid them.

[00:39:25] Amy Diehl: Now, my suggestion for wanting to avoid sexual harassment lawsuit is not to sexually harass right? Or not to say things that could be construed that way to women. Just, you know, treat them as your colleague, right? Instead of avoiding the interaction with them altogether. And it goes back to what Leanne was saying about seeing women as a tempter or a temptress rather than as a work collegue. colleague

[00:39:45] Anna Stoecklein: That's exactly why I thought of that rule when she was talking about that, because yeah to just be able to not have lunch with any woman other than your wife is absurd. Absolutely absurd for [00:40:00] anybody, let alone the Vice President of the United States. Okay, uh, so two more to get into here, hostility and acquiescence. So let's start with hostility.

[00:40:10] Amy Diehl: Yeah. Okay, so hostility is a very active, often overt, resistance to women's presence in the workplace through discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. And the whole goal is to keep women in their supposed place. So often you see more, much more hostility in male dominated spaces.

[00:40:28] Amy Diehl: But I also wanna mention that not all hostility comes from men. Some hostility comes from other women in the workplace, which we discuss in the book. We call this female hostility. One of the examples we talk about is Queen B behaviors. Another term that we did not coin, but we did coin the term mean girl behaviors.

[00:40:44] Amy Diehl: So Queen B we conceptualize as a woman who is above another woman in the hierarchy and blocks opportunities or harasses her. The mean girls would be conceptualized to happen between peers, women who are at the same level, or lower level women [00:41:00] harassing or blocking opportunities even for upper level women, which happens at times.

[00:41:05] Amy Diehl: But what we say, and what we, every time we talk about Queen Bee, we make sure that we're not putting blame on the women. We are all socialized into the same system, same male controlled environment, right? And because of the male controlled environment, women may feel very insecure in their own positions, and so they try to use whatever kind of power they have to keep other women down.

[00:41:25] Anna Stoecklein: That was gonna be my follow up question if you hadn't said it. Cuz I think that's a really, really important thing to note because yeah, this is a not a blame, the women's situation. This, of course, we want to stop women from having these behaviors. And conversations need to be had, actions need to be taken, absolutely. But looking at why this is happening in the first place is so important. And I love, you know, we're gonna get into solutions in a minute, but at the end of each of your chapters, you have solutions for all of these different things that you talk about. For the employers, for leaders and for allies, and [00:42:00] for women themselves. And there's actions if you see female hostility as well. Because it's, yeah, addressing that, you know, not letting anybody off, but understanding why it's happening is so important.

[00:42:12] Amy Diehl: Absolutely.

[00:42:13] Anna Stoecklein: And then the last one is acquiescence.

[00:42:17] Amy Diehl: Yes, the last barrier of the six is acquiescence. So due to the combined weight of the other barriers, women may internalize the obstacles, accept them as valid and adapt to the limitations. So, examples that we use in the, that we have in the book are things like self silencing, which means like keeping quiet on workplace sexism, or even keeping quiet if they are experiencing bias or discrimination or harassment. And that's, they self silence for their own self-protection.

[00:42:45] Amy Diehl: Another one in this chapter that we talk about is self-limited aspirations. Women may make a very rational choice to not pursue advancement because they do not want to deal with the hassles that men do not face. And [00:43:00] it's a very, very rational choice, because they see and they understand that for them personally, the cost is, is just too high. So while a woman may want to advance she may just decide it's not worth it. And so therefore she places a limitation on herself, but again, it's very rational choice, based on everything else that she's experienced.

[00:43:21] Anna Stoecklein: Yeah, very rational indeed. And even other times that you point out, you know, choosing between dignity and safety even. So not even advancing, but just, yeah, being able to speak out to something that happened to you, knowing if you're gonna be believed, what's gonna happen to you, and then people, yeah, choosing between dignity and safety.

[00:43:44] Anna Stoecklein: So to look at some of the solutions. So this is, you know, we barely scratch the surface of everything that's in the book. All of the different ways that this gender bias and these walls keep women boxed in, keep society and the institutions boxed in as well. [00:44:00] So we can't go through all of the solutions, but I'd love to just generally speaking, as I mentioned, you have one for leaders, allies, and women themselves. So let's start with leaders. Leanne, if you wanna take this one, what advice would you give to leaders for starting to shatter these walls and creating equitable and inclusive organizations?

[00:44:21] Leanne Dzubinski: So the first advice I would give to leaders is to educate yourself. Because you need to know what's going on in order to know how to tackle the problem. We can't cure someone of an illness when we haven't correctly diagnosed it, if I put it into those terms. So it's educate yourself. Don't rely on the women in your organization to come and tell you everything. Pick up a copy of our book.

[00:44:41] Leanne Dzubinski: We tell so many stories, and one of the values I think of the storytelling is that stories resonate with us as humans. They they also help us to identify things that we've seen and we can say, oh, that happened to me, or that happened to someone in my organization. And make us aware of what's going on. And [00:45:00] so diagnose the problem correctly and then target your solutions at the actual problems.

[00:45:05] Leanne Dzubinski: In addition to our book, we do have that survey that measures each of the six things. And so you could use that, a leader could use that, in their organization to find out what problems are women actually bumping up to in our organization and then target solutions to the specific challenges that are happening.

[00:45:23] Leanne Dzubinski: Different organizations are gonna have different areas that they need to work on, and that's okay, prioritize something. The main thing is just do something. Don't do nothing but do something. Pick one thing and work on it because incremental progress is gonna help.

[00:45:36] Anna Stoecklein: Absolutely. And education. I mean, as soon as you start reading this book, you start having your own ideas as well. I think that's a great first step if you don't know where to go. Amy, what about allies? What advice would you give to allies?

[00:45:51] Amy Diehl: If we generalize the advice to allies, it is to, well, first of all, educate yourself, just like we're asking leaders to be, become educated. [00:46:00] Pick up a copy of our book and, read it so you understand what is happening to women. The second thing I'll say is think about anybody can be an ally.

[00:46:07] Amy Diehl: So, so often we think about allies as the men, and we need every man to be a male ally, but also women can be allies to other women and people of all genders can be an ally. But the basic advice is to watch out for, for gender bias and call it out when it happens. And this can be when you're in the room with a woman.

[00:46:22] Amy Diehl: So like, if you're in that meeting and she's being, hepeated you can say, Hey, Anna just said that and it's a wonderful idea. Let's hear more what Anna has to say. If a woman is not in the meeting, like if you are an ally and you are in a meeting where hiring decisions are being made, or promotional decisions are being discussed, speak up on behalf of the women in your organization.

[00:46:43] Amy Diehl: As we talk about, in particular in this chapter on insufficient support, women are often not included in spaces where these networks are formed, like these professional networks. Like they may not be invited or even want to attend the golf outing or attend drinks after work.

[00:46:59] Amy Diehl: And that can put [00:47:00] her at a disadvantage. But we don't put the onus on the women to feel that they have to start attending these events. Instead, we put the onus on the leaders in the organization to say, if you're making your hiring decisions based off of your bro network or you're deciding to promote your golf buddy, like, think again. There are plenty of qualified, experienced women in your organization and you need to consider the full realm and make sure that you've got good standardized processes for determining who to hire or who to promote.

[00:47:26] Amy Diehl: So if you're that ally and you're in that conversation and you're hearing this man say about, you know, Hey, like, I think Don would make a great, Don D-O-N, a man would make a great new, you know, director of X, Y, and Z. Well, maybe there are qualified women and maybe you should, if you're an ally, you should surface their names and talk about all the reasons why they could do the job so that those blind spots can hopefully be eliminated. Allies have a very, very important role to play.

[00:47:53] Anna Stoecklein: Absolutely. And there's a lot more advice where that came from in the book. So I really, really liked how you incorporated that into [00:48:00] the end of every chapter. Cuz I think a lot of times we can read these things and be like, well now what you know, what do I do? And this is very, very thorough. So it's great.

[00:48:08] Anna Stoecklein: And then the last one, and obviously this is not a fix the women problem, just like everything else and you point that out plenty throughout the book. Structure, structure, structure, but still, for women that are navigating this world, any advice that you would give to them?

[00:48:27] Amy Diehl: Yeah, we devote our final chapter to women and we understand that if you're the woman who's going through this as most or maybe all women do, um, you wanna know what you can do. We all wanna know what can we do, and while we don't put the onus on women at all to change anything about themselves. Like we don't tell women to change how they look, how they dress, how they wear their makeup, if they wear makeup, how their voice sounds. We don't put the onus on women or tell them to change anything about themselves.

[00:48:56] Amy Diehl: But in this final chapter, we do talk to women about how to take charge of their own [00:49:00] success. And the strategies in this chapter were derived from a section of my dissertation research where I had asked women in my dissertation about how they navigated adversity, and I came up with all these strategies, and several of these we talk about in the book.

[00:49:15] Amy Diehl: But to be clear navigating gender bias is navigating a type of adversity. The first thing that we say first and foremost is do not take it personally. And like I said, when I was a younger worker or younger leader, I was taking the things that I was experiencing personally, I thought I was personally at fault. I was doing something wrong. I needed to change something about me, only to find out when I tried to change something about me that wasn't right either.

[00:49:40] Amy Diehl: So we say, do not take it personally. Understand that this happens to all women. We say in the book that unfortunately no woman is immune to gender bias. Also understand that there are many steps that you can take to mitigate bias if it does happen to you. And that's where we offer the strategies, chapter by chapter, barrier by barrier in the book.[00:50:00]

[00:50:00] Amy Diehl: But I'll say one strategy that will pay dividends is to build your support network. And that would be people like mentors, colleagues, friends, inside and outside of your organization. Build that network so you've got people to talk to, people to strategize with. Sometimes you just need somebody to vent to. But build that network so that you're not alone.

[00:50:18] Amy Diehl: And then beyond that, we recognize that there are some situations that are just plain toxic. And no matter how hard a woman tries, she cannot overcome the bias and discrimination all on her own.

[00:50:29] Amy Diehl: In those cases, it's really important to have alternatives, like, could you apply for another job in your same organization or in a different organization? To give an example, could you go work for yourself? We tell lots of stories about women that had to make choices where they had to give up where they were working because they could not combat the bias and discrimination on their own. They had to get out. So what we say is know when enough is enough and don't be afraid to move on.

[00:50:55] Anna Stoecklein: Which is another example of how companies are losing out [00:51:00] by women needing to take this action.

[00:51:03] Amy Diehl: Right.

[00:51:04] Anna Stoecklein: All right, so we're getting to the end of the hour together. Is there anything else that you wanted to talk about today that we haven't yet covered?

[00:51:12] Leanne Dzubinski: I just kind of wanna reinforce what Amy was just saying. We recognize that reading the first sections of the book and the six walls can feel heavy. It is a lot of pressure on women. There are a lot of really unpleasant things that happen to us in the workplace, and we tell those stories and call it out.

[00:51:31] Leanne Dzubinski: We also want readers to leave with a sense of hope, and so that's why we have that chapter on taking charge of your own success. We don't want people to despair. It is too big for any one of us to solve by ourselves, but if all of us are chipping away at it and working on it, then we do believe that there's hope and that we can make progress.

[00:51:50] Leanne Dzubinski: And so I'll just reinforce yet again, if you're a woman listening to this and it's happening to you, do not take it personally. It is not about you. That is probably the thing that [00:52:00] has become most clear to me and Amy over these years is that this happens to all of us and we not at fault.

[00:52:08] Leanne Dzubinski: And so if you can just even start with that. Repeating that to yourself every day when you're going into work, it's not my fault, right? And there is hope. Then you can maybe have energy to look for solutions and try to find better options for yourself. We women, you know, we're so conditioned to put others first and to neglect our own wellbeing.

[00:52:26] Leanne Dzubinski: And we find that women will put up with this stuff for so long and so much, and we wanna say, you don't necessarily have to do that. It's okay to stand up for yourself and for yourself and to try, create some change and don't just stay stuck and feeling trapped if you're in a situation that's not tenable, cause it's not good for you and it's not good for those around you, people who care about you.

[00:52:48] Anna Stoecklein: Love that. Very good point to re-circle back to and reiterate on, so lovely. All right then. If people take one thing away from this conversation with you today, what would you want it to [00:53:00] be?

[00:53:00] Amy Diehl: Well beyond what Leanne and I have already stated about not taking it personally, the other thing would be that gender bias is a completely solvable problem. Now, that doesn't mean it's easily solvable, but it is solvable. So, the change must start at the top with leadership and in our book that's where we put the onus.

[00:53:19] Amy Diehl: But as we talked about, we also provide strategies for allies and for women to help overcome and mitigate bias behaviors. But the thing to know is that it is completely solvable, but it will take all of us working together to create a gender equitable world.

[00:53:35] Anna Stoecklein: A great note to end on. Gender bias is a completely solvable problem, so let's all go buy the book, read up and get started or continue on, build on what we're doing. So Amy Leanne, thank you so much for your work and thank you so much for being here with me today. This is a really great conversation.

[00:53:56] Amy Diehl: Thank you so much, Anna, for having us.

[00:53:58] Leanne Dzubinski: Yeah. Thank you. [00:54:00] We've enjoyed it.

[00:54:00] Section: Outro

[00:54:01] Anna Stoecklein: Thanks for listening. The Story of Woman is a one woman operation run by me, Anna Stoecklein. So if you enjoy listening and want to help me on this mission of adding woman's perspective to mankind's story, be sure to share with a friend. One mention goes a long way. Hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode and make sure to rate and review the podcast while you're there.

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Amy Diehl
Amy Diehl
Author of Glass Walls
Leanne Dzubinski
Leanne Dzubinski
Author of Glass Walls