Over-sharing or double-bind for working mums?
Hi Dorothy - I was recently taken to task by my manager for telling a new business contact (not commercial) via email that I had been busy because it was "back to school" time. I then overheard a male colleague say exactly the same thing with no comment at all made. What do you think? Is that fair? Sonya, Washington
Hi Sonya There are a couple of issues here. If you are working in education, or an education-related sector (school supplies or services, for example) or if you are a student yourself, then clearly the upturn in workload experienced by the start of the academic year could meaningfully be shared. However, I have the impression you are not.
From my point of view, your personal/family routines and schedules (this is not an emergency) should not really be relevant professionally, unless you know the contact socially and have the sort of established relationship where the sharing of personal news is part of your business interaction. If it's a new contact as you say, it may not have been appropriate. It's certainly not relevant if used to explain, or cover, a business delay or other professional issue. My observation is that women can get into "mummy mode" very early in a business relationship and for some people this can mean over-sharing.
If the feedback is not related to the fact that the contact is new, but more connected to the double-bind of the "daddy syndrome" where your male colleague is concerned, then no, I don't think it's fair. Men who show they are actively engaged in childcare activities tend to be viewed more sympathetically than women with the same or even greater childcare roles. This happens ironically even when men deal with women. I experienced this myself recently when male and female service providers could not make appointments because of issues with their children. I was aware of registering almost automatic sympathy with the man (ahh... so cute) and I try to be mindful of these biases.
Do I think this is right? No - it's just another sub-conscious bias that is part of our everyday lives. I would suggest raising the issue with your boss, to establish what was behind his comment. In a relatively lighthearted way, I would also remind him of what happened with your colleague so at least there is an awareness that it's going on!
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
APRIL 2nd 2020 #SAFEDISTANCE ONLINE POWER COACHING WITH ANNABEL KAYE
Join Dorothy Dalton and Annabel Kaye for a FREE online session to support anyone who has workplace concerns and needs career support during the COVID-19 crisis.
WHEN Thursday April 2nd 0800 EDT 1400 GMT 1500 CET
Contact @[email protected] for the Zoom link and submit a question about what is on your mind.
Being distant doesn't mean feeling isolated or insecure.
20th APRIL 2020 - LEARNING TO MANAGE UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Corporate Lunch & Learn Event - Amadeus, Dubai, U.A.E.
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
LinkedIn offers great opportunities to maintain professional connections in a fast and efficient way. Use these 8 quick hacks to stay in touch on LinkedIn with your network.read more
Reasons why working from home should be a benefit not a policy after the crisis Working from home should be on the table as a much more viable and tested future benefit and option – not a policy The airwaves are awash with speculation the impact the COVID19 crisis...read more
The COVID-19 crisis has caused major challenges but your message to job seekers during this global pandemic has to be on point compassionate and authentic. Find out why.read more