Aida Zabidi
A friend recently told me about problems she’d had with her boss, and how she was being cut from projects after he didn’t like the way she had responded during a meeting. Although she had attempted to meet him after and explain herself, he’d refused to see her or give her feedback. 

I found it shocking that he would display such behaviour and felt that it was very unprofessional. I didn’t know him at all, and couldn’t comment if his response was typical of his personality or if he was just being biased towards her, but it did get me thinking about the treatment of individuals at the office. 

I’d recently read Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’, and found it a fantastic book that talked about attitudes and challenges of women in the workplace. Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook. Her book was well written, and very relatable, and I found myself fascinated by a lot of content she discussed with regards to women and their careers, things that often seemed straightforward but were sometimes a result of conditioning and social circumstance.

She’d spoken a lot about how women are sometimes their own barriers towards success, but what I found interesting were the studies she cited about the differences between sexes and perceived attitudes. Authority was seen as something admirable and natural to males, whereas the same scenario applied to a woman came across as bossy or demanding. The research also showed how women needed to change the way they respond in order to change those perceptions, and this I found something very interesting. 

It was good practical advice to bring to the workplace, because it was true – women do not have to become men in order to become successful, and we have to acknowledge and embrace those differences, and then learn to work around them. It is a double standard, but one that can be addressed.

Needless to say, I bought my friend a copy of the book. May it hold her in good stead.
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