Stanford sociologists study: “Why women stay behind the scenes at work”

14 Feb Stanford sociologists study: “Why women stay behind the scenes at work”

Avoiding backlash, feeling authentic and balancing work with family responsibilities are reasons women shared with Stanford researchers about why they opt to work on the sidelines.

Why many professional women avoid the spotlight is the topic of a new paper published by three Stanford researchers. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Why many professional women avoid the spotlight is the topic of a new paper published by three Stanford researchers. (Image credit: Getty Images)

For two years, the three sociologists immersed themselves in a women’s professional development program at a large nonprofit organization in the United States. They conducted interviews with 86 program participants and observed 36 discussion groups and 15 program-wide meetings where many of the women shared the barriers and biases they encountered at their organization, as well as the strategies they used to overcome them.

They found that for many of the women they studied, there are competing expectations that get in the way of them following common career tips like “take a seat at the table,” “speak with authority” and “interject at meetings.”

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