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Friday, February 07, 2014

Joan C. Williams Coauthors New Book: What Works for Women at Work

Williams coauthored her latest book with her daughter Rachel Dempsey, a student at Yale Law School.
What Works for Women at Work

What Works for Women at Work

Based on her cutting-edge research, nationally-renowned UC Hastings Professor Joan C. Williams in this new book offers tried and tested advice for women at work from the cubicle to the corner office, be they timid or assertive, black or white, juggling a family or single, twenty or sixty years old.

Published by New York University Press, What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know draws on hundreds of published studies and a groundbreaking new study of 127 women at the top of their fields. The result is a researched-based “how-to” manual for any woman trying to figure out what concrete steps she can take upon realizing something’s gone wrong in her career. Whether she hasn't advanced as fast as male counterparts, is told she needs to be more of a team player, feels undercut by other women, or is marginalized by motherhood, What Works for Women at Work can help her understand why and what to do about it.

Joan C. Williams and Rachel DempseyWilliams and Dempsey pinpoint the four ways office politics are trickier for women than men—and even trickier for women of color – and they offer specific strategies to overcome them used by women who have found their way to the top. Women have to prove themselves over and over (“Prove-It-Again!”); they have to navigate a tightrope between being too masculine and too feminine (“Tightrope”); having children just compounds both those problems (“Maternal Wall”); and gender bias often ends up creating highly freighted relationships among women themselves (“Tug of War”).  All of these issues spawn unique, daily obstacles, requiring women to be armed with answers to questions like: What’s the best way to respond when a more senior colleague takes credit for my idea? Or How do I tell my boss I need time off for a child’s dentist appointment?

What’s more, What Works for Women at Work breaks new scientific ground. Williams has taken decades of laboratory research on gender bias out of the classroom and tested it against conversations with real working women. Hers is the first systematic study of the different way women of color experience gender bias in today’s workplace, and how their experiences differs from those of white women. After years of studies and shelves of books on the perspective of one group of woman in the workplace (usually a high-powered professional women), Williams and Dempsey open up the helpline to the rest of the office.

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