In episode 499, Marissa Orr shares fresh, actionable wisdom on the workplace gender gap and reframes how alleged weaknesses can actually be strengths.
Marissa asserts that the ‘lean in’ mentality overlooks how institutions ignore women’s varied desires and wellbeing. With the ‘lean in’ mentality, women are blamed for the gender gap because they aren’t ambitious or assertive—i.e., like men. Marissa counters this with the ‘lean out’ mentality, which pins the blame on institutions for measuring and rewarding success without considering women’s varied strengths and motivations.
People resist acknowledging valid gender differences because of value judgments. People are comfortable discussing trivial gender differences, but get defensive when it becomes about how men and women relate differently to power. Marissa explains that people take offense because they already perceive one as better or stronger than the other when in reality, power is a much broader concept.
“Strengths” depend upon the surrounding context. For example, in zero-sum game contexts, collaboration is seen as a weakness because there are fewer opportunities to create win-win scenarios. But if you flip the context to a cooperative environment, then collaboration becomes a powerful strength.
Find how you can put your strengths to work. Not every setting is designed to let you fully capitalize on your strengths. Thus, it’s important to figure out how your work can meet your needs, how work can’t meet your needs, and how you can fill those gaps with your strengths.
Listen to / read the full episode HERE.