Bosses and coworkers expect more "favors" from women, a new study from Columbia Business School reveals. Even more frustrating, pretty much any extra work a woman worker takes on is viewed as a favor. Tell us something we didn't know. Specifically, the study found that women are more likely than men both to be asked to help — and to willingly give it.
When the recipients of "favors" were asked how "indebted" they felt, women's help was appreciated less — because, the researchers theorize, it's women to whose help people feel most entitled. And the more "agreeable" the woman was, the less her help was appreciated. Basically, when a woman goes above and beyond the call of duty in the workplace, her coworkers assume she does it because it's a fun activity. For men, extra work is more likely to be perceived for what it is: work.
This lopsided valuation of favors may be a key part of what's holding most women behind in the workplace. Says the Guardian:
It all comes down to the fact that women are essentially locked out of the favor system that helps men get ahead; many powerful men keep a running tally in their heads of who owes them a favor and who doesn't; women, because their favors don't count, never even make it on to that list. Favors are a currency, and women are suffering from a currency crisis.
It's these insidious, everyday forms of sexism that are probably the hardest to fight. But valuing men's and women's work differently? That's prejudice, pure and simple. With more awareness, maybe workers and bosses will think a little harder about who they value and why.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy