Women: Put Your $%*! Hand Up

You can also read this post and watch the clip on BeltWiki Blog from WhoRunsGov.com. Originally posted there on May 25.

This morning’s episode of Morning Joe was devoted to co-host Mika Brezinski’s book, Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth. Guests included Newsweek editor Tina Brown, Carole King, Norah O’Donnell and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Each offered statistics on women’s pay and ratio to men in the work place, and theories on how women can make their voices better heard.

All great messages, but the best advice I gleaned from the show was from an old clip of Elizabeth Warren, who you may have read a bit about recently on BeltWiki Blog, The Washington Post or Rep. Patrick McHenry’s (R-N.C.) Facebook page. Appointment politics aside, her advice to women who want to advance other women in the workplace is sound.

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I haven’t read Brezinski’s book, but I hope it’s filled with practical advice like Warren’s. Does anyone else want to put ” her damn hand up” to offer similar advice? Or just write it in the comments section.

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David Dejewski

Kudos for having the coolest subject line I’ve seen in a long time. It drew me in.

Unfortunately, I could not easily find the piece your referencing. So, in classic attention deficit style, I gave up. This has started my sexual inequality juices flowing though, so I might be putting up a new Blog post along those lines soon. Thanks for planting the bug. 😉


This subject line needs a resounding applause…it’s about time for women to cosign other women!



Sunny Hester

Thanks for raising this issue Natalie. In my years of work experience – public, private and non-profit sector, I too have witnessed and experienced this invisibility in numerous meetings. As the adage goes, “Life works great if you don’t care who gets the credit” Maybe it’s time for us all to raise our hands – women and men.

David Dejewski

Natalie – I was hoping to read the discussion of Brezinski’s book. I found a lot about politics between the Senators, but nothing about the points I presume Brezinski wants to make.

Rob Carty

Great post. I must be a woman, because that happens to me all the time as well. To quote Will Farrell in Zoolander, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

The academic in me wonders if there are any studies on why this happens. I’ve seen it go this way regardless of gender, but perhaps men are predisposed to being competitive in the workplace and may do this intentionally or subconsciously if their attention/engagement is only at 30-40%. If you’re only half-listening, that great idea that floats by might seem like it came out of nowhere.

Depending on how they’re raised or their level of respect for the opposite sex, men may actually tune-out when women start to speak. Even today, our society reinforces traditional roles at a very early age. I’m battling this now with my 5-year old and the whole “princess” thing. I was proudly surprised when recently she decided to rescue the prince instead of waiting to be rescued. If we raise our sons to think they are the rescuer and our daughters to think they should sit and wait to be rescued, these behaviors will replay in the school/office environment when they get older. Then men start to act in a way that says, “just sit there quietly and wait for me to rescue you – with your idea”.

Natalie Jennings

Thanks y’all. I just get sick of hearing statistics – but hearing something like that – I know I will put to good use. I am lucky to be on a team with four great women but we’ve all been in that position at some point. Another segment later in the show struck a chord for me as well, the one where Carole King and Mika talk about drawing boundaries at home as well. Sometimes it’s easier to forget to do it there than at work.

Dave – here is a link to the segment on Brezinski’s book. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789//vp/43179442#43179442

If you select “transcript” in the bottom left of the video viewing area you can read it. The other segments are available as well. Please ping me when you get your post up, would love to read it.

Finally, in the girl power vein, I liked this Political article yesterday about how the Obama campaign is making a point to install women in senior positions this time around: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55981.html

Tammy Jackson Proffitt

Thank you for this post…i am fed up at being treated like the office wife, even though i am a manager (the sole female manager) who supervises more employees in my office that any other person, including the Director. I am routinely denied opportunities for growth and development while having to put up with comments from our Director, like “come show your pretty face” when being introduced to high level state officials. I have held back from directly speaking my mind because I did not want to be perceived as whiny and I am just so busy…so I chose to focus on simply doing my job very well. I am realizing that my inability to be direct and take up for myself has hurt my career and caused incredible stress. I am raising my hand!

Stephanie Slade

I was quietly having a conversation with a coworker once while our boss was on the phone in the same room. I mentioned an idea I had for one of the decisions we were trying to make and wasn’t even done explaining the reasons why when our boss interrupted his phone conversation to announce to us he’d come up with the answer — mine. Frustrating doesn’t begin to cover what that feels like.

Kirsten Eriksen

Great post – here in New Zealand we have some fantastic role models, including two past women prime ministers. In my experience there are women in most senior governments positions here so there is always someone leading the way.

Kristy Dalton

Thanks Natalie for sharing this video clip. I have to say I have never personally had a problem commanding attention and being heard and recognized at meetings (probably attributed to being brought up in a loud, talkative family 🙂 However, I do agree with the approach of women empowering other women in these situations. We need more women involved in this peer encouragement and support system.

Natalie Jennings

@ Kristy – I wish I was so fearless! Getting more so with age but can use all the reinforcement I can get. I am sure having you around helps the women like me and Tammy in your office feel like they can make themselves heard. Role models (like Warren) are so crucial!

@ Kristen – That’s very cool that NZ is far ahead of the game!