Bossy? No, I’m just working harder than you

Women in business face unique challenges due to preconceived gender roles. It’s time for change.

Martha Pietruszewski

Hi, my name is Martha. I’m a senior at Carlson School of Management. I’m majoring in supply chain, and I’m trying not to be annoying — but I’m probably coming off that way.
 
 
Pitching yourself to someone is hard. You don’t want to sound overly cocky, but you also don’t want to be boring. For women, this task is even more difficult.
 
 
Workplaces are generally more forgiving of men than women. So as women, we have to work twice as hard for people to perceive us in the way we want.  
 
 
It’s the unfortunate truth that society perceives women as bossy, pushy or crazy. I believe this happens because there is a lack of female role models who can show people how women really behave in the workplace. 
 
 
Luckily, we have Sheryl Sandberg to look up to. Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and wrote a book called, “Lean In.” This book is all about how women are holding themselves back and creating challenges for themselves. It seeks to empower women to be their best and teach how them to be confident in the workplace and at home. 
 
 
Women like Sandberg are great role models. Because of her, I’m less afraid to voice my opinions in the workplace. I’m also less likely to do menial tasks of no importance. 
 
 
More confidence is just what women need to break past the stereotypes of what people think of us at work and at school. 
 
 
Confidence also helps us to reframe some of the judgmental statements people direct toward working women. When someone tells you you’re bossy, spin that and tell yourself you’re motivating your team or classmates to do their work. 
 
 
It’s also a good idea to reflect on why someone might say these things to you in the first place. If someone called you crazy, maybe they were just having a bad day. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is usually more productive than not. 
 
 
However, it’s unfortunate that women have to take all of these extra steps to be personable because of the double standard we live with. If you consistently experience name-calling, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your classmate or coworker — disrespect is unacceptable behavior, and women should not tolerate it.
 
 
Calling women names or judging them does no good for anyone, and society will miss out on potentially valuable ideas if it doesn’t give women a chance to share them. 
 
 
Did you know it was a women who discovered the double helix DNA structure? Or have you heard about Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest female billionaire, who created a new way to test blood? 
 
 
Just because we may seem bossy or focused on a work-life balance doesn’t mean women in business aren’t capable of coming up with good ideas and being productive members of society.
 
 
I mean, the gender ratio in the opinions-editorials department at the Minnesota Daily is 2-to-1 women to men. Is that a coincidence? 
 
 
Martha Pietruszewski welcomes comments at [email protected]