She’s Geeky

This week, I went to She’s Geeky, an unconference for women in technology. There were sessions on topics technical, organizational, entrepreneurial, and personal.
One interesting session was on managing groups of men. The conversation dealt with some of the style differences between women and men, the list below comes from that session and some others that dealt with the topic:
* women communicate by telling stories that put the issue into context; men are more likely communicate with bullet points and arguments
* women often try to lead conversations by asking questions and getting others to contribute; this can be read as weakness
* decisiveness and strong opinions from women can be read as bitchiness. People varied in their reaction to this, ranging from “claim your inner bitch” to “learn to respect people with alternative skills and styles”
* see above: women may care too much about what other people think about them.
* women sometimes have trouble saying no; there was a whole session on the topic that I didn’t go to.
* on the whole, more men believe they’re above average, and more women believe they are below average (think about this for a moment…) women need to learn to filter men’s boasts when they aren’t matched by reality, realize their own competence, and get safe support to build confidence.
There were also some rather unfunny stories of traditional sexism: the only female engineer in a group being asked to decorate a new office; a woman who found she was making less than similarly qualified men; a woman executive being asked to regularly provide fashion advice to her CEO (and she seemed to feel obligated to do it). (I suggested that she refer him to the neiman marcus personal shopping service.

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