Executive Leadership Consultant and Business Advisor Carol Sankar is a woman you want on your side. She is the founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, a global executive firm helping women achieve c-level positions; and she lives this mission. She has also recently started the site I Deserve Equal Pay and devotes her time to mentoring women in collective confidence and business negotiation tactics.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and sharing some thoughts with Carol about women's equality in the workplace, and some high-level tips for women on how to get there. She had some interesting insight to share on why women establish themselves by gender at work, and how to break free from conditioned social behavior.
A Simple Psychology
Society raises boys and girls with particular gender roles and social norms that carry over into adulthood—specifically playing out in the workplace. Carol asserts that even the strongest of women can be pre-conditioned to be intimidated by men on the job. She points out that many women are scared of the men that are in the places they want to be, and affirms:
Although women may be intimidated by men in the workplace, they are well aware that gender is the only unique identifier, and that men have access to stomping grounds they may never see.
Despite this awareness, women may still find themselves waiting to speak, using a high-pitched tone, not asking questions, and generally acquiescing to the men on the job. This type of behavior is taught to girls at a young age and is based on the idea that one should never "emasculate" men. Thus this conduct tends to give men all the power in the workplace, while women fear the competition. To hear Carol elaborate further on this topic, and the rest of our fascinating conversation, click on the link below:
3 High-Level Tips for Women in the Workforce
Although Carol is juggling a full schedule with speaking engagements and mentoring successful women, she still had time to sit down with me and give a few helpful tips for any woman in the workforce looking to accelerate her career.
1. Turn Off the TV
By this Carol simply means to ignore the media like men do. Not only is this distracting to business, but media is rife with subliminal messages to women that can be damaging. From playing into the stereotypes of gender inequality to creating self-doubt, media is intended to condition people in a certain way.
2. Negotiate Everything
As a global leader and speaker, Carol knows her worth. An engagement needs to match her skills, characteristics, and message in order for her to give the green light and attend.
When it comes to speaking engagements, most men make 5 to 6 times as much as women, so negotiation is key. You should never settle for less than you deserve, and if your needs are not met, you shouldn't show up. As Carol so eloquently puts it:
3. Add Money to Everything
Money is the great equilibrium, and you don't have to accept a salary or the base pay offered. Women can present a value proposition and ask for more money in almost any situation. You shouldn't be ashamed to ask for what you are worth.
In the workplace, a conversation usually begins with the budget when it comes to women, and isn't even brought up until the end of the conversation for men. Women should be cognizant of that and ready to negotiate from the gate. You should never be doing anything for free unless there is specific value to be gained. This can be anything from networking to making a sale.
Carol has created a business around building confidence, and that even extends to how we dress in the workplace.
Do Female Entrepreneurs Wear Skirts?
You don't need a pantsuit to be a powerful woman. Attire can be tricky for women in the workplace, but Carol claims it all simply boils down to class, comfort, and confidence.
How you present yourself is ultimately more important than what you are wearing. When you are comfortable in your clothes, you can be more confident in business.
As a final thought, Carol wants people to know that there is a gem in everyone. We have to start seeing the value in people—regardless of appearance or gender. Look at the person next to you and don't discount their value.
Women in the workplace have to exude confidence and not be afraid to ask for what they are worth. Women's equality spans beyond equal pay. It's about creating an environment where everyone can thrive based on his or her merits, and not simply because of gender.