What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey

Title: What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know
Author: Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: January 17, 2014
ISBN: 9781479835454
Number of Pages: 394
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle


An essential resource for any working woman, What Works for Women at Work is a comprehensive and insightful guide for mastering office politics as a woman. Authored by Joan C. Williams, one of the nation’s most-cited experts on women and work, and her daughter, writer Rachel Dempsey, this unique book offers a multi-generational perspective into the realities of today’s workplace. Often women receive messages that they have only themselves to blame for failing to get ahead—Negotiate more! Stop being such a wimp! Stop being such a witch! What Works for Women at Work tells women it’s not their fault. The simple fact is that office politics often benefits men over women.
Based on interviews with 127 successful working women, over half of them women of color, What Works for Women at Work presents a toolkit for getting ahead in today’s workplace. Distilling over 35 years of research, Williams and Dempsey offer four crisp patterns that affect working women: Prove-It-Again!, the Tightrope, the Maternal Wall, and the Tug of War. Each represents different challenges and requires different strategies—which is why women need to be savvier than men to survive and thrive in high-powered careers. 
Williams and Dempsey’s analysis of working women is nuanced and in-depth, going far beyond the traditional cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approaches of most career guides for women. Throughout the book, they weave real-life anecdotes from the women they interviewed, along with quick kernels of advice like a “New Girl Action Plan,” ways to “Take Care of Yourself”, and even “Comeback Lines” for dealing with sexual harassment and other difficult situations. Up-beat, pragmatic, and chock full of advice, What Works for Women at Work is an indispensable guide for working women.
Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Her books include Unbending Gender: Why Work and Family Conflict and What to Do About It and Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter.

Rachel Dempsey is a writer and student at Yale University’s School of Law. Her work has appeared online in publications such as The Huffington Post and Psychology Today, among others.
My Review:
This book is a great addition to "Lean In" and covers aspects other books such as "The Feminine Mystique" missed. For example:
"The women who were interviewed for this book, represent a wide range of ages, ethnicities, ad backgrounds. Joan C. Williams interviewed 67 women for The New Girls' Network. These women were roughly 40 to 60 years of age and at the top of their fields. They worked in business, medicine, academia, government, and the legal profession. Three ran their own businesses. Eleven identified themselves as women of color, specifically as black (or African American), Latina, and Asian (or Asian American). The interviews were conducted over the phone between June 2, 2010, and November 6, 2012."

"For the National Science Foundation Project, 60 women-of-color scientists were interviewed by Erika R. Hall, a PhD candidate at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. The scientists interviewed represent a variety of scientific disciplines Most of the women worked in academic settings. They identified as black (or African American), Latina, and Asian (or Asian American). These women were roughly 30 to 60 years of age. The interviews were conducted over the phone between June 4, 2012, and October 5, 2012."
With a foreword by Anne-Marie Slaughter, Williams and Dempsey identify four patterns of behavior that create the primary obstacles to women's advancement to leadership positions across every industry:

  1. Prove-It-Again!
  2. The Tightrope
  3. The Maternal Wall
  4. Tug of War
After detailing these four behavior patterns, the authors give readers great section such as BADASS WOMEN WHO BROKE THE RULES, options for how to respond to various situations, and how to protect your rights. 

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **

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