More Perfect – Justice, Interrupted

The rules of oral argument at the Supreme Court are strict: when a justice speaks, the advocate has to shut up.  But a law student noticed that the rules were getting broken again and again —by men.  He and his professor set out to chart an epidemic of interruptions.  If women can’t catch a break in the boardroom or the legislature (or at the MTV VMA’s), what’s it going to take to let them speak from the bench of the highest court in the land?

 

Justice Interrupted: The Effect of Gender, Ideology and Seniority at Supreme Court Oral Arguments

‘Riling Up the Crazies’

As long as I’ve covered politics, Republicans have been trying to scare me.

Sometimes, it has been about gays and transgender people and uppity women looming, but usually it has been about people with darker skin looming.

They’re coming, always coming, to take things and change things and hurt people.

A Democratic president coined the expression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But it was Republicans who flipped the sentiment and turned it into a powerful and remorseless campaign ethos: Make voters fear fear itself.

The president has, after all, put a tremendous effort into the sulfurous stew of lies, racially charged rhetoric and scaremongering that he has been serving up as an election closer. He has been inspired to new depths of delusion, tweeting that “Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions, Democrats will not! Vote Republican.

He has been twinning the words “caravan” and “Kavanaugh” in a mellifluous poem to white male hegemony. Whites should be afraid of the migrant caravan traveling from Central America, especially since “unknown Middle Easterners” were hidden in its midst, an alternative fact that he cheerfully acknowledged was based on nothing.

The word “Kavanaugh” is meant to evoke the fear that aggrieved women will hurtle out of the past to tear down men from their rightful perches of privilege.

Naomi Wolf told Bill Clinton, and later Al Gore, they should present themselves as the Good Father, strong enough to protect the home (America) from invaders.

What #MeToo Has to Do With the Workplace Gender Gap

A new study from Lean In and McKinsey shows the pervasiveness of sexual harassment at the office and the persistence of inequality. That isn’t a coincidence.

What has been less apparent, though, is how harassment and the gender gap are inextricably linked. In fact, management experts and executives say, harassment can be a direct side effect of a workplace that slights women on everything from pay to promotions, especially when the perception is that men run the show and women can’t speak up.

Putting more women into executive ranks where they can have a greater collective voice goes hand-in-hand with making workplaces feel safer and more inclusive

.. “You can’t separate them,” she says. “When women see other women in a position of leadership, it reframes what they think is possible to them.”

.. Among women in technical roles, 45% reported experiencing harassment, while 55% of women in senior positions did.

“This is about power,” says Rachel Thomas, president of LeanIn.Org, the nonprofit founded by Facebook Inc.’s Sheryl Sandberg to support women in their career ambitions. “And there is still a dramatic power imbalance in the workplace.”

.. One in five women say they are often the only, or one of the only, women in the room or a meeting—and women commonly in those situations are at greater risk of harassment and more subtle forms of discrimination
.. “I joke that I chose a career where there’s no line for the bathroom,” says Kate Mitchell
.. “Decisions get made in the men’s room,” she says. “Do you follow them into the men’s room? Do you put your ear against the wall? Many times, it was easy to hear and so when they came out, I’d just start up the conversation” where they’d left off.
.. there are signs #MeToo is having an effect. Corporate hotlines have lit up since Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein became the first of dozens of powerful men to be toppled by harassment allegations last October.
.. Microsoft Corp. , Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. have scrapped agreements that forced employees to resolve harassment claims in arbitration hearings rather than in open court.
.. cracked down on a frat-house work culture by banning alcohol in the office.

.. One thing managers spotted and changed was that there wasn’t always a woman on the job-interview team. That could both discourage female applicants and contribute to biased hiring decisions
.. To help get the conversation going, Ms. Steinberg told the group how, early in her career at another company, one of the most senior men cornered her in the copy room and groped her breast. Though she told her then-boss, they concluded the man held so much power that she would be better off not pressing the matter.
“I think back on it and still feel humiliated,” she says. At Zenefits, “we need to make sure employees know they have a voice.”
.. Another frequent question: whether hugging a colleague is still all right.
.. While nearly 60% of men say gender diversity is a high priority at their companies, only 44% of women do. Men are also more likely to worry the diversity focus will make their workplaces less of a meritocracy. In fact, one in seven say they worry that being a man will make it harder for them to advance.
.. That could include efforts as small as highlighting a point a woman made in a meeting if someone interrupts her, or, if a colleague repeats her idea without giving her credit, pointing out that she raised it first
.. create succession plans for their positions, and each has to include at least one woman and a person with a minority background. That motivates bosses to make sure those candidates get the experience and support they need to be viable potential successors
In the past, “everything we did was a program, this thing on diversity or this thing on unconscious-bias training,” Mr. Schlifske says. “I don’t think those are bad, but I just never saw those work if you didn’t add something in the workplace that was more day-to-day kind of stuff.”

She’s Not Mad. She’s Just Not Using Exclamation Points.

A couple of other women joined me in going exclamation-free and learned quickly what employees expect of women bosses.

Feedback was immediate for one, a communications executive at a large San Francisco tech company. “Good job. You managed that well,” she wrote to one staffer who had deftly handled a tricky matter. The woman’s instant reply: “Are you mad at me?”

.. Perhaps her male colleagues wondered, but only women admitted to feeling discomfited by her tone, a reaction that echoes the work of Georgetown University linguist Deborah Tannen. Ms. Tannen has found that women (and men) expect emphasis and enthusiasm from other women, frequently in the form of exclamations or all-caps type.

.. Going without felt great, even freeing, at times. I stopped short of boss email—immediate, terse replies lacking context or punctuation, usually sent to underlings—but it was nice to be just another manager, making sure work gets done.

Maybe it even made me a better manager. I ended emails with questions for recipients to make clear I was interested in them, and I cheated with exclamations in disguise (“What would we do without you?”).

For the new staffer on my team, sending kudos without exclamation points prompted me to walk to her desk and praise her work—hardly revolutionary, but effective. Other times, I ditched email for that classic-but-ignored piece of office technology, the telephone.

Still, I was nagged by the sense that my tone was off-putting, despite my workarounds. That came into sharp relief at midmonth when our babysitter nearly quit, thinking she was about to be fired.