Obama on emancipation, communication and modesty: 5 career tips for women

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In Munich, Barack Obama spoke about gender equality at Bits & Pretzels, among other things. Men should learn to listen better, managers should become active. Is it really that simple?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Barack Obama - that's how he thinks about women at work

For Barack Obama, the matter is simple: “As Executive you have to recognize the problem and then make appropriate decisions, ”he said at the Bits & Pretzels start-up festival in Munich.

And further: "Men always think they know what they're talking about, even if they have no idea, but women are much more reserved, so you have to encourage them." When asked how that would find his male co-workers, Obama just said, "I told them to be calm and listen."

Women - do they just want to have too little career?

In fact, it is actually not quite as easy as politicians would like it to be. Because it can often be observed that women are not the first to “here!” scream when it comes to a new job at work.

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Men, on the other hand, are said to be more adventurous, daring, and more risk-tolerant, often making the bigger leaps in our company's assertiveness.

Is the feel-good factor more important for women?

Women, on the other hand, are said to have a more emotional relationship with work, according to the common doctrine of many experts, allegedly more important than to make money. I agree only partially.

On the one hand, just last week, I had an exciting conversation on the topic of re-entering work for the 50 and the question of why women at this age generally do not dare enough.

Modesty prevents women from advancing

On the other hand, just on the train, on the way home from the Obama event, I came across a very successful example of how some people (usually, in my experience, actually men) turn even defeats into victories:

A young man on the train reported on the phone about a musical audition - and why it hadn't been taken. His statement: "I've played better than ever in my life, but the level was so blatantly high." I have never heard a similar euphemistic statement from a woman.

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5 career tips for women

Therefore it is partly certain that women themselves take their careers and finances into their own hands. 5 Tips:

  1. Look more at the money and negotiate: Study results suggest that men are more concerned about making money, while women are more likely to feel at work. Allegedly, 25 percent of women have never negotiated their salary. This may also be related to the traditional role of men as a family breadwinner, but in fact this is the first step for women to make a difference here: looking for a job, even better choosing a career, looking straight at the money, actively demanding a good pay and ask for regular salary increases later in the job as well.
  2. Do not decide too timidly: Men often decide quickly and without hesitation, women weigh when they have a chance, so the advantages and disadvantages are more important. That is why they are less committed to their own interests and are more willing to compromise, which is not always to their advantage. Therefore: Just take risks and “No!” say - the effect of no as a career booster is often underestimated anyway.
  3. Set goals and have visions: For many people, not women, your goals are inaccurate and blurry. But anyone who wants to do everything possible to achieve a goal, must make clear where he wants to go. After all, success depends essentially on realistic goals and the energy that one applies for them: Therefore, women with career ambitions should develop corresponding visions for their lives.
  4. The right career choice: The whole thing already begins, as already mentioned, in the choice of career. Apparently, according to numerous studies, women still choose the wrong jobs. Therefore, one should deliberately take as a benchmark not only one's own inclinations, which can change according to the level of knowledge, but also the earning potential in the eye. In any case, I would not have believed that I would deal with equities and financial issues.
  5. Courage for leadership position: The importance of advancing in the hierarchy financially can be seen at the latest when one takes a closer look at typical women’s professions. In fact, many sectors dominated by women are paid less because women are often more modest. But if you then look at the higher hierarchical levels of such professions, there are often men sitting here too - and they are usually still very well paid.

Women: Just want the right thing?

Should that mean again, women are to blame themselves, because they want the wrong and do not define their goals exactly? Exactly in this, in my opinion, the real crux of this repeatedly heard statement: If women in the job is actually more important in the job to be satisfied than to earn a lot of money, which is quite ok.

This is only problematic because they still complain about the injustices, but less about it. Indeed, there are also real initiatives that women should place in male professions, such as in technology and the natural sciences.

Obama's conclusion: actively calling for change

However, as Barack Obama has recognized - using his daughters as an example - they fall far short of the mark: When choosing these math courses, he found that women learn very differently from men, much more team-oriented and communicative. "So to get women excited about tech jobs where they are underrepresented, you have to start with the education system," he said.

Many do, which shows how much the issue of emancipation must be fundamentally addressed. On the other hand, it is positive that the younger generation demands equal rights much more confidently. And that is exactly the right approach that could usher in the end of female modesty.

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