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The New Realities Of The ‘Soft War’ On Women In The Workplace

Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg’s success suggests growing opportunity for women but our guests say the reality for most women is much less rosy.

*With Guest Host Jessica Yellin.

In this file photo, Adriana Kugler, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Labor, speaks during the Working for Women - Lansing forum at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development at Michigan State University in Lansing, MI, Thursday, July 26, 2012. (Jeffrey Sauger/Flickr)

In this file photo, Adriana Kugler, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Labor, speaks during the Working for Women – Lansing forum at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development at Michigan State University in Lansing, MI, Thursday, July 26, 2012. (Jeffrey Sauger/Flickr)

Ladies, you’ve probably heard: if you want to rise at work it’s up to you. Lean in! And guys, have you seen the news that with women’s advances, boys are being left behind? Hillary Clinton. Marissa Mayer. Sheryl Sandberg. Three strong women on top means the glass ceiling is gone. Right? Wrong. The authors of a new book say more subtle forms of bias in the workplace are preventing women from advancing on their merit. They call it a new “Soft War on Women”. This hour, On Point: women at work — the facts and the fight.

Guests

Caryl Rivers, author, journalist and professor of journalism at Boston University. Her new book, with Rosalind Barnett, is “The New Soft War on Women: How the Myth of Female Ascendance Is Hurting Women, Men — and Our Economy.” Also co-author of “The Truth About Girls and Boys: Challenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children” and “Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children and Our Jobs.”

Rosalind Barnett, clinical psychologist and senior scientist at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center. Her new book, with Caryl Rivers,The New Soft War on Women: How the Myth of Female Ascendance Is Hurting Women, Men — and Our Economy.” Also co-author of “The Truth About Girls and Boys: Challenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children” and “Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children and Our Jobs.”

Amalia Miller, professor of economics at the University of Virginia.

From The Reading List

Los Angeles Times: For women, it’s not a glass ceiling but a plugged pipeline — “The direct, in-your-face gender discrimination of the past has faded, but bias hasn’t vanished. It’s just gone underground and is growing. Under a veneer of “progress,” what we call the new soft war on women is gaining momentum, based on stubborn stereotypes about what women can’t do.”

Boston Globe: Authors work to reveal hidden gender bias — “Women are still discriminated against in the workplace, they say, but the discrimination has become harder to detect, hidden in subtle biases such as mothers being seen as less dedicated to their work and less deserving of raises or promotions.”

 Slate: Women May Be Underrepresented in STEM Because They’re Too Concerned With Grades — “Focusing too hard on grades is a myopic concern, but it’s not necessarily an irrational one. I bet that women are interested in excelling at school because they know they can, and I bet they’d do the same in STEM fields if the jobs presented them similar prospects for success.”

Read An Excerpt From “The New Soft War on Women” By Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett

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