According to Catalyst, women hold just 15.2 percent of corporate officer positions at Fortune 500 companies, despite all the professional development and mentoring available to them. Could this in part be because many women are unintentionally undermining themselves in the workplace? Shaunti Feldhahn, a former Wall Street analyst, thinks so, and has written The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace to prove it, based on seven years of research and interviews with more than 3,000 men.
Feldhahn, best known for her book on Christian dating relationships, For Women Only, also holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University. "The vast majority of men I spoke with said they could never raise these issues [in the office]," she says. "That was one reason they were so willing to help me. They sensed that women, for the sake of our careers' effectiveness, needed to hear them." Feldhahn recently spoke with Kathryn Whitbourne about her new book, which came out in an expanded Christian edition earlier this month.
What surprised you most while doing your research?
Seriously, if I didn't say, "You've got to be kidding me," it did not make it into the book. From my surveys of men, I realized there was a lot that we as women had misunderstood. One example: There is the work world and the personal world, and they are completely separate. You don't bring personal feelings into the workplace. Women aren't like that. The problem is that when men see anybody not following these laws of gravity, they see them as un-businesslike, and that's a damaging perception.1
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