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Women listen

Women have always faced problems because of gender. In today’s world, women have worked hard to become equal to men, but there is still a line between genders. An article in The New York Times by Tara Mohr spoke to me because of her strong message to all women. The article is titled  “Learning to Love Criticism” and is supported by a study done for Fortune.com. The article does help readers understand that criticism, whether harsh or proactive, is important to help better yourself. But this article’s main focus is on women.

Mohr’s article was based on performance reviews given to employees over 28 companies. Instead of looking at performance of employees, the study looked at the difference in criticism given to women and men. The results from the study were presented in the article, “76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was “abrasive,” “judgmental” or “strident.” Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.”

Women must walk a thin line in order to come across as strong but not “abrasive.” There is this idea that women should do their jobs and be nothing but nice to everybody. Because of this, many women tend to hold back and not stand up for themselves in order to avoid harsh criticism. The criticism that women receive by simply doing their job effectively can lead to negative perceptions of themselves. Women need to handle criticism and use it to better themselves.

Brenda Castonguay, Vice President-Administration of Cree Lighting talked to me about women and how they are affected in the workplace. Castonguay believes, “Women are still held to a higher standard of performance than male counterparts. In essence, my experience is that we have to be ‘better’ than our male counterparts to be viewed as performing at the same level.  While this has certainly improved over time there is still a different expectation based on gender.”

Many people today believe differently and believe that the gender discrepancy is non existent.

Emily Alpert Reyes’ article “Young women closing workplace gender gap” in The Los Angeles Times discusses the vanishing line between men and women. “Just 15% of young women said they had suffered discrimination because of their gender at work,” said Reyes.

It is true that the discrimination among men and women has become less pronounced over the years–but we still see it. Later in the article Reyes states, “Women seem tantalizingly close to achieving gender equality in the workplace, at least when it comes to wages.” While Reyes does acknowledge that women’s pay is coming closer to men’s each year, she also agrees to the issue of inequality in the workplace.

No matter how pronounced the discrimination between men and women is, the criticism women receive is real. Mohr’s article is titled “Learning to Love Criticism” and that’s what women, even men, need to understand. Mohr questioned in the article, “Does that criticism in some way mirror what I believe about myself?” Asking yourself this question can establish your mindset and help get over the judgement. Especially targeted at women who receive this criticism and judgement for the wrong reasons, the answer to the question will help women break the barrier between men.

Women’s opportunities are only expanding. The historical past of women’s rights has showed how far we have come today. Women need to learn and are learning how to accept the criticism and are working to destroy differences between genders.


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