Posts Taged women

‘Office Housework’ – Addressing Gender Stereotypes Within the Workplace

office housework

In a recent op-ed essay in The New York Times, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton Business School professor Adam Grant, address the issue of “office housework.” This piece is the third within a four-part series about women in the workplace. In it, Sandberg and Grant state that regardless of their role within an organization, women are likely to “help more but benefit less” than their male counterparts.

Sandberg and Grant reference a study conducted by Madeline Heilman, where men were more likely to benefit than women for equal help. “Office housework” tasks can comprise of mentoring junior colleagues, taking notes during meetings, planning an office party, etc. Grant and Sandberg summarize the findings by saying, “after giving identical help, a man was significantly more likely to be recommended for promotions, important projects, raises and bonuses. A woman had to help just to get the same rating as a man who didn’t help.” So, are women feeling compelled to take on these tasks in order to advance their careers?

secretary coffee

Photo credit: Stockbyte via Getty Images

Additionally, Sandberg and Grant point out that while women are more likely to complete “office housework” behind the scenes, men are likely to make their contributions known publically. Whether helping others behind the scenes or publically, women are more likely than men to burn out over time. Sandberg and Grant cite research saying, “For every 1,000 people at work, 80 more women than men burn out — in large part because they fail to secure their own oxygen masks before assisting others.”

How best to move forward? While there are no simple answers, Sandberg and Grant suggest a change in individual mindset – for women this means prioritizing their own needs before assisting others, for men it means acknowledging women’s efforts and assuming more responsibility for “office housework” tasks.

What do you think? Have you experienced this in your career?

You can read the previous installments within this series here and here.

The Power of a Hashtag


On ongoing Twitter conversation is designed to draw attention to harassment, discrimination and violence experienced by women. Categorized under the hashtag #YesAllWomen, hundreds of thousands of women have shared their stories of date rape, misogyny and other examples of what women fear at the hands of some men, even if not all men (see also: #NotAllMen) engage in those behaviors.

The hashtag was created after Friday’s shooting spree on Isla Vista near the University of Santa Barbara, in which 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed 6 people and injured 13 others before killing himself. In the days and weeks leading up to the attacks, Rodger posted a series of YouTube videos declaring his hatred of all women in part because of the rejection he claimed he suffered at their hands. The #YesAllWomen tweets began as a response to his comments.

By Tuesday morning, #YesAllWomen had been tweeted more than 1 million times. Follow the conversation here.