Episode 73: A Nanny Speaks Up

This is real work. Domestic workers make every work possible. If we don’t go to work employers can’t go to their jobs. Don’t we deserve respect? Don’t we deserve to not feel like slaves?
— Jennifer Bernard
Professional women need somebody to look after the house...but people don’t like to think about it. I think women find it more uncomfortable to think about than men because so many of these people are women.
— Alison Wolf

Jennifer bernard

Alison Wolf's book has a provocative sub-title: How the Rise of Working Women Has Created a Far Less Equal World. For a long time I've been wanting to do a show on race and class, and to focus on the women who make the lives of modern professionals run smoothly. First I talk to Alison, a professor at King's College London and a labor market expert. Then we spend the rest of the show with Jennifer Bernard, a Trinidad-born, New York-based nanny. We hear about the unequal work environment that is the home, how she began to gain confidence on the job, and what makes her feel successful.

You can also read a transcript of the show.

This episode of The Broad Experience is sponsored by Foreign Affairs magazine. Go to ForeignAffairs.com/broad for more than three-quarters off a yearly subscription.

Thanks to Foreign Affairs for supporting the podcast for a second year running.

Alison Wolf

Alison Wolf

Episode 72: The Power of Image (re-release)

This is not a sexist thing. This is a communication thing. What are you communicating by how you appear?
— Mrs. Moneypenny
Photo by XiXinXing/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by XiXinXing/iStock / Getty Images
Knowing that I’m going to be in a mill with high humidity...it doesn’t make sense to put on makeup because it’s just going to run off. It doesn’t make sense to put on expensive clothes.
— Amy Johnson

Our appearance affects the way others see us, whether we like it or not. Most successful women spend a lot of time thinking about the image they present to the outside world. But how you 'should' look in a professional setting can depend on where you work. And while there's endless emphasis on women's appearance, men have to think about this too. The power of image runs deep.

This show, which first ran in 2013, features regular TBE guest Mrs. Moneypenny/Heather McGregor and engineer Amy Johnson (right), with a quick appearance by longtime McKinsey partner Joanna Barsh.

You can also read a transcript of the show.

Episode 71: Our Bodies, Our Work

We still think of men as the normal people, and men’s bodies as normal bodies, and then women represent this abnormal case that’s problematic for employers and society in general.
— Heather Dillaway
Photo by yamahavalerossi/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by yamahavalerossi/iStock / Getty Images

Every month for much of their lives, women go through something at work that men do not. In this show we delve into the intersection of menstruation and work. The workplace is becoming ever more female, yet women are still fitting into a structure designed by men, for men - and that means dealing with both periods and menopause in whispers. 

My guests are sociology professor Heather Dillaway, employee and endometriosis sufferer Rachel Ben Hamou, and Julie Sygiel, founder and chief creative officer of performance underwear company Dear Kate

You can also read a transcript of the show. I'd love to hear from you in the comments - does this topic make you squirm or should it be discussed more openly (or both)?

Further reading: Here's the Daily Mail piece on women who have stopped their periods to make life at work easier. 

This Guardian piece will tell you a lot more about endometriosis - it also contains a section with testimonies from sufferers about the huge impact the condition has on their lives. One in ten women is estimated to have endometriosis. 

I enjoyed this piece on dealing with the menopause at work that appeared in More in 2007. I was interested to see how much of the advice was about covering up your symptoms for the very reasons Heather alluded to in the podcast - people will think you are old otherwise.

This NPR piece gives you an insight into how things are for women in the developing world - many girls in Nepal are banished to live in outdoor sheds during their periods.

Also from NPR...when space is your workspace, and what happens when you get your period up there.

Episode 70: A Female Education

Our students do come out of here quite confident…they have a sense of self, a sense of poise and confidence I don’t see coming out of many of the co-ed schools.
— Debora Spar
Photo by michaeljung/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by michaeljung/iStock / Getty Images
It was harder to figure out on my own how to apply this belief that my thoughts were important.
— Michelle Fan

In this show we look at the merits a single-sex education and how that affects you as you enter the workplace. The US was a pioneer in the world of female education: it used to have hundreds of women's colleges, many of them founded in the 19th century. Even today more than 40 survive, and plenty of them thrive.

I interview Debora Spar (left), the president of one of the most famous and popular, Barnard. We talk about her efforts to bring Barnard some male energy, the all-female classroom, and Spar's views on emoting at the office. We also hear from three Broad Experience listeners who attended women's colleges - Ashley Pope, Jamie Buck-Tomek and Michelle Fan. In their cases, the colleges were Barnard and Smith. So does being educated among other women mean you have a better or worse experience when you enter a workplace designed by men, for men?

If you're not the listening type you can read a transcript of the show.

This episode of the show is sponsored by Foreign Affairs - if you go to ForeignAffairs.com/broad you'll get an entire three-quarters off a year's subscription.

Further reading: Debora Spar is the author of several books including The Baby Business and Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection.

A liberal arts education doesn't come cheap. Barnard and Smith are among the most expensive colleges in the US - each has a price tag of around $45,000 per year. And that's for tuition alone. They're about the same price as a year at Harvard (but cheaper than a year at Columbia).

The Women's College Coalition has more information about America's remaining women's colleges.

This is the episode of Freakonomics I mentioned on the show where they interviewed Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust.

Episode 69: Working with Other Women

Many women are shocked when their female boss is not nice to them. Whereas I don’t think they’d be as shocked when a male boss isn’t nice to them.
— Katherine Crowley

                                       Photo courtesy of US Marine corps archives

It's a cliché but it's true: many women dislike working with other women. They claim female bosses and colleagues undermine them, talk behind their backs, and generally make them miserable.

But what if you're part of the problem?

In this show we delve into the dynamics of female relationships, why they can be so antagonistic, and how you can help redress the balance. My guests are Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster of K Squared Enterprises. They host their own podcast on the workplace, My Crazy Office. They're also the authors of Mean Girls At Work.

Katherine Crowley (l) and Kathi Elster

Katherine Crowley (l) and Kathi Elster

Thanks to Foreign Affairs magazine, which is sponsoring this episode of the show. Head to ForeignAffairs.com/broad to get a year's subscription for $19.95 - that's more than 80% off.

Further reading: A number of pieces like this one on a recent Columbia Business School study claim 'queen bee syndrome' is overblown.

This piece on yet another study suggests female supervisors are in fact more supportive of junior men than junior women - and pay them more.

This is an article on women's preference for working with men (but note it's a fairly small number of women who say they want this set-up).

You can also read a transcript of the show.

Episode 68: Introverts at the Office

Men have had the advantage to some degree of having that strong silent type, that label that is sometimes valued or seen as an attractive feature. And a quiet woman is automatically assumed to be shy.
— Beth Buelow
Photo by XiXinXing/iStock / Getty Images

Last year I released a show on authenticity at the office - how authentic, really, can women be at work, I asked? For many women the answer is 'not very.' That said, the conversations on that podcast revolved around being too big a personality for your workplace.

A few months later I met a friend for dinner. She mentioned how tough it was to fit in at her office because she was an introvert in a sea of extroverts. I'd never thought about that side of authenticity - when your personality isn't big enough for your colleagues' liking. That's what this show is about: When and how to adapt to an extrovert culture, and whether quiet women are losing out because others don't see them as leaders.

Beth Buelow

I have three guests this week. Beth Buelow is a strong advocate for introverts and their talents. She hosts The Introvert Entrepreneur podcast and is the author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms. My other guests are Lisa Sonnier (a 'reformed introvert'), who talks about managing introverts, and Frieda Klotz, the introvert who got me thinking about all this in the first place.

As usual, I'd love to hear from you - if you have something you want to add to this discussion please comment below.

And if you're interested in supporting this one-woman show with a $50 donation, you will get a Broad Experience T-shirt in return. All details are right here. Thank you so much to those of you who've already signed up.

Finally, here's a transcript of the show.