Episode 76: Communicating While Female

I have decided that rather than changing myself to be taken more seriously, I would rather just stay who I am and make people take people like me more seriously.
— Jessie Char
Our true selves don’t show when we’re in more anxiety ridden situations...Why do we think we should be born an amazing communicator? We’re not.
— Ita Olsen

The way women communicate is getting a lot of scrutiny these days - from upspeak and vocal fry to indirect emails and over-apologizing, we're being urged to change our ways.

Jessie char

In this show we look at whether the way women use language is our problem, or society's. Jessie Char is fed up of being criticized for her voice and the feminine way she dresses. She says the critique comes down to simple sexism. Teo Cristea has taken voice classes to help her come across better in a professional context. And communication coach Ita Olsen says communication is meant to get us what we want out of life - so why wouldn't we want to improve our skills?

Ita olsen

Ita olsen

This episode of the show is sponsored by Write/Speak/Code. If you're in tech check out the upcoming conference and tell your company about it too - they're looking for sponsors. (Hear more about Write/Speak/Code in episode 24, Women in Tech Speak Up.)

You can also read a transcript of the show.


Episode 75: Redefining Success

There becomes this thing inside of us that we know if we don’t jump we’re going to die inside just a little.
— Whitney Johnson
I wanted to explore why I was so obsessed with this idea that I had failed in my ambition - that I had failed in not really pursuing it to the ends of the earth.
— Tess Vigeland

It's the end of the year - a time when a lot of us think about changing our lives in one way or another. In this show we talk to two traditionally successful women who left their old work lives for the unknown. But jumping meant leaving their identities behind as well as their paychecks. 

Tess vigeland

Tess vigeland

Tess Vigeland is the former host of Marketplace Money, the public radio show here in the US. She left her job at the top of her game, and initially wondered if she was nuts to have done so. She writes about it in Leap - Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want. Whitney Johnson was itching to move away from her comfortable existence at Merrill Lynch and challenge herself in new ways. She invites other people to do something similar in her book, Disrupt Yourself - even if you may not think you need disrupting. 

whitney johnson

whitney johnson

This episode of the show is sponsored by Foreign Affairs. Listeners can get three-quarters off a year's subscription by going to ForeignAffairs.com/broad.

Since the three of us spoke, Tess has begun her life on the road in Vietnam - you can follow her travel blog. You can read Whitney Johnson's Harvard Business Review posts here

You can also read a transcript of the show

Episode 74: On Confidence

You see a man in a job interview and he answers off the cuff of his sleeve, he doesn’t think, oh my gosh, I might not able to do that, or could I do that?
— Denise Barreto
The times when I’ve had to ask for things it’s seemed so hard, it’s almost unthinkable that I would be able to ask for something and that I deserved it.
— Stacey Vanek Smith

Study after study shows women have less confidence than men. But you hardly need a study to work that out. Just look around you - how many women do you know who exude the same self-belief as the men in your life? Confidence, or the lack of it, is a big issue in many women's careers, including my own. In this show I talk to business owner Denise Barreto, whose confidence I envy, and NPR reporter Stacey Vanek Smith, who shares a lot of my hangups. She has to psych herself up to ask for things at work, because she's not quite sure she deserves it - but she says you can use that discomfort to your advantage.  

You can also read a transcript of the show

Don't forget to check out my sponsor for this episode, M.M. LaFleur - if you order your Bento Box between now and December 31st, 2015 you'll be entered into a draw for a $300 gift card.


Further reading:

Women's Confidence Gap in the Workplace, via Refinery 29.

The Confidence Gap and Women Entrepreneurs, from Forbes. 

Men's 'Honest Overconfidence' May Lead to Male Domination in the C-Suite, via Columbia Business School. 

This Atlantic piece is written by Confidence Code authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

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.