Women face unique issues in the world of work. This can include caregiver leave, pay equity, harassment, overcoming social norms and more. This page is designed to provide articles, support and answers to issues facing women entering or already in the workforce.
Illegal Interview Questions
Questions that aim to reveal your age, religion, marital status, race and other personally identifying factors are illegal to ask in a job interview. If you are asked an illegal interview question or feel uncomfortable with a question, you have the right to not answer and express that you do not feel the question is relevant to the position. Connect with your Career Adviser if you feel you have been asked an illegal interview question.
The Muse explains how to handle illegal or inappropriate interview questions based on specific areas such as gender and family status, including how to tailor your response to avoid the illegal part of the question and turn the conversation back to your strengths and experiences.
Negotiation and Women
According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) women who work full-time take home about 82 cents less for every dollar a full-time male worker is paid and only 53% of women are confident in negotiating salary, compared to 61% of men.
BCS resources for salary negotiation can help you know your worth and value as an employee when negotiating salary. In addition, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your BCS career adviser when you have an offer for guidance in evaluation and negotiation process.
Navigating Authenticity in What You Wear
Our identities can play a large role what we wear and how we’re perceived by others. Being a woman, a person of color, LGBTQ, or a member of a minority religious or ethnic culture can mean facing pressure to dress more formally due to others’ perceptions of your professionalism. This disparity is unjust; however, it is up to each individual to decide how to navigate choices about professional dress and appearance under that reality. Here are some tips that may be helpful in doing so:
• Be comfortable enough to interview or focus at work. The advice blog Corporette emphasizes that “if you’re more confident and feel more professional in” clothes that differ from a standard interview outfit (such as a skirt suit), then “this may be the time to deviate from the norm” by wearing pants or a jacket that help you feel comfortable and confident.
• Find mentors and advocates in leadership roles who have your back and can speak to your competence and skills.
• Determine for yourself what your comfort level is for openly challenging the status quo (or not).
• Exercise your best judgment when it comes to choosing clothing or making other decisions about your appearance for an interview or the workplace. Ask A Manager’s Alison Green shares in her advice about personal appearance that what matters most is looking “polished and professional”—whether that means wearing makeup or not, conforming to gender standards or not, or other considerations.
• Familiarize yourself with different kinds of professional dress to help sharpen your eye for what is casual and professional. These Pinterest boards for “dressy” casual, business casual, and business professional are great places to start.
9 Tips for Young Women Entering the Workforce: More opportunities exist for women in today’s workplace, but securing that first real job can take a lot of work and be a scary transition. What do today’s young women need to know?
Women in Underrepresented Fields
Women are not always encouraged to explore and pursue specific fields and industries throughout their education and career development. Statistics from The National Girls Collaborative Project indicate a continued disparity between the number of men and women (especially minority women) in STEM fields. Advocating for more inclusive hiring practices as well as understanding individual steps women can take to empower themselves to develop skills, experience and break into male-dominated fields can allow for more voices and perspectives to lead in all career fields and industries.
An article from Forbes outlines other ways to increase female representation in STEM by recognizing bias, promoting representation and fostering mentorship.
Women for Hire: Women for Hire offers signature career fairs, an exceptional professional online network, speeches and seminars, customized marketing programs, an online job board, and more.
American Association of University Women: The AAUW advances equality for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research.
WAGE Project: WAGE inspires and helps working women to take the steps needed so that every woman is paid what she’s worth.
Workplace Fairness: Workplace Fairness provides legal information about sexual and gender discrimination.
WITI: WITI works to empower women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership, and economic prosperity.
Career Women: Career Women offers a job search engine to help qualified women find employment.