In 2010, women comprised 47% of the U.S. Labor Force.
Today, it is said that figure has tipped over the 50% mark.
Even with so many women at work, it appears that we have yet to obtain the positions of authority in our work or business environments. According to Selena Rezvani, women’s leadership author of Pushback: How Smart Women Ask For and Stand Up For What They Want:
Despite some of our gains, women continue to make up a meager portion of senior leaders in government, business, and even those fields that are female dominated. Our low presence in top decision-making roles diminishes our contributions, gives us little say in corporate and societal directions, and reduces us to mere observers.
I say, it is time for change. It is time for us to do what COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg advises--Go Get It!
The only way for us to go get it is to ask for it. In other words, we must first change our mindset about what we deserve and then hone our negotiating and self-advocacy skills.
To get a better understanding of the negotiating process, I called upon women’s leadership author, speaker, and consultant, Selena Rezvani.
Selena Rezvani’s goal is to propel more women into the top echelons of businesses — an objective she achieves through her writing, consulting, and speaking engagements. She is the co-owner of Women’s Roadmap, a consulting firm that elevates women into leadership through assessment, the design of gender-inclusive policies, and coaching. Outside of her consulting and coaching work, Selena promotes her message through training programs, teaching some of the brightest minds in business at eBay, Harvard, Accenture, Princeton, Duke, Johnson & Johnson, The Clinton Foundation, and many others.
She has been quoted, interviewed, and profiled by The Today Show, CareerBuilder, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, ABC, and NBC. She is a regular commentator on NPR’s syndicated 51 Percent: The Women’s Perspective, blogs for Forbes.com and writes an award-winning column on women and leadership for The Washington Post. She is the author of the acclaimed career guidebooks PUSHBACK: How Smart Women Ask–and Stand Up–for What They Want (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School (Praeger, 2009).
Selena received her bachelor of science and master of social work degrees from New York University, and has an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, where she graduated first in her class. She lives near Philadelphia. For more information, visit: www.NextGenWomen.com or www.WomensRoadmap.com.
Listen to Our Discussion Now to Learn the Four-Step Model of Negotiation & The Importance of Self-Advocacy by Women in the 21st Century Workforce
Questions I Asked Selena
Selena, one strategy that authors are given to help with crafting their message is to visualize that one person they are writing to. Describe for us the ideal reader you were thinking of when you wrote Pushback.
Selena, to some, the term Pushback may sound a little combative and therefore have a negative connotation. Give us your definition of pushback and share a few examples of some “pushback scenarios.”
I love the fact that you did your own research for this book by interviewing what you call “a new set of 20 women leaders in the top echelons of their fields.” As you analyzed your data, what was the most shocking thing that you learned from this experience?
Selena, it is apparent that women struggle with pushing back, even today when there are more of us who are educated, more of us in the work force, and more of us as even head of our households. What would you say are the top 3 reasons that women shy away from pushing back?
Selena, for older or more seasoned women who say, I am sorry, I am just not going to risk negotiating or advocating for myself given today’s climate, what would you say are the consequences of such a decision?
Selena, you say that “One of the best investments you’ll make in your career is spending time learning a reliable and effective system for negotiation. As you build your skills and learn the art of negotiating, you’ll begin to see it not just a one-time or occasional (and somehow mysterious) transaction but an everyday necessity.” So, in the book, you give us a four-step model of negotiation. Please take your time and breakdown those four steps for us.
You provide an assessment in the book that can help women pinpoint the areas of strength and identify their weaker areas. Give us an example of how a woman would use this information to become better at asking for and standing up for what she wants.
Selena, as I was reading your book, I immediately thought about Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and how she states that women hold themselves back by lowering our expectations of what we can achieve. And, then, as I read on, lo and behold, you actually talk about the speech she gave in which she urged women to “go get it” rather than waiting for permission. Why is it so important for young women who are just entering the workplace to possess the pushback kind of mindset?
Selena, you have registered for my English 101 class, and your first assignment is to write a persuasive essay. This is your writing prompt: This is a great time to elect a qualified woman for the presidency of the United States because…..
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- Next show: How to Dominate Your Niche with Stephanie Chandler, Tuesday, March 12th at 12:00 noon (EST).