#AskHerMore in Business, too!

#AskHerMore was a popular topic on the red carpet for Sunday’s Oscars.

“This is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses,” Reece Witherspoon told Robin Roberts when asked about it. “There are 44 nominees this year that are women and we are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we’ve done. It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood, or any industry.

The hashtag was promoted by The Representation Project. According to their website the group, “…inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting gender stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation or circumstance can fulfill their potential.”

It’s true. Interviewers ask women “Who are you wearing?” and ask men about their work. Sure, we want to know about the dress on Hollywood’s biggest dress-up night, but the actors are more than that. The awareness of this movement was evident in several of the red carpet interviews.

We also need to ‘ask her more’ in government and business. In her book, Closing the Leadership Gap, Marie Wilson cites having analyzed hundreds of press clips to find that journalists focus on the personal characteristics of female candidates asking about age, marital status and children. Male candidates are asked about their positions and their records on issues. They are also more often quoted than women. Wilson calls this the “hair, hemlines and husbands” research because that’s what reporters tend to discuss about female candidates while discussing the qualifications of male counterparts.

I see the same thing at business conferences I attend. Male executives are asked bottom line business questions about doing business and their vision for the future while women are asked about balance, having both a career and children and how to manage stress.

How do we get to the point where we #AskHerMore?

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