“Mansplaining” is a man “talking down” to a woman because he presumes he knows more. Do women do a parallel thing to men? Oops. Yes, we do — in the domestic world of traditional division of labors. In the business world, when a man presumes to know more and speaks in a condescending way to a woman. . . well, that’s what gave rise to the term mansplaining.
The young lawyer worked long hours, did great work, served on firm committees and got along with clients and colleagues. At her performance review, the senior partner noted all of these strengths. But he identified one “area of improvement”: “You are lacking in humility,” he said. I suspect the “double bind” is at play. The double bind is the tightrope women must walk. If they work and behave in more feminine ways, they are not seen as leaders. If they act in masculine ways (or too masculine or too often), they are disliked.
Generations are created and influenced by experiences in the formative years. They are shaped by ongoing change. Traditionals’ world view and values were shaped by World War II. In their lifetimes, the views of women’s roles have undergone dramatic change. “Retirement” has been redefined. They have seen and been affected by unprecedented technological change. Many women Traditionals today are actively involved, working and contributing. What changes will affect women now in their 20’s?
This is another look at the intersection of gender and generational differences in the workplace. There are values and perspectives that women in general share with those of younger generations (Gen X and Millennial). Views of gender roles have evolved, causing a natural alliance between women and the younger groups, who are more likely to see women as equals and even to demonstrate more balance between masculine and feminine approaches. This could mean a critical mass to create workplaces where both men and women can reach their potential — and thrive!