These penalties refer to the negative career outcomes that penalize women for engaging in behaviors typically associated with men. If women are assertive, they may be viewed as “too emotional” or “bitchy”, resulting in reputational penalties for behavior for which men are often rewarded.
Distancing refers to the tendency for men to socially distance from women colleagues for political or religious reasons or due to benevolent sexism (i.e., belief that men should protect, idealize or otherwise show gendered affection for women in the workplace). Distancing can include avoiding social events, one-on-one meetings, or mentoring or sponsorship relationships with women. This bias can contribute to a lack of equity and a loss of opportunities for career advancement and support.
This stigma refers to biases against those who use various types of flexible work arrangements. Typically, this stigma applies to mothers who desire flexible arrangements to provide needed family care. The stigma tends to associate such workers with a lack of job commitment, competence or devotion.
Lack of Fit Bias
Women and people of color are often viewed as lacking the fit for a successful professional career. When women and people of color are underrepresented in careers, they are often assumed to fall short of the “ideal worker”. They are often mistaken for lower status professionals, including staff, paralegals, secretaries or clerks and may not be given the equivalent amount of respect that others enjoy.
These penalties refer to biases that women confront after they have children. Mothers are often viewed as less competent and committed to their careers. As a result, they may lose out on high-quality assignments, promotions and bonuses. They may also be relegated to “mommy track” schedules that take them out of the running for senior positions.
The necessity of women and people of color to prove themselves again and again across the career. Due to negative gender and racial stereotypes about competence, leadership capability and work commitment, women and people of color are often assumed to lack the qualities necessary for success. To overcome these stereotypes, women and people of color perceive that they must continually go above and beyond to demonstrate their abilities.
Pressures that women face to behave in feminine ways while also demonstrating their fitness for careers that reward stereotypically masculine behaviors, including aggression, competition, self-promotion and assertiveness. Women are expected to be nice, warm and likeable yet these qualities often disqualify them for jobs, assignments or roles that require tough, aggressive or assertive qualities. Yet when women demonstrate these qualities they are penalized. This means they must walk a tightrope between being not too feminine or too masculine.