Executive Sexism: How Men Treat Women at the Highest Levels, Why Law Does Not Protect Them, and What Should Change

Executive Sexism: How Men Treat Women at the Highest Levels, Why Law Does Not Protect Them, and What Should Change

by Elizabeth C. Wolfe


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In the long shadow of a presidential election rife with charges of sexist actions, this book explains how very common such behavior is among executives, why law doesn't protect victims, and how female professionals can bring change.

Who do you report sexism to when the offender owns the company?

"Overt and intentional sexism" against women by powerful men in politics, business, and academia and across the white-collar world in public and private institutions is common, according to author Elizabeth C. Wolfe, a conflict analysis and resolution specialist. Female executives, even at the pinnacle of their careers, remain vulnerable to their male colleagues. In this book, Wolfe details how men treat women at the highest levels and the result of their actions.

Women executives from nine countries explain how their career advancement and earning potential are continuously harmed though overt sexism, sexist social behavior, and microaggressions—those damaging behaviors that are in a gray area but are not legally actionable. She further examines why law does not protect these women: sexism, like racism, is a way of thinking and so cannot be legislated. Each "-ism" has legal protections against documentable actions, but ways of thinking, socializing rituals, and microaggressions are not actionable by law. Wolfe details the minds of sexists and describes how sexism is "socialized," and then explains how to name each sexist behavior, address it, and take action to stop it.

• Spotlights the emotional and career fallout for female professionals targeted by executive men's "locker room talk"

• Considers why onlookers don't intervene, known as the "bystander effect"

• Reveals why female victims remain silent and how speaking out can be fatal to their career

• Details why successful action to stop sexism demands an alliance of women and men who support their cause

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440859564
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/24/2019
Pages: 293
Sales rank: 807,482
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth C. Wolfe, PhD, is a conflict analysis and resolution specialist. Her work's focus has included human trafficking, child soldiering, LGBTQ issues, homophobia, and gender violence.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Part 1 Facing Gradual and Sudden Sexism

Chapter 1 It's Not Just You 3

Chapter 2 Systematizing Culture and Structure 22

Chapter 3 Verbal Messages and Social Cues 36

Chapter 4 Sexualization 55

Chapter 5 Why Women Remain Silent 65

Chapter 6 The Role of Pornography 84

Part 2 Why Bystanders Don't Speak Up

Chapter 7 Cultural Gaslighting: The Double Standard 107

Chapter 8 Not a Sexist, He Says 123

Chapter 9 How Women Try to Control Sexism 142

Chapter 10 It Isn't about a Particular Woman 157

Chapter 11 How Women Are Pitted against Each Other 173

Chapter 12 The Double Bind of Advancement 196

Part 3 Intervention Strategies to Activate Bystanders

Chapter 13 Speaking Up 217

Chapter 14 Naming the Behavior 224

Chapter 15 Addressing the Behavior 234

Chapter 16 Destabilizing Sexist Environments 247

References 273

Index 279

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