TIME

U.S. Women Leadership Ranking is Pathetic Compared to Other Countries

Democratic Women
House Democratic women of the 114th Congress including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, pose for a picture on the House steps of the Capitol, Jan. 7, 2015. Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

We're not even close to the top

When it comes to women in leadership roles, the U.S. isn’t cutting it.

According to a new comparison by Pew, the U.S. ranks 33rd out of 49 high-income countries when it comes to women in the national legislature (20% of the House and Senate are women). When they expanded the comparison to 137 countries, the U.S. dropped to 83rd (these calculations were made were using data from mid-2014, but even when the most recent Congressional elections are taken into consideration, the U.S. only rises to 75th place.)

We did a little better when it comes to women in cabinet or government managerial positions: the U.S. ranked 25th out of 141 countries, and when the pool was narrowed to high-income countries, we tied for 12th place with Canada.

Pew also tracked “legislators, senior officials, and managers,” a category which includes corporate leaders, heads of nonprofits or unions, and policymakers. Among high-income countries, the U.S. was tied with Barbados, Tobago, and Trinidad for fourth place, but when the comparison was expanded to 125 countries with data available, the U.S. dropped to 16th place.

In other words, for all our striving, we’re not being particularly effective at electing female leaders compared to other countries. Especially compared to Rwanda, where 64% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies are held by women.

[Pew]

TIME Careers & Workplace

3 Leadership Tips for Women in Tech

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Being a woman in the fast-growing tech space can work to your benefit

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The tech sector is a notoriously difficult place to be a woman. A congressional report shows that only 7% of women-founded businesses receive venture capital funding. Every time we turn around, it seems there’s another gaffe that causes a rise within the community — this ranges from major companies’ lack of women in board positions to distasteful overheard conversations.

While most everyone in the tech sector has an opinion on the issue, for me, being a woman in the fast-growing tech space has actually paid off. In fact, I think that in most ways, being a female in tech has worked to my benefit.

Maybe it’s the dynamic between me and my co-founder Eileen Murphy Buckley, or the fact that we’re an ed-tech company that operates in a female-dominated industry (nearly two-thirds of teachers in the U.S. are women). I’d like to think it’s because we built an amazing product that helps great teachers teach better. So far, all signs point to the fact that we’re doing something right: ThinkCERCA is now available in schools nationwide, and we’ve secured $1.5 million in funding. We were a graduate of the Impact Engine Accelerator’s inaugural class, and we won the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge in July 2013.

So how can you navigate the complex male-dominated tech world and succeed?

Combine Skill Sets

You have to be strategic about whom you partner with and bring onto your team. Our biggest success had nothing to do with gender. It had to do with our team’s unique combination of skills. I come from an entrepreneurial background, and have years of experience taking businesses from concept to launch, growing them in both revenue and size. Eileen is a teacher turned entrepreneur, and the former director of curriculum and instruction for a major school system. So while I brought the entrepreneurial know-how, Eileen brought the industry expertise and a firm basis of pedagogy and research. This helped us create a product that principals, teachers and students really need. Her deep knowledge continues to help us meet our core goal: helping students achieve college and career readiness.

I believe it’s this combination of skills that has not only helped us build a successful business, but also secure funding.

Never Shy Away From the Hard Stuff

So much of our success can be attributed to our dedication to our customers. Sometimes that means going against what others are telling you to do. While the ed-tech market continues to boom, there’s still the age-old problem of the chicken and the egg. Several investors wanted ThinkCERCA to be something it was not. They told us we either had to be a content publisher or a technology platform. Despite this feedback, based on our expertise and what our customers were telling us they needed, we decided to be both. Technology alone wasn’t the answer. Content alone wasn’t either. Focusing on both, and using a research-based approach, we have carved out a place in the ed-tech ecosystem and are poised for continued and rapid growth.

Build a Team of Mentors and Advocates

While Eileen and I have a great partnership, we have strived and will continue to work to create a team that complements our skills and builds off of what the two of us have created. We now have 16 people at ThinkCERCA whose expertise ranges from technology to sales to marketing. In addition, we’ve had an incredible group of mentors and advisors, such as Chuck Templeton, the former Managing Director of the Impact Engine accelerator. Our mentors have provided the encouragement we need but also given us hard-nosed doses of reality from time to time. Our mentors aren’t the people who always tell us what we want to hear. They’re always looking out for us and telling us what we need to hear.

As our business has grown, so have we. When we came together, Eileen was “the educator” and I was “the entrepreneur.” Now, we have both learned and have each assumed both roles. We are able to fluidly assume the voice of the customer and the voice of the business, which allows us to brainstorm and problem solve, and — most importantly — switch hit. Thanks to our complementary skill sets, dedication to our customers, and our refusal to accept the stereotypical limits that go along with being a woman in tech, ThinkCERCA is doing great things for the future of education.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

TIME Davos

This Is Why There Aren’t More Women at Davos

General Motors CEO Mary Barra attends the Automotive World Congress on Jan. 14, 2015 in Detroit.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra attends the Automotive World Congress on Jan. 14, 2015 in Detroit. Paul Warner—Getty Images

This year only 17% of Davos participants are women. That number doesn’t reflect how bad gender diversity in global leadership really is

As the world’s most formidable leaders prepare to gather at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, the event’s glaring lack of gender diversity has once again been brought to the public’s attention. Of the 2,500 participants, only 17% of Davos’ participants will be women.

Learn more about what to expect in Davos from Fortune’s video team:

That number may seem low—but it’s up from last year’s 15%.

Despite the criticism, Davos gender breakdown is merely a reflection of a global reality. CEOs like Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and General Motors Mary Barra get a lot of press, but they’re outliers. The vast majority of the world’s largest companies are led by men: In Fortune‘s Global 500, only 3.4% of companies have female chief executives.

It’s slightly—only slightly—better in politics. Women make up 6% of all heads of state and 8% of all heads of government.

And, of course, women are famously underrepresented in the boardroom. Only 11% of board seats at the world’s largest and best-known companies are occupied by women.

But targeting Davos misses the point. Yes, the fact that the organization (which bills itself as “committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation”) doesn’t go above and beyond to engage more women is an issue. But it’s not the crux of the problem.

Consider this: Last year, the World Economic Forum did make a concerted effort to recruit more women to its annual meeting. It created a gender quota system, requiring large corporations to bring one woman for every four men who attend Davos. The quota won’t do much, though, if women aren’t crowding companies’ corner offices. As Barri Rafferty, CEO of Ketchum North America, pointed out in an interview with Fortune’s Caroline Fairchild, “If your company is going to send five people, they are going to look at their C-Suite people, which likely has fewer women.”

So really, who’s to blame for the lack of women at Davos: The World Economic Forum or the corporations themselves?

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME women

What Davos Is Like for a Female CEO

People enter the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 20, 2015.
People enter the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 20, 2015. FABRICE COFFRINI—AFP/Getty Images

Barri Rafferty, the CEO of Ketchum North America, talks with Fortune about her past experiences at Davos

When Barri Rafferty first went to Davos in 2012, she didn’t know what to expect. But Rafferty, the CEO of North America at public relations firm Ketchum, had heard so much about the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting that she was anxious before attending.

“I rarely get nervous going into any situation, but listening to people who had been before talk about how overwhelming it is to be there got me a little nervous,” she said. “They call it a business marathon for a reason. It is a stamina sport that goes on morning, noon and night.”

While Rafferty may not have had a good handle on the actual goings-on of the conference, she had a hunch that female attendees would be in the minority. As a woman CEO, Rafferty is used to going events and being one of just a few women in the room. Sure enough, she was a minority at Davos her inaugural World Economic Forum.

This year, the percentage of women attending the global conference is expected to be 17%, a 2% improvement over last year. While Rafferty is not attending Davos’ 2015 conference, which officially starts on January 21, Fortune spoke with her about her experiences in 2012 and 2014.

Edited Excepts:

Fortune: Why is Davos a good business opportunity for executives?

Barri Rafferty: There is no other place where you can go and get that much global business information. You come back with a lot of diverse thinking. At Davos there is the external agenda, which is really just the mainstream events at the conference that everyone goes to, but then there is a more informal agenda which is a lot of breakfasts and drinks and things. That’s really where you get an opportunity to meet with a lot of senior-level people.

As one of the few women at the event, do you feel like you stood out?

In the evening events in particular, a lot of men take their wives. When you are in [those] social settings, often people assume that you are someone’s wife. But as a woman in business at my level, you are used to not being in the majority so you really have to go into it with the kind of attitude that you are going to be there out drinking with the guys and enjoy the whole thing. But I think you are conscious about of it at times and say to yourself, ‘Wow we still have work to do.’

Only 17% of attendees at the event are expected to be women. Why do you think the percentage is so low?
What you are looking at is the people who are in the top positions at an organization. You get five slots to bring people if you are a big corporation. So if your company is going to send five people, they are going to look at their C-Suite people, which likely has fewer women. The World Economic Forum has worked hard to make sure that if you bring five people, one out of five has to be a woman. If there really is 17% women there this year, then at least we are making a little progress because it has been lower in the past.

Do you think the World Economic Forum gets unfairly blamed for the low number of women at Davos?
To me, it is a macroeconomic business challenge to get women into the top positions at the top corporations that go to meetings like the World Economic Forum. It is hard to blame the forum, but the event has become a bit of barometer of how women are doing in top roles in corporations, politics and NGOs. It is a moment in time when we can count the number of women and see how we are doing.

What do you think is the No. 1 thing we can do to get more women into Davos?

Companies have to be cognizant of who they send. I don’t think when they think about their individual delegations they are necessarily thinking about gender. It is a different lens to put it though. If you asked 10 CEOs tomorrow how they choose, they probably don’t see the event as the same barometer for gender parity that we do. Gender parity needs to become a female and a male issue. It is just as important for women to [go to Davos] and have these opportunities as well.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 16

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. A simple plan pairing a low-income first-time mom with a nurse for advice through pregnancy and her child’s early years can give that family stability and even a better life.

By Nancy Cook in the Atlantic

2. Google will pilot test a build-your-own modular smartphone, operating out of a mobile phone-lab that looks like a food truck.

By Nathan Ingraham and Josh Lowensohn in the Verge

3. The belief that some scientific fields require innate genius or natural ‘brilliance’ may keep women out.

By Rachel Bernstein in Science Magazine

4. The FDA has cleared a ‘pacemaker for the stomach’ that could be a silver bullet against obesity.

By Thomas M. Burton in the Wall Street Journal

5. Offshore wind farms — if we can build them — stand to provide twice as much energy and create twice as many jobs as offshore drilling.

By Lindsay Abrams in Salon

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Family

‘I’m Afraid My Baby’s Head Will Fall Off’

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xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

I'm afraid to write this, but I'm more afraid stigma will prevent other women from getting help

xojane

“I’m afraid my baby’s head will fall off,” I tell my psychiatrist.

She nods, normally, sympathetically, as if mothers everywhere suffer visions of their baby’s heads coming off their necks. “Can you explain that?” she asks.

And I tell her how, when I was 10, my father took me dove hunting. Most of the time, his shot didn’t kill the dove. So to end its suffering, my father would casually twist its head off. I watched in sick fascination, over and over, as his big hands almost gently wrenched the birds’ heads from their small gray bodies. I had no idea heads could be so precariously attached, no idea that one small twist could decapitate.

When I had my third son, I couldn’t stop thinking how delicately his head attached, how strong hands could twist and pull. It terrified me, this thin neck, this precarious joining of flesh and bone. I remembered the birds. I had seen their heads lie wide-eyed on the ground.

“That’s horrible,” my doctor said. She upped both my medications and added Xanax. “We need to get that under control,” she told me. “You can’t live like this.”

But I could. I did. And so do millions of other women.

I’ve been down the dark alleys of depression before. But it didn’t become utterly unlivable until I got pregnant. At eight weeks, we thought we were losing our baby. I sobbed for six straight hours, through the emergency room, the ultrasound, all the way home. I cried because I was still pregnant. I couldn’t possibly cope with this very wanted baby. How could I have made such a terrible mistake?

A case of borderline hyperemesis worsened my depression and anxiety. My husband left town for three days, which I spent consumed with thoughts of his imminent death. The panic attacks began: clutching bouts of heart-pounding terror that left me gasping for air, convinced every wheeze was hurting the baby.

When I admitted to my husband that I kept myself from suicide because I didn’t want to kill my baby, I finally got help: medication, and a real psychiatrist.

I was suffering from prenatal depression, which is experienced by 10 to 20 percent of pregnant women. Everyone talks about postpartum depression. No one mentions that the same hormones can trigger prenatal depression as well. Babies born to depressed women suffer higher rates of stress hormones, less coordination and motor control, and more sleep disturbances. Up to 14 percent of women take antidepressants during pregnancy, and their efficacy — and effects on the baby — is debatable. But for some women whose depression is severe enough that they can’t care for themselves or a child, their use is necessary. I was one of those women.

But my SSRIs weren’t enough after Sunny’s birth. Coming off a high-risk, debilitating pregnancy, I began to have obsessive thoughts. I would lay down with my son during nap time and think, This is how we will curl up after the apocalypse, when the nuclear bombs fall and we scrabble to live through nuclear winter. How would I feed us? Would people try to cannibalize each other? I was haunted by Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Stephen King’s The Stand. The end felt nigh.

I had other symptoms. Constantly stressed, I snapped at my older sons. Depression doesn’t always look sad: It can look like mean instead. Normal kid behavior left me enraged; a simple lost shoe could ruin the day. I yelled. I stomped off to the bedroom. I couldn’t understand why my children had suddenly become so bad.

And I began, again, to worry my husband would die. I started crying in the bathroom. My baby, who I loved so much, felt like a terrible mistake. I was a mistake. I thought about killing myself, but knew he wouldn’t have anything to eat. I worried his head would fall off.

I needed more medication.

We had to tweak and tinker. But a year later, I’m on an even keel again. I needed a good deal of medication to get here, but the dangers of a depressed mother outweigh the medication passed through my breast milk (and for health reasons related to severe food intolerances, weaning was not an option). And other things helped, of course: I spend time outside; I eat well. I make sure to get enough sleep, and I cuddle my son as much as possible. I am happy and healthy. I am productive.

But I wasn’t always this way. I got help.

Millions of women do not.

And the first step toward helping women with depression is to take away its stigma. I’m afraid to write this. I worry about its implications for my relationships, for my life. We’ve been taught that depression means you’re weak or crazy. We worry it makes us less of a mother. We have been shamed for the vagaries of brain chemistry, for the feelings we can’t fix.

Millions of women suffer. They need us to come out of the dark and to say: I’ve been there. I am there. I hear you.

Depression doesn’t mean you hate your baby.

It doesn’t mean you hate yourself.

It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, a weak person, or a selfish person.

It doesn’t make you less than other mothers.

It shouldn’t make you ashamed.

It shouldn’t make you alone.

Elizabeth Broadbent is a writer and mother. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME women

What I Experienced From Online Dating as a Black Woman

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xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

The majority of the messages I received, mostly from white men, fetishized my appearance and sexualized me based solely on my race

xojane

I try to remind myself that no one ever said online dating would be a wholly pleasant experience. There is an inherent awkwardness that comes with entering the world of swipes and algorithms, and it’s simply unavoidable.

I grew up and into an era during which the Internet has basically informed much of my identity and sparked many of my most important relationships — I’ve met some of my closest friends via sites like LiveJournal and Tumblr. And today, there’s no twentysomething I know who hasn’t met a bae or a jump off via some app or online service. So there’s no real sense of the taboo when it comes to dating online.

I created my first online profile in 2013 on OkCupid, a tiny baby step into unfamiliar territory with no real set goal in mind. All I knew was that as someone painfully shy around men, dating in the real world, in New York City, felt downright impossible. If anything, this was a way for me to gauge my own interest, and to date in a way that felt a bit more intentional, a bit more on my own terms.

And because I had girlfriends who told me about their escapades on the site, the good and the bad, the inevitable creeps and trolls, I felt relatively prepared for an imperfect if interesting experience.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the horror story that is online dating as a black woman.

Recently, OkCupid released data on race and attraction amongst its users, which revealed messed up but unsurprising realities about how people navigated the site.

Compiled by the site’s cofounder Christian Rudder, the data showed that black people and Asian men were least likely to get a date on the site. Black women specifically, the research showed, were at the very bottom of the barrel, receiving the fewest messages and likes from all races of men, and the least amount of responses to outgoing messages. Latina and Asian women, overwhelmingly, got the most likes and responses.

Rudder’s take on the data was pretty vague. “Beauty is a cultural idea as much as a physical one, and the standard is of course set by the dominant culture,” he said. “I believe that’s what you see in the data here.”

The narrative about black women and dating, about our lack of desirability and dateability, has been one I’ve actively tried to unlearn, despite a constant, nagging feeling that the reason I couldn’t get a date was because of the so-called stigma. But in my first major foray into the world of online dating, what struck me wasn’t so much this idea of not being wanted, but the kind of men who apparently wanted me.

A few creeps and trolls I could handle just fine. But from day one, I got tons of messages, many of them one or two word lines like, “Hey sexy,” and a larger majority of them reading, “Hey chocolate.” These weren’t worth the energy it took to respond.

The chocolate thing, though, kept coming up. Gradually, I began to notice a theme — the majority of the messages I received, mostly from white men, fetishized my appearance and sexualized me based solely on my race.

There have been so many ridiculous and offensive messages, too many to count or read. Many I’m not even comfortable sharing in this essay.

“Do you taste like chocolate?”

“Is it true what they say about black girls?”

“I’d love to slap dat big juicy booty.”

Once a guy was good enough to message me just to tell me that I look like “something you find in the zoo.” Another man, after luring me into a false sense of security by opening with a pleasant enough conversation about one of my favorite TV shows abruptly changed the subject to pose the question: “Do you act black?”

I asked him what exactly he meant by that.

He replied, “I like black women minus the attitude. Why is that wrong to ask? Haha.”

Haha, indeed.

In the three years I’ve been on OkCupid, I’ve only met up with a handful of people, mostly because it’s been impossible to meet anyone who doesn’t open or end conversations with offensive, racist, sexually aggressive language. A brief sojourn into Tinder world marked the worst of it — someone called me the n-word when I said I didn’t want to meet with him. I automatically deleted the app and haven’t been there since.

I know that I don’t represent every black girl’s time spent in the online dating world. I have black girlfriends who’ve had relatively decent, pleasant interactions, which is wonderful. But I also know my experiences aren’t unique. I do still wonder who else out there has put up with this kind of unwanted attention. The OkCupid data suggested Latinas and Asian women get the most attention on the site, but I can only imagine what kind of attention they’re getting — creepy fetishizing, no doubt.

It hasn’t all been bad, of course. In the past year I’ve met a few guys online who have been fun to hang out with, and a couple whom I’ve actually really liked. But I’m taking an indefinite break from the online dating world. Partly because I want to experience different forms of dating, but mostly because the energy of weeding through hundreds of gross and racist messages from strangers is, to me, the very opposite of self-care.

Last year, some important conversations were sparked surrounding the kind of street harassment women face on a daily basis. There needs to be, I think, a similar conversation about online harassment. Because it’s not just the dating sites where women are subjected to this kind of behavior.

On my Tumblr blog I’ve gotten creepy messages, and had my personal photos posted on ebony fetish blogs. Some might say that the solution to avoiding this kind behavior is to delete my blog or my profile, to block the guys I don’t like and focus on the ones I do.

I say that I shouldn’t have to do that to begin with.

Zeba Blay is a writer in New York. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME life hacks

How Not to Be ‘Manterrupted’ in Meetings

2009 MTV Video Music Awards - Show
Kanye West takes the microphone from Taylor Swift and speaks onstage during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 13, 2009 Kevin Mazur—WireImage/Getty Images

A guide for women, men and bosses

Manterrupting: Unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man.

Bropropriating: Taking a woman’s idea and taking credit for it.

We all remember that moment back in 2009, when Kanye West lunged onto the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift, and launched into a monologue. “I’m gonna let you finish,” he said as he interrupted Swift as she was accepting the award for best female video. “But Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”

It was perhaps the most public example of the “manterruption” – that is, a man interrupting a woman while she’s trying to speak (in this case, on stage, by herself, as an award honoree) and taking over the floor. At the VMAs it might have counted as entertainment, but ask any woman in the working world and we all recognize the phenomenon. We speak up in a meeting, only to hear a man’s voice chime in louder. We pitch an idea, perhaps too uncertainly – only to have a dude repeat it with authority. We may possess the skill, but he has the right vocal cords – which means we shut up, losing our confidence (or worse, the credit for the work).

We might have thought we were just being paranoid. But thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton business school professor Adam Grant (a man!) we can feel just a little less crazy when we mentally replay those meetings gone wrong. In a new op-ed in the New York Times, they point out the perils of “speaking while female,” along with a bevy of new research to prove that no, this is not all in our heads. (Disclaimer: I edit special projects for Sandberg’s women’s nonprofit, LeanIn.Org. Though I did not edit her Times op-ed.)

Sandberg and Grant cite research showing that powerful male Senators speak significantly more than their junior colleagues, while female Senators do not. That male executives who speak more often than their peers are deemed more competent (by 10%), while female executives who speak up are considered less (14% less). The data follows a long line of research showing that when it comes to the workplace, women speak less, are interrupted more, and have their ideas more harshly scrutinized.

“We’ve both seen it happen again and again,” Sandberg and Grant write. “When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive. When a man says virtually the same thing, heads nod in appreciation for his fine idea.”

My friends have come up with terminology for it: Manterrupting. Manstanding. (Or talk-blocking, if you want the gender-neutral version.)

And the result? Women hold back. That, or we relinquish credit altogether. Our ideas get co-opted (bro-opted), re-appropriated (bro-propriated?) — or they simply fizzle out. We shut down, become less creative, less engaged. We revert into ourselves, wondering if it’s actually our fault. Enter spiral of self-doubt.

But there are things we can do to stop that cycle: women, men, and even bosses.

Know That We’re All a Little Bit Sexist — and Correct for It

The reality is that we all exhibit what scholars call “unconscious bias” — ingrained prejudices we may not even know we have. (Don’t think you’re among the culprits? Take this Implicit Association Test to be proved wrong.) When it comes to women, that bias is the result of decades of history; we’ve been taught that men lead and women nurture. So when women exhibit male traits – you know, decision-making, authority, leadership – we often dislike them, while men who exhibit those same traits are frequently deemed strong, masculine, and competent. It’s not only men who exhibit this bias, it’s women too: as one recent study found, it’s not just men who interrupt women more at work — it’s women too. But acknowledging that bias is an important step toward correcting for it.

Establish a No-Kanye Rule (Or Any Interruption, for That Matter)

When Glen Mazarra, a showrunner at The Shield, an FX TV drama from the early 2000s, noticed that his female writers weren’t speaking up in the writer’s room – or that when they did, they were interrupted and their ideas overtaken — he instituted a no-interruption policy while writers (male or female) were pitching. “It worked, and he later observed that it made the entire team more effective,” Sandberg and Grant wrote.

Practice Bystander Intervention

Seriously, stop an interrupter in his (or her) tracks. Nudge him, elbow him, or simply speak up to say, “Wait, let her finish,” or “Hey, I want to hear what Jess is saying.” The words are your choice — but don’t stay silent.

Create a Buddy System With a Friend

Or, better yet, if you’re a woman, create a buddy system with a friend who is a dude. Ask him to nod and look interested when you speak (when he’s interested, of course). Let him to back you up publicly in meetings. Seriously, try it. It’s not fair, no. But dammit, it works.

Support Your (Female) Colleagues

If you hear an idea from a woman that you think is good, back her up. You’ll have more of an effect than you think and you’ll establish yourself as a team player too.

Give Credit Where It’s Due

Yes, everyone wants credit for a good idea. But research shows that giving credit where it’s due will actually make you look better (as well as the person with the idea).

Women: Practice Assertive Body Language

Sit at the table, point to someone, stand up, walk to the front of the room, place your hand on the table — whatever it takes. Not only do these high-power poses make you appear more authoritative, but they actually increase your testosterone levels – and thus, your confidence. In some cases, it may actually help to literally “lean in”: in one study, researchers found that men physically lean in more often than women in professional meetings, making them less likely to be interrupted. Women more often leaned away — and were more likely to be interrupted.

… And Own Your Voice

Don’t undermine your authority with “I’m not sure if this is right, but—.” Speak authoritatively. Avoid the baby voice (leadership and authority are associated with the deep masculine voice, not with a softer, higher pitched tone). And please, whatever you do, don’t apologize before you speak.

Support Companies With Women in Power

We know that companies with more women on their corporate boards have higher outcomes and better returns. Teams with more diverse members perform better too. But having more women in power may actually encourage women to bring their ideas forward. In one study cited by Sandberg and Grant, researchers looked at the employees of a credit union where women made up 74% of supervisors and 84% of front-line employees. Shocker: women here were more likely to speak up, and be heard.

If all else fails, you can always learn how to talk really, really loud.

Jessica Bennett is a contributing columnist at Time.com covering the intersection of gender, sexuality, business and pop culture. She writes regularly for the New York Times and is a contributing editor on special projects for Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s nonprofit, Lean In. You can follow her @jess7bennett.

Read next: A Better Feminism for 2015

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TIME women

10 Most Sexist Responses to Reducing Women’s Public Toilet Lines

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Soraya Chemaly is a media critic and activist.

The response isn’t about toilets, but about women demanding more than they are “given”

Last week, many people took time out of their busy schedules to tell me I was a moron, should shut up, and should learn to urinate like a man. These suggestions, ranging from irritable to misogynistic and violent, came in response to an article I wrote for TIME about the history and politics of women waiting in line for public toilets. In an effort to better understand opposing points of view, I’ve categorized the objections into 10 themes:

  1. Women should learn to stand, commonly understood to be a superior method of elimination. Many people even pointed me to helpful products. The argument goes that women should stand to overcome their “inferior biology,” whereas men sitting “like women” is emasculating—even though 30% of men surveyed prefer sitting. After millions of sit-to-pee gadgets were sold in Germany and people in Sweden started teaching boys to “be a sweetie and take a seatie,” there was a backlash among men in Britain and the United States lamenting the end of men. If you think women standing is “empowering” but men sitting is emasculating, tell the U.S. Navy, which eliminated urinals on aircraft carriers in 2012.
  2. Women may have to wait in lines, but men’s rooms are disgusting. However true, this objection is irrelevant to women disproportionately waiting in long lines. And there are efforts to clean up men’s bathrooms. In Taiwan, Japan, and Sweden, there are public health initiatives for men to sit because standing is less sanitary and less healthy, and urinals take longer to clean and come at greater public cost.
  3. Women should stop preening in front of the mirror. I could find no studies that measure this stereotype. However, several consumer surveys found that men spend more time grooming in general. In any case, women aren’t standing in lines for mirrors, but for stalls.
  4. Women should stop going to the toilet together. In many countries, including ours, girls are frequently socialized to go to bathrooms with others because they have to be ever vigilant about avoiding rape. In point of fact, young boys, sexually assaulted just as frequently, should be taught precautions too. Instead, rape myths maintain that boys can’t be raped, so we put them at higher risk and mock girls for “staying safe.”
  5. Your female opinion must be dismissed. Many people didn’t read the article, concluding that I was saying, for example, that “peeing standing up is sexist.” They saw the word “sexism,” and responded with a profusion of unimaginative gendered slurs, like “dumb b**ch.”
  6. Stop lying. Among the rebuttals I received were: “No woman breastfeeds in public restrooms,” and “How can you say women stand in lines more than men?” Yet there is an entire campaign to raise awareness about women breastfeeding in public restrooms. As for men waiting in lines: yes, this happens, most often in places where there are comparably few women (e.g., Silicon Valley or the military).
  7. This isn’t “the battle that feminism should be focused on.” The issue here is a centrally important one: we need to understand and stop perpetuating discriminatory norms developed when women had almost no legal rights and were largely barred from contributing to defining culture. This basic problem is as true in the law, medicine, and media as it is in the design of public spaces.
  8. Stop “being a victim” because “no one is making women wait in line.” Unfortunately, women can’t actually walk away from the bodily-fluid-filled reality of our lives, including leaking breast milk, seeping blood, or bladders possibly being crushed by pregnancy. Pointing out this reality no more makes a woman a victim than if a man describes a problem with the low height of stroller handles.
  9. This is the result of biology, so deal with it. As one person on Twitter put it, “biology doesn’t design toilets.” It matters that people who do not have these concerns make up the vast majority of legislators, the foreign service, our military, and humanitarian aid decision makers. Women’s input and meeting women’s basic physical and safety needs are important, and incorporating them would mean more effective solutions to everything from urban design that includes better sanitary facilities to disaster relief to environmental policies.
  10. This is a “first world problem” because “women in the middle east (sic) are getting acid thrown in their faces after they’ve been raped” and “men go to war.” These issues are global ones, as India’s “Right to Pee” campaign, and China’s “Occupy Men’s Toilets” protest illustrate. Setting aside the implied dismissal of egregious gender-based violence in the United States, which is firmly in the middle of the global pack, women do suffer gravely elsewhere, including, notably, from having no safe access to sanitary facilities. Even in our recent past, this problem has inhibited girls’ ability to attend school and women’s ability to work. It contributes to illness and exacerbates poverty. In disasters, our inability to plan for women’s bodily needs results in higher mortality rates for girls and women. As for war, militarism is directly linked to gender inequality and sex segregation.

All of this in response to the simple question of why women are still not having their basic needs equitably met. During the past three decades, laws focused on “Potty Parity,” an infantilizing term redolent with Victorian shame, have been passed in the United States, and yet the problem persists. Increasingly, as the result of effective LGTBQ activism, communities are developing organic and often hybrid solutions, including gender-neutral bathrooms, that more equitably address everyone’s needs. If Viennese urban planners have done it for their city, surely we can do it for our public toilets?

Outraged people, employing ad hominem attacks, suggested I’d posited a “conspiracy,” and were particularly put out by the word “sexism,” something they associate with an individual’s explicitly intended discriminatory behavior. So why such virulent responses to an article about reducing women’s wait times and recounting history? The response isn’t about toilets but about when women—and other historically marginalized people—demand more than they are “given” and stop quietly accepting historically permissible marginalization in the public sphere.

Read next: The Everyday Sexism of Women Waiting in Public Toilet Lines

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY salary negotiation

The Single Best Thing Women Can Do to Bust through the Glass Ceiling

female and male coworkers holding up signs, female's reads -50% and male's reads 150%
Sarina Finkelstein (photo illustration)—Getty Images (2)

Talk to a guy before you name your number in salary negotiations.

This is the fifth in a series of six posts on salary negotiation published in partnership with PayScale.com.

The latest Census data shows that women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by our male counterparts. You’d think we’d be livid.

But in fact, while many of us are angry about this inequity in a general sense, several studies have shown that women are not all that upset about being underpaid on an individual basis. The research shows that women report the same levels of satisfaction with pay as their better-paid male colleagues, even when controlled for occupation and position in the food chain.

Academics call this (frankly depressing) phenomenon “the paradox of the contented female worker.”

Those in the ivory tower have been attempting to explain this since social psychologist Faye Crosby coined the term some 40 years ago. But one recent study of Texas attorneys published in the Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal offers a plausible—and interesting—explanation.

Survey participants tended to base satisfaction with their salaries on the salaries of those people who were similar and proximate, says the study’s author H. Kristl Davison, an assistant professor of management at the University of Mississippi. “So essentially what happens,” she says, “is that women choose other women who are also lower paid as references and then end up with a lower sense of entitlement to more money.”

In other words, we are undervaluing our work because other women are undervaluing their work. And so the vicious underpayment cycle continues…

So how do you break that cycle, at least where your own lovely pocketbook is concerned?

The clearest implication of the study is this: When setting your expectation for pay for a job, don’t base your desired number on anecdotal evidence from your female peers.

Instead, start by gathering data from sites like Payscale to find out the average pay for the field, position, and location, regardless of gender. But—since women’s lower pay will be figured into these averages—also ask higher-level men in your field for their input.

“Asking male mentors can be very advantageous,” says Davison, “because it offers the perspective on what males are paid and because males talk about pay more than women do.”

You could say something like, “Bob, I’m going for this job as associate marketing director at a Fortune 500 company and they’re asking me for my salary requirements. I’m not sure what to say for that size of a company and wondered if you had any thoughts?”

(While mentioning a figure can help anchor the conversation in actual negotiations, avoid doing so here, since what you want is the other person’s uninfluenced opinion.)

And then when the interviewer asks for your salary expectation, you can say, “It’s my understanding from my research that jobs of this level pay in the neighborhood of $96,500,” or “I consulted my former boss Bob Smith, who’s now a V.P. at your competitor Quadroodle, and he told me the going rate is $96,500.”

(Note: Using a specific the number can make you sound more authoritative—so avoid rounding off too much.)

In a world where women all too often punished for being too assertive in salary negotiations, framing your argument around benchmark numbers and using a high-level ally to bolster your case can help you walk away with more money and your likeability in tact.

And that is the ultimate glass-ceiling breakthrough.


More from this series on Money.com:
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More on salary negotiation from PayScale.com:

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