MONEY

This Is What a World Without Women Would Look Like

On March 8, females disappeared from ads to promote the Not-there.org campaign

On March 8, ads, books and magazine covers around New York City looked a bit empty.

Where there were once women—on a Dove soap billboard, on HarperCollins books, on Condé Nast magazine covers, on a phone booth ad for the New York City Ballet, among other places—pictures had been replaced with white space and a URL reading Not-there.org. You can see examples in the gallery above.

The collaborative campaign by the Clinton Foundation and ad agency Droga5 for International Women’s Day was meant to bring attention to a new report from No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project. The initiative seeks to “raise awareness that women are ‘not there’ yet on issues of gender equality.”

This year also marked the twentieth anniversary of Hillary Clinton addressing the United Nations in Beijing to assert, “It is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.”

On the surface, this clever media stunt taught us that a world without women would be lacking of some serious talent. The stage for the New York City Ballet would be bare. Tennis rackets would just be laying on the court at the US Open. There would be less laughter, without actresses like Amy Poehler and Cameron Diaz. And we may not have won World War II, since it was women—characterized by Rosie the Riveter—who took up the domestic effort to produce munitions and war supplies.

If you got the message and moused your way over to the report, you’d also learn about the great leaps women have made in recent years and the bounds that they still need to make to catch up.

More laws protect women today than ever before, but they are not always enforced. More girls are getting educations, and women outnumber men at colleges—but not in the STEM programs that feed some of the highest-paid industries.

The gender workforce gap hasn’t changed in twenty years, and women are underrepresented in political office and management ranks.

Paid maternity leave is now common for women across the world, but not in the U.S.—one of nine countries in the world that does not guarantee paid leave.

And women spend up to 5 more hours on unpaid domestic work than men.

While the lack of women may have been blatantly obvious on prominent billboards, magazines, book covers and bus posters, the Not There campaign also encourages us to look elsewhere. What about in the engineering programs at college? What about on the Hill in Washington? What about that empty Aeron chair in the CEO’s corner office?

This is part of The Photo Bank, a recurring feature on Money.com dedicated to conceptual photography on financial issues. Submissions are welcome and should be sent to Sarina Finkelstein, online photo editor for Money.com at sarina.finkelstein@timeinc.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 10

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

1. How do we convince Americans that justice isn’t for sale — when in 39 states, it is?

By Sue Bell Cobb in Politico

2. It took pressure from customers and investors to make corporations environmentally sustainable. It’s time to do the same for gender equity.

By Marissa Wesely in Stanford Social Innovation Review

3. London’s congestion pricing plan is saving lives.

By Alex Davies in Wired

4. Libraries should be the next great start-up incubators.

By Emily Badger in CityLab

5. Annual replanting has a devastating impact. Could perennial rice be the solution?

By Winifred Bird in Yale Environment 360

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 Business

How To Talk About Gender Bias at Work

meeting
Getty Images

Even the most well-intentioned men have misconceptions about women at work

You may want to sit down for this one. A recent study shows that fewer large companies are run by woman than by men with the name John. In fact, among CEOs of S&P 1500 firms, for each woman, there are four men with the name John, Robert, William, or James.

So in the name of closing the gender gap, and International Women’s Day, this week’s TL;DR has a special theme. We’ll discuss:

  • The biggest mistakes well-intentioned men make without realizing — and how to fix them
  • The surprising path women take to become CEOs and why it takes 50% longer than men
  • Why the way we’re discussing gender bias is actually bad and what we should do differently

1. Women at Work: A Guide for Men

Author: Joanne Lipman

TL;DR: Even the most well-intentioned men have misconceptions about women at work. For instance:

  • It’s not a compliment. Former BAE systems CEO Linda Hudson says: “I hate being referred to as ‘that very accomplished woman leader.’ Why not just say ‘accomplished leader’? Why does it always have to be qualified?” It seems innocent, but research shows that reminding women of stereotypes undermines confidence and performance.
  • It’s not hand-holding. Georgetown Professor Deborah Tannen found that men consider strong leaders to be those who hire good people and get out of the way. Female leaders are more likely to collaborate, treating others as equals and checking in frequently. The result? For many men, the hands-on approach feels like a lack of trust. Resentment often follows.
  • It’s not a question. A man may declare: “We need a meeting tomorrow morning!” Whereas a woman might ask: “Do you think we need a meeting tomorrow morning?” Don’t get it twisted, both are saying: let’s meet immediately.

2. How Female CEOs Actually Get to the Top

Authors: Sarah Dillard & Vanessa Lipschitz

TL;DR: The Fortune 500 only has 24 female CEOs. So what did they have that others didn’t?

It’s not an Ivy League degree. That’s only true for two of the 24 women.

The answer is tough to hear, especially in today’s world where we swap jobs every few years.

It’s about consistency. Data shows that these 24 female leaders spent a median of 23 years at a company before becoming CEO.

In fact, over 20% took jobs right out of school at the companies they now run. For instance:

  • Mary Barra started out as a college co-op student before becoming CEO of General Motors
  • Kathleen Mazzarella began as a customer service representative at Graybar before becoming CEO 30 years later.

For men, however, the median is 15 years. Meaning, a woman’s climb to the top is over 50% longer. So how should we deal with the imbalance and biases at play? That bring us to…

3. When Talking About Bias Backfires

Authors: Adam Grant & Sheryl Sandberg

TL;DR: New research shows that making people aware of gender bias makes them discriminate more, not less. Why? Because stereotyping seems more socially acceptable once we realize it’s common.

So if awareness makes it worse, how do we make it better? The solution isn’t to stop pointing out stereotypes. It’s to go a step further.

Wharton professor Adam Grant’s study illustrates how:

  • In his classes, he presented data on female underrepresentation in major leadership roles. He thought raising awareness would prompt action. But in the next five months, there was no change in the percentage of female MBA students who applied for campus leadership positions.
  • The following year, he shared the same data but added one sentence: “I don’t ever want to see this happen again.” During the next five months, there was a 65 percent increase in female MBA students who sought out leadership roles.

Bottom line: raising awareness isn’t enough. We should explicitly disapprove of leadership imbalance if we ever hope to improve it.

This article originally appeared on Every Vowel.

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 brazil

Brazil Enacts Law Imposing Stricter Penalties for Violence Against Women

Dilma Rousseff
Eraldo Peres—AP Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff speaks during a signing ceremony for a harsher law against femicide, at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, March 9, 2015.

The new legislation is seen as a victory for Brazilian women

Brazil has passed new legislation that imposes harsher penalties for those who harm or kill women and girls.

President Dilma Rousseff signed the femicide law on Monday, saying it was part of the government’s zero-tolerance policy towards violence against women in a country where 15 women are killed every day, reports the BBC.

Under Brazil’s criminal code, femicide is now described as any crime that involves domestic violence, contempt or discrimination against women.

Aggravated murder charges will carry sentences of between of 12 to 30 years imprisonment.

The bill also includes longer jail terms for crimes committed against pregnant women, those under 14 years of age, women over 60 and people with disabilities.

Rights groups hail the law as a triumph for Brazilian women, days after International Women’s Day celebrations.

“The law identifies femicide as a specific phenomena. This kind of law is preventive in nature,” said the Representative of U.N. Women in Brazil, Nadine Gasman.

Brazil joins several other Latin American countries in enacting such legislation, including El Salvador, which has one of the highest murder rates of women in the world.

[BBC]

TIME Opinion

Politics Aside, the Data on Women Collected by the Clinton Foundation Is Worth a Look

Melinda Gates, Clinton Foundation Release Report On Status Of Women And Girls
Spencer Platt—Getty Images Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (right) joins Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton for the official release of the No Ceilings Full Participation Report (Spencer Platt--Getty Images)

The vast amount of data collected by the Clinton Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says women have taken two steps forward, one step back

The hubbub surrounding Hillary Clinton’s presumptive presidential run and the controversy over her use of a private email account while Secretary of State threaten to overshadow No Ceilings: Full Participation Project, a new report on women’s rights released on Monday by the Clinton Foundation in partnership with the Gates Foundation. That’s a shame, because while the information isn’t completely groundbreaking, it’s still one of the most comprehensive looks at the state of gender equality around the world in 2015, with over a million data points on women’s advancement across dozens of areas.

Here’s the takeaway: since the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action (where Hillary Clinton famously said, “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights), women have taken two steps forward, one step back. There have been major gains in education and women’s health, but less so in safety, economic opportunity, and leadership. “Progress is possible, and the data provides us a roadmap for the unfinished business that remains,” said Clinton when she took the stage in New York City on Monday. “We’re not there yet.”

In health, there’s been a lot of good news when it comes to maternal mortality and contraceptive use. The rate of women who die in childbirth has plummeted more than 40% in 76 countries, and by more than 60% in South Asia, and the rate of adolescent birth has dropped by a third since 1995. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate of contraceptive use has doubled, from 11% to 23%.

But, as Chelsea Clinton said at the No Ceilings event, “we cannot mistake progress for success.” Worldwide, there are still 220 million women who don’t have access to modern family planning– a number that is virtually unchanged since 1995. And according to the WHO, 800 women a day still die from preventable pregnancy complications.

In education, too, there have been major steps forward. Overall female literacy rates reached 80% in 2012, and the global gender gap for primary education has closed everywhere except Sub Saharan Africa– and even there, the primary education rates have largely improved, to 93 girls for every 100 boys. But even if they’re getting a primary education, too few girls are making the leap to secondary school. In South Asia, fewer than half of girls are in secondary school– in Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s fewer than one in three.

And despite the gains in women’s health and education since 1995, there are major areas where far too little has changed in 20 years. When it comes to women’s safety, we’ve barely moved the needle. 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly at the hands of a partner. In a survey of four African countries, 25% of first sex for girls was unwanted. And in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 62% of women and 48% of men think a man is entitled to sex even if a woman refuses.

Financially, women also remain at a stubborn disadvantage. Only about 55% of women worldwide work for pay, compared to 82% of men. That’s not just bad for women– it’s bad for economies. The GDP of the USA would rise by 5% of women were equally represented. In Egypt, women’s participation would boost the GDP by an whopping 34%.

The United States is also one of only nine countries in the world that does not have laws providing paid maternity leave–the others are the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, and Tonga. On the bright side, 75% of other developed countries now provide up to 14 weeks of paid maternal leave. (The U.S. is the only developed country that provides none.)

In leadership roles, women are still vastly underrepresented. Global legislatures remain only 22% female, and the number of countries led by women has risen from 12 in 1995 to only 18 in 2015. Still, there are glimmers of hope: in Rwanda, Bolivia, and Andorra, around 50% of the lower parliamentary seats are held by women.

So even if you’re skeptical of Hillary’s politics, the data from the project is still worth a look. You can check it out more in depth here.

 

TIME United Nations

Violence Against Women Is at ‘Alarmingly High Levels,’ U.N. Says

U.N. Women for Peace Association's International Women's Day celebration
Jemal Countess—Getty Images U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the U.N. Women for Peace Association's International Women's Day celebration in New York City on March 6, 2015

"Uneven progress" 20 years after the landmark Beijing conference on gender equality

Violence against women around the world “persists at alarmingly high levels in many forms,” according to a new U.N. report.

Presented by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, the U.N. Women report marks the 20th anniversary of a U.N. conference in Beijing on achieving gender equality around the world. But the report finds that so far, “uneven progress” has been “unacceptably slow with stagnation and even regress in some contexts.”

The reports findings include these:

  • A World Health Organization study found that 35% of women around the world have experienced either sexual or physical violence from an intimate partner, or sexual violence from a nonpartner.
  • In a study of 42,000 women in the European Union, only a third of victims of intimate-partner violence contacted authorities or sought out support services; of those who experienced violence from someone who wasn’t a partner, only one-fourth did so.
  • That same study also found that more than half of all the women surveyed experienced sexual harassment at least one time since turning 15; nearly a fifth had experienced it within a year of the survey.

The report highlighted that victim-blaming attitudes play a role. In one 2010 study of 15 European nations cited by the report, 52% of all respondents agreed that women’s behavior contributed to domestic violence; in one of those countries surveyed, 86% of respondents agreed with that statement.

The report also outlines a few steps countries can take to combat violence, including improving data collection about violence against, devoting more resources to support services and launching education and awareness campaigns both in public and within education systems.

TIME women

A Lesson From Asia’s Unsung Female Activists

Aung San Suu Kyi attends an event in Yangon, Myanmar on Jan. 10, 2015.
Khin Maung Win—AP Aung San Suu Kyi attends an event in Rangoon, Burma, on Jan. 10, 2015

They play an enormous role as agents of reform who can help hundreds of millions of their fellow citizens

After 11 years behind bars in Burma — nine in solitary confinement — human-rights activist Zin Mar Aung emerged from prison in 2009 to face a new obstacle: she couldn’t obtain a passport to travel overseas at the invitation of a small human-rights group. The government had released her from confinement, but continued to limit her movements.

That changed in 2012, when she discovered she’d won the U.S. State Department’s International Woman of Courage Award for her groundbreaking efforts to empower women in her country and beyond. Within days, Zin Mar Aung received her passport and headed for Washington, D.C.

But when she returned to Burma, authorities revoked her passport once again. When she informed the State Department, they assured her they’d just keep inviting her over, Zin Mar Aung recounted at a recent New America/Radio Free Asia event. They weren’t the only ones offering invitations; for the past six months, she has been a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, and just completed her tenure.

Read more: Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS.

This week, Zin Mar Aung returned to Burma to continue fighting for human rights and women’s political empowerment. But if history is any indication, she may once again face opposition from the powers that be.

Zin Mar Aung’s story serves as an important reminder for all of us as we approach this year’s International Women’s Day: recognition helps. It’s true that in some parts of the world, taking support from American or Western governments can be a detriment to local activists. But we can’t forget that in many cases, our support can shorten prison sentences, galvanize broader humanitarian efforts and reduce torture.

We are most effectively persuasive when we recognize the voiceless, especially women activists who live in Burma and other Asian countries under strict authoritarian rule. While fighting for their rights, these fearless individuals must contend — at great cost to themselves and their families — with rigidly gendered social norms, negligible representation in government, disenfranchised civil societies and few legal protections.

In Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Vietnam, for example, the vast majority of ordinary women lacking family connections or wealth are grossly underrepresented in government and cannot access other key institutions that might substantially improve their lives and communities.

Read more: Where are all the women peacekeepers?

In Burma, even though Nobel laureate and iconic democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi now holds a seat in Myanmar’s parliament, women hold less than 4% of the seats in that legislative body — a total of a meager 25 out of 652.

Women like Suu Kyi who have achieved name recognition in the West have a distinct advantage. Their high profiles span their home countries and the world, putting them and their families in a better position to avoid imprisonment and abuse. Their popularity also translates into widespread support, helping to advance their cause.

But how many of us have heard of Sivanxai Phommalath or Nurungul Tohti? Sivanxai Phommalath, from Laos, was detained for three months after protesting the totalitarian government’s unfair seizure of and inadequate compensation for her family’s property. Tohti, a Uyghur mother in China’s northwest, sought answers from authorities about the abduction and suspected sexual abuse of her son. Her campaign for information ultimately led to her being jailed.

And yet, these are the women who are fighting not only for women’s rights, but for the rights of all of the dispossessed. “We’re working for our whole community, our whole society,” Zin Mar Aung confirmed.

Asian women make up a rapidly growing group of activists fighting for their families and communities. They are factory workers whose pay has been withheld by human- and drug-trafficking gangs, mothers whose children have been kidnapped with the complicity of the police, and lawyers who refuse to accept political complacency. And many of them are under the age of 30.

“The younger generation has seen how their parents were incapacitated by the government and they don’t want to suffer the same fate,” said Binh Nguyen, M.D, the director of the Human Rights for Vietnam Political Action Committee. “Encouraged by the Arab Spring … they realize that they are able to reach out to the international community much more than in previous generations.”

Across Asia, this new generation is already rising up and taking its human-rights battles global, with the weapon of digital literacy in its arsenal. Take Vietnamese blogger and rights advocate Tran Thi Nga, who uploads videos of citizen confrontations with authorities to YouTube. Or the Umbrella Movement’s Yvonne Leung, a student leader who masterfully debated Hong Kong officials on live television. Time and again, these and other fierce women have demonstrated enormous media and web savvy to engage their fellow citizens and the world.

In observing International Women’s Day, it’s essential for the international community to meet these unsung Asian female leaders half way by recognizing their contributions. They play an enormous role as agents of reform who can help hundreds of millions of their fellow citizens. Action, in the form of international pressure and attention, is instrumental to their survival and success.

And yet, as Zin Mar Aung points out, government action is only part of the solution. Policies often exist only on paper. When Burma’s military government petitioned to be part of the Association of Southeast Nations, or ASEAN, in the late 1990s, it had to agree to certain gender-equity stipulations.

“They signed CEDAW, but they haven’t implemented it,” Zin Mar Aung said, referring to the international U.N. treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. They founded a government-sponsored women’s organization — but put the wives of its despotic generals in charge of it.

“We need to empower and encourage women’s groups that balance the government-sponsored women’s organizations,” Zin Mar Aung declared. That empowerment should begin by sharing in these women’s struggles (and breakthroughs) through media and political channels.

It’s been over a century since International Women’s Day began at the turn of the 20th century and 20 years since Hillary Clinton made her “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” speech in Beijing. As we take stock of how far we’ve come in the fight for women’s rights in all that time, we’d be wise to listen to — and wherever we can, amplify — the voices of the women who are fighting battles around the world every day. They are the ones who can identify the biggest holes in the fabric of justice.

Slaughter is the president and CEO of New America. Liu is the president of Radio Free Asia. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @NewAmerica on Twitter.

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 society

How ‘Fat Monica’ on Friends Stuck With Me All These Years

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

The fat girl doesn’t get to be the protagonist

xojane

Friends has a few recurring backstories — Phoebe’s shady past, Ross’s divorce — but one seems to come up again and again: Monica used to be fat in high school.

We actually get to see it in Season Two. Mr. and Mrs. Geller drop off boxes from Monica’s childhood bedroom. The friends all happen to be over when they unearth a video of Monica and Rachel prepping for prom. The tape clicks into the VCR, and there’s Monica in a fat suit and a billowy maroon dress, clutching a sandwich.

“Some girl ate Monica!” crows Joey. And the audience laughs.

I thought grown-up life would basically be a Friends rerun. As a kid, I clung most to that image of adulthood. ’90s New York life seemed so fun and glamorous — the impossibly large apartments, the casually fashionable overalls, the Hootie & the Blowfish concerts.

My family wasn’t hopelessly devoted to the show, so I watched syndicated episodes on the tiny, static-y TV propped on my bedroom dresser. Reruns came in a never-ending stream. A lot of nights, I fell asleep to the soothing chords of Smelly Cat.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but when I look at my life now, it echoes back to these episodes. Maybe Friends is just a great look at mid-20s life, or maybe I drifted off to Ross’s whine so often that these ideas sunk into my subconscious.

I didn’t move to New York, but I did move to a big U.S. city. I spend way too much time in coffee shops. I have a group of friends who are here for me whenever my life’s a joke, I’m broke, my love life’s DOA.

When Friends hit Netflix in January, I was ready. Now I could stream episodes all day and night, until my roommate begged me to shut it off. So much of it was how I remembered. Certain scenes made me scream-laugh so hard that I was afraid the neighbors would complain.

But I’d forgotten about the relentless fat jokes. They pop up every few episodes. Skinny, beautiful, OCD Monica used to be fat — and her friends will never let her forget it.

Maybe the jokes didn’t register with me when I was younger. In high school, hating my body was the norm. But I have to wonder, as I formed my opinions on lattes and boyfriends and the merits of having a capuchin monkey as a pet, what ideas about fatness versus success crept into my head during that formative TV-watching.

Because when everyone taunts Monica about the girl she used to be, I begin to suspect something: If Monica was still fat, they wouldn’t be her friends.

In flashbacks, Monica exists only as a punchline. What effect did this have on me at 13, 14, 15? To see women defined only by their bodies. To know that only when you get skinny do you star in your own show.

Monica becomes real only when she loses the weight. Before that, she’s just a caricature. I was a fat kid; I am a fatter adult. What does this mean for the girls like me who never become thin? Are we relegated to side roles and stereotypes in our own lives? Of course, this isn’t true. But I think it sometimes, dark and secret: The fat girl doesn’t get to be the protagonist.

What does the opposite mean, then? To stay fat or — horror of horrors — get fatter? Does this lessen my successes — the stories I’ve told, the friends I’ve made, the life I’ve built? Sometimes I hear my friends dismiss people we knew as teenagers with, “Oh, he got fat,” and my stomach flips as I wonder what other people say about me.

That’s what the fat jokes on Friends feel like to me, like someone I know and trust is leaning over to whisper, “You matter less because of your body,” then expecting me to laugh.

I know the simple solution is to just stop watching. I boycotted How I Met Your Mother when the fat jokes got too vicious. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with Friends young, before I knew the possible damage.

But I love so much about the show, and I just don’t want to turn it off. I wish there was some edited version where I could skip over the worst of the jokes. I know Friends has other problems with diversity and homophobia, and I never expected it to be a perfect show. But when those Monica jokes come up, they always feel like a punch to the gut.

It’s not just Friends either. The “formerly fat” story line shows up often enough to be considered a trope. The heroic skinny person earns their TV life by shedding the weight.

A recent example: In New Girl, the fit and fastidious character Schmidt used to be chubby (and shlubby) in college. He briefly reunites with his college girlfriend Elizabeth, who remains heavier. But instead of the skinny girls on the show, who wear Peter Pan collars and sleek cocktail dresses, Elizabeth dresses like a slob. She doesn’t know how to present herself in social situations. The joke is that Schmidt is embarrassed by her. I could barely finish the season.

I didn’t need these reminders about how the world views women’s bodies, then or now. You never forget being a fat teenage girl. When my skinnier friends ran into certain stores at the mall, I lingered by the accessories, sliding bangles up and down my wrist and avoiding the eyes of salesgirls. I wanted to apologize for the space I took up, to confess that I knew they didn’t carry my size.

But it was worse when my mom took me to the designated plus-size stores, where I stood back as far from the door as I could in case a classmate wandered by. Walking out of the mall, I’d keep the label of the shopping bag turned towards my leg. At home, I’d cut the XXL tags from every shirt collar.

Since then, I’ve read so much about feminism and body positivity and the fat acceptance movement. I know that bodies are not inherently good or bad. My fatness is a part of me — both my history and my everyday — but it is not the only part of me.

The Monica in the prom video is maybe a size 18 or 20. In high school, I wore a 16 or 18. When I look at her, I see myself. That chubby teenage girl afraid of her own ambitions, because who could she ever be besides the fat girl? I look at photos of my teenage self now and I think I look beautiful. I wish I could reassure her that she would grow past these insecurities.

I’ve learned to celebrate the good things my body can do. Walking through Europe after college, dancing to Talking Heads albums in my apartment now. I try to remember that there are good days and bad days; that loving my body isn’t a one-time goal but an ongoing process.

One joke hit me particularly hard — and it’s a joke Monica makes at her own expense. She wants to go on a date with Rachel’s high school boyfriend, Chip, and she argues her case. “The fat girl inside of me really wants to go,” says Monica. “I owe her this. I never let her eat.”

A life of withholding. This is the joke. The scene ends.

I bet Fat Monica was a great friend. I bet she kept meticulously organized Trapper Keepers and got really competitive over pop quizzes. She probably spent a lot of time in the kitchen, trying out recipes for her family while she dreamed of being a New York City chef. I bet she was just as funny and intense and neurotic and loyal as the woman she grows into. I bet she just went by Monica, and I bet she was fantastic.

Megan Kirby wrote this article for xoJane.

Read next: Why I’m Glad I Was Bullied

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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 women

5 Ways Women in Tech Can Beat the Odds

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Corbis

The biases many female technologists face are unfair — but women in STEM fields can still get ahead by using smart, unintuitive strategies.

These are tough times for women in technology. Female workers are flooding out of tech company jobs, a phenomenon blamed in part on the industry’s patterns of sexism.

A recent Center for Talent Innovation study found that women in science, engineering, and technology are 45% more likely than male peers to leave their industries. Many cite a feeling of being stalled in their careers and excluded from their workplace’s culture; a whopping half say their coworkers believe men have a genetic advantage in math and science. And 44% agreed with the statement, “A female at my company would never get a top position no matter how able or high-performing.”

Meanwhile, a gender discrimination trial now under way has highlighted the ways female employees can be shut out of high-level positions in Silicon Valley. Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao is suing her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, alleging that senior managers systematically excluded her and other women from promotions available to less-accomplished male colleagues.

Though it’s unclear whether Pao will win—the bar is high to prove gender discrimination, and the firm is arguing that she simply was not qualified for the role—her story has undoubtedly struck a chord among many women with experience in the tech world.

If these scenarios resonate with you (or someone you care about), there’s still some good news: Despite the odds against women in technology, both research and anecdotal evidence suggest there are approaches female techies can use to rise up. Here are five of them.

1. Be Assertive, Not Aggressive

Most women in tech are pretty used to holding minority status at work. But that doesn’t make being the only female among many male peers any easier, says Kellye Sheehan, a Hewlett Packard senior manager and president of professional association Women in Technology.

“A lot of times I would be the only woman in the room, and I would notice patterns of male colleagues testing me,” Sheehan says. “One once tried to steal my employees and give me bad business advice.”

Being put in that sort of situation can feel like a Catch-22: If you fight back, you might be seen as overly sensitive or shrill, but if you do nothing, you could come off as weak.

Indeed, a recent study suggests that women with more “masculine” traits like self-confidence are seen as more competent than stereotypically “feminine” women—but they are also seen as less “socially skilled” and therefore suffer backlash effects.

The good news? The researchers found that when a “masculine” woman also exhibits social grace and self-awareness, she gets more promotions than other women and men. So while both men and women should of course keep it classy when they stand up for themselves, women have even more to gain by doing so.

As for Sheehan? She held off on responding right away and chatted with her husband, a fellow engineer, about how he’d handle the situation. He suggested she “throw a brushback pitch,” a move pitchers make in baseball to get batters to stop crowding the plate. That advice worked out, says Sheehan.

“In front of the group I said, ‘No, you can’t have Joe and Tom, and here’s why your advice doesn’t make sense,'” she says. “I spoke plainly and wasn’t overly aggressive and he stepped back immediately and said, ‘No harm meant.'”

2. Dream Big

A common mistake that female entrepreneurs make, says Women Who Code CEO Alaina Percival, is getting too hung up on the plausibility of their ideas. It makes sense: Being prepared with facts and figures seems like an important defense against those who don’t take you seriously.

“Women pitching to investors can be overly analytical, focusing more on reality than their vision,” says Percival. “The truth is you have to embrace a kind of ‘fake it til you make it mentality’ in tech. If you say your idea is worth 100 million dollars, an investor won’t ever imagine it as one billion.”

In fact, pitching yourself as a risk taker can really be a great move for women leading startup companies, a new study suggests. Researcher Sarah Thébaud of U.C. Santa Barbara found that switching a male name for a female name on a business pitch made people rate the idea lower, suggesting a bias against female entrepreneurs. But when she did the same experiment using proposals for especially unusual or novel startup companies, that bias was reduced significantly.

Such a finding is not immediately obvious. You might think that if a woman presents “a business idea that’s particularly risky, it might further undermine her ability to gain credibility and support,” says Thébaud. But instead, she found, “innovation signaled possession of the stereotypically ‘entrepreneurial’ traits and abilities women are otherwise perceived to lack.”

The takeaway? Don’t be afraid to share your bigger visions—they might just earn you big money.

3. Don’t Promise—Surprise

Conventional career wisdom is that you should always underpromise and overdeliver when trying to impress at work. That may seem especially true for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, who already have to overcome beliefs that they are less competent as leaders.

“You’ll often see, in a meeting of equal engineers, that women are asked to take notes,” says Percival. “Or when discussing a new position, people will use gendered language and say, ‘We need to hire a really awesome layout guy.'”

As a consequence, women may feel they have to do additional work to get the same recognition a man would get. But all extra effort is not created equal: Recent research suggests that you aren’t helped by going above and beyond what you commit to doing. That’s because the very act of making a promise mutes the potential happiness your boss or client will feel when you deliver—even if you exceed expectations.

The solution, according to study authors Ayelet Gneezy of U.C. San Diego and Nicholas Epley of University of Chicago: When you really want to impress, hold back on making any promises and just surprise people with your finished product.

4. Brag Better

It is often said that women in technology need to be better at “selling themselves” to compete with male peers, who typically find it easier to trumpet accomplishments. But that is easier said than done.

“Women are culturally expected to still come off as especially humble,” says Percival. “That makes it hard to overcome the embarrassment associated with bragging.” Sheehan agrees: “We stay quiet and hope that if we work hard and have lots of output, we will get promoted.”

The problem is that staying silent about your accomplishments often means you’ll get passed over, as others are rewarded with more responsibility and higher salaries.

Of course, the idea of boasting might make you uncomfortable—and rightfully so. (One of the criticisms Ellen Pao faced from her employer was that she was arrogant.)

One way to overcome your discomfort with bragging is to do it in writing, suggests Sheehan. You could send your boss an email, for example, documenting your team’s successes for the year, making it clear that you played a leading role. The benefit of email is that you can have a few trusted friends or colleagues read over it first, to help you fine-tune your tone.

And worst-case scenario, if you ever find yourself having to prove you were the victim of discrimination, it can’t hurt to have messages about your accomplishments—as well as your boss’s response—in writing.

5. Find Sponsors, Allies, and Resources

Many accomplished women in tech cite mentors and “women-helping-women” channels as key factors in their success. But getting ahead takes more than a little networking or advice. Having good relationships with your colleagues in general and garnering support from higher-ups makes a huge difference, says Sheehan.

“A mentor is someone who will teach you and help you learn and grow,” she says. “A sponsor is someone convinced of your abilities high up in the organization who will advocate for you when you are not there.”

A key factor in winning the support of bosses and coworkers is showing you are a team player and have a thick skin. Society teaches women to be sensitive to criticism, Sheehan says, so it’s especially important to show you are the bigger person after a disagreement. You might even want to take a page from the stereotypically male playbook and invite a difficult colleague (plus a group, if that’s less awkward) to grab a beer after work, which could allow you to hash things out in a more laid-back way.

Finally, consider the power of new female-friendly initiatives sprouting up all throughout the tech world. Half of women who leave the science, technology, or engineering industries keep using their training, whether at a startup, government or nonprofit job, or working for themselves. That suggests that opportunities outside of the box are growing more common.

For example, there’s PowerToFly, a company that matches women in technology with jobs they can perform remotely. Cofounder Katharine Zaleski has explained that she created the business in part because she felt biased against mothers in the workplace—until she became one herself.

“There’s a saying that ‘if you want something done, then ask a busy person to do it.’ That’s exactly why I like working with mothers now,” she wrote this week in a FORTUNE commentary. “If they work from home, it doesn’t matter if a kid gets sick.”

If you have tech skills you want to improve or showcase, there are engineering schools explicitly for women, such as Hackbright Academy, and contests like a new hackathon restricted to female entrants—starting today, March 6—in which women can compete for prizes like a MacBook Air or iPhone 6.

And when all else fails, don’t overthink it.

As Kelly McEvers at NPR wrote, perhaps the best way for women in tech to approach obstacles isn’t to “Lean In,” but “Lean To The Side, And Let It Pass By.” If you’re tired of all the unsolicited advice given to women in tech—as well as the balancing acts you’re asked to perform—just take a breath and remember you’re already beating the odds.

Read next: The 5 Best Ways Men Can #LeanInTogether to Help Women Get Ahead

MONEY

5 Best Ways Men Can #LeanInTogether to Help Women Get Ahead

150306_CA_LEANINDADS
Alamy—Alamy

Be an ally—and benefit from your altruism, says Sheryl Sandberg.

Supporting women in the workplace is just a decent thing for men to do. But there’s also a selfish reason for men to care: Helping a woman get ahead on the job can help your career, too.

That’s the message from #LeanInTogether, a new campaign from Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s career empowerment organization LeanIn.org.

Coming on the second anniversary of the launch of Sandberg’s Lean In initiative, the campaign makes the case that changing women’s roles in the workplace can’t happen without a change in behavior from their male colleagues and partners. #LeaninTogether kicked off this week with PSAs from NBA and WNBA stars on ESPN (which has mostly male viewership) and an editorial in The New York Times.

“From stronger marriages and healthier, happier children to better outcomes at work, the benefits of men leaning in for equality are huge,” Facebook COO Sandberg and Wharton Professor Adam Grant wrote in the Times.

So, guys, are you ready to lean in together? These are the five best ways to be advocates for women—and indirectly, yourselves—in the workplace.

1. Be a Mentor.

Women often seek out other women as mentors. But research shows that women who also have male mentors get more promotions and make more money than those who have only female advisors.

A study of MBAs by Harvard Business School found having a mentor raised a man’s salary an average $9,260 vs. just $661 for women. That’s because the mentors for men tend to be male and higher up the corporate ladder (where there are fewer women) than women’s mentors, who are more likely to be female.

Offering to mentor an up-and-comer has some kickback for you as well: “Mentoring is a great way to identify future leaders, which can raise your profile,” says Anna Beninger from Catalyst, a nonprofit that works to expand opportunities for women in business.

2. Be an Advocate.

Look for ways for female employees to be better seen, heard and recognized, says Kathy Caprino, who runs a women’s career success and leadership coaching business.

For example, if you see female colleagues get interrupted in meetings, interject and say you’d like to hear them finish. Openly ask women to contribute to the conversation.

If you manage a team with women, give them chances to lead, present projects and manage others.

Women are less likely to toot their own horns, so help make sure your colleagues get the credit they deserve. So look for opportunities to acknowledge women when their ideas are implemented, both publicly and to higher ups. When you introduce female coworkers, emphasize their accomplishments.

3. Recruit women.

Hiring women can be a good thing for your company. One study found that start-ups that had more women on staff have greater odds of success. For start-ups with five or more females, 61% were successful and only 39% failed.

But know that some of the most promising candidates won’t come to you: Men will apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the hiring criteria while women wait until they meet 100%. So go after them, finding qualified candidates using LinkedIn and references.

Also when you see a job listing you think would be a slam dunk for one of your former colleagues, send it to her. She might not otherwise think of herself for it. Consider it good karma.

4. Promote women.

Make sure you’re helping to give the women who are already a part of your organization an opportunity to rise.

When it comes to performance reviews, be specific about what constitutes top performance so that both men and women equally know what to do to get ahead. Also get to know your female employees’ ambitions and make clear to them what they need to accomplish to get to the next step.

When you think a woman is ready for the next step and you’re not in control of the promotion process, tell her manager.

Tell her, too, so that she can advocate for herself. And push back when she says she’s “not ready” or “not qualified” for an opportunity—or when others say that about her.

5. Share the office housework.

Changing gender stereotypes about duties isn’t just for the home front.

Women often take on more “office housework”—things like taking notes at a meeting, organizing the office parties and training new hires. Those tasks steal valuable time away from core responsibilities and can keep a female colleague from participating fully, says Sandberg.

“The person taking diligent notes in the meeting almost never makes the killer point,” she writes on the LeanInTogether website.

Two-thirds of women in Fortune 200 companies are in support roles, but line roles with profit-and-loss responsibility more often lead to senior leadership positions.

Don’t fall into the trap of expecting women to take on stereotypical support roles like note taker. Raise your own hand. Not only will you make sure that a woman doesn’t get held back, but you may find yourself having new opportunities to collaborate with different coworkers and develop new skills.

Above all, understand that your actions can help set the tone for other men in the office. Be aware of your subtle biases when it comes to gender. You may not realize it about yourself – or others who work with you. “Walk the talk, be a role model,” says Caprino.

Read next: 5 Ways Women in Tech Can Beat the Odds

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