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Same Words, Different Language: A Proven Guide for Creating Gender Intelligence at Work, Third Edition by Barbara Annis

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8. Assumptions and Blind Spots

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.

—Alan Alda

In the water most of us swim in at work, stereotypes are routinely assumed and accepted: “Men don’t listen,” “Women talk too much,” “Women prefer administrative work—and they’re so good at it,” “For women, career isn’t their first priority,” “Men are the primary income earners.” You’ve probably heard a few more. These stereotypes—any stereotypes—can be blatant or subtle. By definition, they are at best oversimplified, at worst sheer myths. Yet the real problem is not really the ideas themselves. The real problem is what we do with them. As with all myths, once these stereotypes plant themselves ...

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