Achievement gap

Recognition could boost women’s ambition, performance in the workplace

A still from "Good Girls Revolt." (Amazon Studios)

An important key to helping women thrive in the workplace may be as simple as a “job well done” from their superiors, according to a piece in Quartz that cites such wide-ranging examples as the gender discrimination lawsuit against Newsweek in 1970 and the recent criticism of Gawker for failing to adequately recognize the work of its female staffers. Forty-six women sued Newsweek in 1970 for failing to recognize their contributions, a lawsuit which serves as the basis for the new Amazon pilot “Good Girls Revolt.” Lynn Povich, author of the book on which the show is based and one of the women who was part of the lawsuit, told Quartz that recognition was key to her success — a fact that is often overlooked but could be vital to helping women succeed in workplaces even today. “In my life it was very important to me that whatever work I did was seen by the outside world, meaning my boss, or readers, or whoever my outside world is, as being good,” Povich said.

Quartz cites the research of psychiatrist Anna Fels who found that mastery of a skill and recognition of that mastery drive ambition, and that when women don’t receive it, they can expect diminished social rewards. In the case of a recent piece of criticism launched at the media company Gawker by a former staffer describing a work environment in which women’s work was routinely less recognized than men’s, Quartz points to the lack of praise for the hard work of a female editor as an example of the problem. “Recognition is … one of the most basic human requirements,” Fels writes.

Read the full story at Quartz.

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