Women’s Health: Fenced In and Locked Out: Border Deal Will Endanger Women’s Lives

Women’s Health: Fenced In and Locked Out: Border Deal Will Endanger Women’s Lives

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: Emotions and Work

Women’s News: Emotions and Work

Women’s News: Emotions and Work


Dr. Peggy Drexler

Author, research psychologist and gender scholar

An exasperated Tom Hanks, in A League of Their Own, told his sobbing female right fielder: “There’s no crying in baseball,” creating a catch phrase for the ages. He also raised a question. Does the same hold true for the office?

I’ve written about crying in the workplace in the past. But it occurred to me — what about emotion in general? Is it good? Is it bad? Should it be checked at the door? Or have the rules changed with the rising importance of emotional IQ — becoming more attuned to our emotions and those of others?

The answer was obvious in the days when the tough-guy workplace was organized by dominance and fueled by testosterone. Showing emotion — especially the weepy variety — was like wetting your pants in the school yard: a life-altering event.

If a workplace that is replacing powerful titles and chains of command with collaboration and teams is becoming more emotion-friendly, women certainly have at least something to do with it.

It’s with the greatest caution that I commit to print the idea that women are more emotional than men. Back away from that Tweet. Science is on my side.

Women, studies say, cry four times more often than men. One possible reason is that they have had less social programming not to cry: boys and girls cry roughly the same amount until around age 12. Then the guy rules kick in.

Another is hormonal. Women have six times more prolactin — the tear hormone — than men. Plus, women have larger tear ducts, which may account for why women gush and men trickle.

Putting aside for the increased social and biological possibilities of women crying at work — what about office reaction?

Opinion varies. Some would chock it off as a women thing — it’s just what they do. Others see manipulation — it’s a tool to get something she wants. For crying men, the typical reaction is extreme discomfort — akin to watching someone get sloppy drunk and tell off the boss at the Holiday party.

As for other emotions, men tend to get a pass. the double standard is alive and well. With anger: women are difficult, men are tough. A confident woman might be typed as cocky or aloof. A man is a take-charge guy. Sympathy means she’s weak. For men — he’s a sweet guy.

Generalizations, all. But it’s hard to deny that, for women, emotions are a field of brambles that men seem to stroll through without a scratch.

I asked a few manager-level professionals for some help on this one.

One related a hard lesson learned. Allyson is 30, capable, and has some clear goals for a career in brand marketing. “To shorten the story considerably,” she said, “a project I’d been working on for six months was cancelled. The reasons don’t matter — but they were stupid. After another meeting getting nowhere with my boss, my frustration got the better of me. I cried. Really cried. Worse than that, other people saw me cry.

“They were incredibly supportive and sympathetic. They all said they understood my frustration. It wasn’t until later than I found out my new office nickname was ‘sniffles.’ For me, lesson learned. Don’t cry at work. Ever. It doesn’t help. And it’s always with you — like a tattoo on your neck.”

I tried to find a similar story from the other side of the gender divide, but my search came up empty. So I asked both men and women what they would think if a male colleague cried in the office. Their replies were interestingly consistent. Men just don’t — at least not about work.

Said one: “I would assume that something bad was happening in his life — like he just had to put his dog to sleep. If it turned out he was crying because of something went wrong at work, it would creep me out.”

Another said: “I just can’t imagine that happening. I can’t even picture it. I’ve seen guys fired. I’ve seen them get blistered by the boss at meetings. I’ve seen them get mad. I’ve seen them raise their voice. I’ve seen them quit and walk out. I’ve seen them threaten to beat the s__t out of someone. But I’ve never seen anybody cry.”

Crying, of course, is just one show of emotion. What about others that may stray beyond the guardrails of decorum?

Avoidance may go against nature. Neuroscience tells us that emotion is hardwired into every aspect of our lives — including work. There are 600 words in the English language that describe emotions. And we have 43 facial muscles to convey them — even those speaking different languages can easily parse expressions — I like you; I want to hurt you.

So it’s not realistic that we’ll navigate Spock-like through the day with only a raised eyebrow. That is especially true when the under-staffed, over-committed workday is packed with pressure.

Shows of emotion are also associated with some very desirable outcomes — like showing the human side of leadership, exhibiting passion for results, driving up a sense of urgency. They divide the old and new work model — conveying the difference between encouragement and intimidation; empathy and fear.

Repressing them can cloud judgment, blunt emotional IQ, drive up stress.

But the advantage of shows of emotion, says University of Pennsylvania Wharton School professor Dr. Sigal Barsade is also the problem. It spreads. It’s called “emotional contagion,” says Dr. Barsade, who studies emotion in organizational behavior. It’s our human tendency to synchronize our emotions with those around us. Very good for a stirring pep talk to rally the troops around an impossible deadline. Less so for tears of rage in a budget meeting.

Her advice in a Wall Street Journal article by Dennis Nishi is simple: don’t vent. Bottle it and open it up at home. Get help. Deconstruct the situation to figure it out. Entertain the possibility that your emotions are trying to tell you something: maybe you and your job just don’t get along. Also, she said, consider your place in the organization. The stakes of emotional control are different for a senior manager than they are for an entry-level hire.

One of those stakes is the ability to handle emotions when they explode. I had a young research assistant — very capable, but very brittle. She was a chronic crier. When I sat her down to explain why that was unacceptable, she cried.

Anne Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace, says that the key is not to stomp on emotion, but to manage it. Part of that, she argues in a recent Monster.Com article, is to get to the source — find the emotional trigger in an otherwise valuable team member. Go after the cause, not the symptoms.

With my assistant, it was malignant self-doubt. I worked to build up her confidence. The crying didn’t stop. But it was a lot quieter.

As women change the workplace, it’s fair to entertain that some of male-driven rules of emotional containment may give way. Repression may yield to expression — especially in team-sensitive cultures that thrive on human interaction.

With caveats, exceptions and dangerous stereotypes duly considered, it’s fair to say that women are — at least — more emotionally expressive than man. Call it socialization, call it genetics: there’s a reason why women feel free to reach for the tissue box.

There is a line between appropriate and inappropriate displays of emotion in the workplace. The presence of more women may have moved the line toward freer expression. But it’s still there. When emotions well up, tread carefully.

Don’t let them call you “sniffles.”

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peggy-drexler/emotions-and-work_b_3521661.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

A Message From The Creator


Women’s Health: Fenced In and Locked Out: Border Deal Will Endanger Women’s Lives


Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas

Executive Director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

This week, by a vote of 67-27, the U.S. Senate passed a controversial deal that is expected to propel immigration reform through the chamber with strong bipartisan support. A vote on final passage in the Senate is expected any day, and then all eyes will turn to the House of Representatives, which will (fingers crossed) produce its own bipartisan bill. Immigration reform has real momentum, and more prospects for success than we’ve seen in decades.

So why am I not celebrating? Because I’m deeply concerned about the implications of this enormous concession for women’s health and safety, and the message it sends about our values as a nation. The Corker-Hoeven Amendment, and the underlying bill (S. 744) that seems to be advancing with lightning speed, create an unacceptable second-class status for legalizing immigrants. Under the Senate bill, woman and families navigating the complex roadmap to citizenship would be working, paying taxes, fees, and fines, learning English, and fulfilling other requirements for 15 years or more before affordable health coverage options would become available to them.

That’s 15 years paying into Medicaid and other health programs without any opportunity to benefit from those same programs. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) has compared these unfair restrictions to being forced to pay homeowners insurance premiums for over a decade — and then being denied coverage if your home catches fire.

As an organizer and advocate, I hear every day from immigrant women and families about the struggles they face living without health care. Sofia’s* story in particular has weighed on my heart. Sofia was living in Texas with her husband and young children when she began experiencing severe reproductive health problems. She knew she needed to see a doctor, but like most immigrant women, was barred from Medicaid and other affordable health insurance options. Without insurance, no doctor would see her.

Eventually Sofia’s health deteriorated and she made the difficult decision to cross into Mexico to see a gynecologist and receive the medical treatment she needed. Each time she went for a procedure, she had to cross back into the U.S. with the aid of a paid coyote, literally swimming across the Rio Grande, painfully aware of the prevalence of rape and other dangers women face during border crossing. She did this for five years, each time uncertain whether she would make it home to her children, because she had no other choice.

The amended Senate immigration bill would do nothing to relieve the suffering of women like Sofia, and would callously deny her family the opportunity to participate in the same affordable health plans as her friends and neighbors. For a woman with undiagnosed cervical or breast cancer, 15 years without health insurance could be the difference between life and death. At the same time, the bill would dump billions more dollars into heavy-handed immigration enforcement, making border crossing more dangerous and difficult.

Sofia and her family would continue to be locked out of the health care system, while at the same time being “fenced in” to an increasingly militarized border community.

Thankfully, several senators have warned against the human and fiscal costs of denying health care to future citizens, and offered commonsense amendments to improve the legislation. Senator Hirono, who fought for improvements to S. 744 in the Senate Judiciary Committee markup, introduced the “Taxpayer Fairness” amendment to ensure that no woman who has satisfied her tax liability shall be ineligible for federal health and other programs on the sole basis of her immigration status. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced amendments to improve health care access for survivors of intimate partner violence and to reduce the mandatory delay individuals on the roadmap to citizenship would face before becoming eligible for vital health coverage programs. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), another champion of women’s health and rights in immigration reform, filed an amendment to end the abhorrent practice of shackling pregnant women in immigration detention.

It is disappointing to see debate on these critical proposals ended prematurely, especially since they’re well in line with mainstream opinion on the issues. Across the nation, most Americans support including immigrant families in our health care programs: 63 percent agree that aspiring citizens should be able to participate in Medicaid, and 59 percent believe people on the path to citizenship should be able to pay into and participate in the gains of health reform. Latinas, our families, and communities have spoken — and wish to fully integrate our immigrant brothers and sisters into the fabric of American society.

It’s time for negotiators in the U.S. Senate to reevaluate their priorities, and for House lawmakers to take heed. Reform should allow aspiring citizens to live with health and dignity, and fully contribute to our families, communities, and economy. Anything less is unwise, unjust, and un-American.

Some are saying that this “border surge,” and the deal that’s come along with it to pass immigration reform in the Senate, is a pill we have to swallow to get the final bill over the finish line. It’s worth asking ourselves whether that’s true, and whether this amended bill still lives up to our values as a nation.

Especially if the bitter pill of compromise is the only medicine immigrant women and families can expect to receive for fifteen years or more.

* Name has been changed.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-gonzalezrojas/fenced-in-and-locked-out_b_3498971.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health


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