Why You Need to Get Assertive to Change Things for the Better in Your Workplace

And how three female bosses—Anne Wojcicki, Bozoma Saint John, and Aileen Lee—are lifting women up.

Kathryn Wirsing

When Aileen Lee, (founder of Cowboy Ventures), Anne Wojcicki, (founder and CEO of 23andMe), and Bozoma Saint John (chief brand officer at Uber), were asked at the 2017 Marie Claire Power Trip whether they had been seeing a movement to equalize women in the workplace, they echoed a sentiment that can be seen in paychecks nation-wide.

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“No, there’s not enough goddamn change,” Saint John responded.

While she was partially joking, Saint John, along with Lee and Wojcicki, pointed to many issues, like equal pay and sexual harassment, that women have to deal with in the work world today.

While changing the norm is no easy feat, Saint John pointed out that women need to make the first step themselves (don't we always?!) by taking credit for their work (sorry, no "we" allowed).

The three women also discussed the need to have an assertive attitude in the workplace. Lee, for one, hopes doing so will see a new generation of founding women in the tech world.

"In venture capital, where we are funders of startups, it’s 90 to 95 percent men,” Lee said. “We have to get more women into venture capital. We have to bring more women through the ranks of technology companies because they’re the next generation of founders.”

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Wojcicki also expressed that more women must take on the responsibility of going out and mentoring their female peers.

"I think oftentimes we’re loud about things that are going wrong, but we don’t do enough to encourage each other when there’s something that has gone right."

“I get somewhat frustrated when people are like...'what’s it going to change?’” Wojicki said. “First, it’s not going to change overnight, but secondly, it doesn’t change unless you actually, physically do something.”

Lee and Saint John referenced the "Shine Theory," which suggests that women should "shine" AKA encourage one another more frequently for their mutual benefit.

Kathryn Wirsing
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“I need encouragement,” Saint John said. “I wish that more women would do so more publicly. You know, I think oftentimes we’re loud about the injustice and the things that are going wrong, but we don’t do enough to encourage each other when there’s something that has gone right.”

So, who run the world...?


For more from this year's Power Trip, click here.

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