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Stop Fixing Women: Why Building Fairer Workplaces Is Everybody's Business

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Millions of words have been spent in our quest to explain men’s seemingly never-ending dominance in boardrooms, in parliaments, in the bureaucracy and in almost every workplace. So why is gender inequality still such a pressing issue? Wage inequality between men and women seems one of the intractables of our age. Women are told they need to back themselves more, stop margi Millions of words have been spent in our quest to explain men’s seemingly never-ending dominance in boardrooms, in parliaments, in the bureaucracy and in almost every workplace. So why is gender inequality still such a pressing issue? Wage inequality between men and women seems one of the intractables of our age. Women are told they need to back themselves more, stop marginalising themselves, negotiate better, speak up, support each other, strike a balance between work and home. This searing book argues that insisting that women fix themselves won’t fix the system, the system built by men. Catherine Fox does more than identify and analyze the nature of the problem. Her book is an important tool for male leaders who say they want to make a difference. She throws down the gauntlet, showing how business, defence, public service and community leaders might do it, rather than just talk about it. She shows that not only will this be better for women but for productivity as well, not to mention men and women’s health and happiness at home and at work.


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Millions of words have been spent in our quest to explain men’s seemingly never-ending dominance in boardrooms, in parliaments, in the bureaucracy and in almost every workplace. So why is gender inequality still such a pressing issue? Wage inequality between men and women seems one of the intractables of our age. Women are told they need to back themselves more, stop margi Millions of words have been spent in our quest to explain men’s seemingly never-ending dominance in boardrooms, in parliaments, in the bureaucracy and in almost every workplace. So why is gender inequality still such a pressing issue? Wage inequality between men and women seems one of the intractables of our age. Women are told they need to back themselves more, stop marginalising themselves, negotiate better, speak up, support each other, strike a balance between work and home. This searing book argues that insisting that women fix themselves won’t fix the system, the system built by men. Catherine Fox does more than identify and analyze the nature of the problem. Her book is an important tool for male leaders who say they want to make a difference. She throws down the gauntlet, showing how business, defence, public service and community leaders might do it, rather than just talk about it. She shows that not only will this be better for women but for productivity as well, not to mention men and women’s health and happiness at home and at work.

30 review for Stop Fixing Women: Why Building Fairer Workplaces Is Everybody's Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Em

    Good stuff, but will the necessary people ever read it?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gen

    I found this tricky to rate but mostly because I haven't read anything like it before, not because I didn't like it. This book shows how workplace gender discrimination needs to be tackled by changing male attitudes, and organisational structures and practices, as opposed to fixing the things that make women different to men. The book is very readable and I liked the little streak of snarky, sassy humour throughout. It is set out well and the chapters flow into each other nicely. There are a few I found this tricky to rate but mostly because I haven't read anything like it before, not because I didn't like it. This book shows how workplace gender discrimination needs to be tackled by changing male attitudes, and organisational structures and practices, as opposed to fixing the things that make women different to men. The book is very readable and I liked the little streak of snarky, sassy humour throughout. It is set out well and the chapters flow into each other nicely. There are a few case studies highlighting effective changes made by various companies to improve female recruitment and retention which are interesting. Overall I found this sometimes anger-inducing but very eye-opening. I'd say it's definitely worth a read by anyone who is serious about changing gender discrimination in the workplace.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)

    I tore through this in less than 24 hours, and found it an incredibly engaging and thought provoking read! I found the two chapters looking at quotas in senior leadership roles/Boards, and mentors/sponsors particularly interesting. I appreciated how well researched this was, and I hope men and women alike pick this up and take something meaningful from it. Workplaces (and society generally) would certainly benefit from this being read widely!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    This book covers a very important topic, but there is sadly nothing new here. I do wonder what it will take to actually get change in workplaces when there are already so many statistics, books and discussions about inequality and disparity and causes. Good to see an Australian perspective. I've always been slightly negative about the Male Champions of Change concept, but the author shows why it is important and how it can help.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Natalie S

    For years society’s “fingers” have been squarely pointed at women. We’ve been told what to do, what to avoid, to lean in, speak up, support each other and back ourselves. But has this information – which is sometimes contradictory – actually helped achieve anything? The gender pay gap remains largely unchanged and the percentage of women in senior management and leadership roles remains at a disappointing low. Thankfully, leading women’s commentator, Catherine Fox advocates a different approach For years society’s “fingers” have been squarely pointed at women. We’ve been told what to do, what to avoid, to lean in, speak up, support each other and back ourselves. But has this information – which is sometimes contradictory – actually helped achieve anything? The gender pay gap remains largely unchanged and the percentage of women in senior management and leadership roles remains at a disappointing low. Thankfully, leading women’s commentator, Catherine Fox advocates a different approach as well as offering much food for thought in her third book, Stop Fixing Women. To read the rest of this review please visit: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/re...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Unclear who the target audience is for this book - as a woman it’s reassuring to read that the problem is the system, not me, but there are few recommendations on how to change the system and it’s unlikely that anyone with the power to change it would get more than a chapter through!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Catherine Fox is one of Australia's best commentators on women in the workplace, a role she has held since before many of us realised it was a thing. She cuts to the real issues and calls out the bullshit. So for this reason alone it is worth reading whatever she puts to print. I particularly like her call to dismantle the 'deficit model' to explain why women are not represented highly in leadership roles - the one that suggests its because we lack confidence, or ability, or don't speak up or what Catherine Fox is one of Australia's best commentators on women in the workplace, a role she has held since before many of us realised it was a thing. She cuts to the real issues and calls out the bullshit. So for this reason alone it is worth reading whatever she puts to print. I particularly like her call to dismantle the 'deficit model' to explain why women are not represented highly in leadership roles - the one that suggests its because we lack confidence, or ability, or don't speak up or whatever. She notes instead that the structure of work was established to suit men in traditional environments (usually married, with partner at home) because that was the clear societal expectation back when the modern workplace was established. I also like her assessment that many of the things we do in organisations to improve outcomes for women aren't working. Primarily because we focus on 'fixing the women' ie. the deficit model rather than fixing the system and the biases within it. Of particular interest is her view that unconscious bias training doesn't work. Primarily again because it focuses on individuals (this time usually men in the workplace) rather than the systems and structures of work. So, all good stuff. My concern with the book is a common one. These books have a time stamp. Like others of its type it is full of up to the minute data that is out of date five minutes later. We are wading through examples that have passed, data that is out of date and people that no longer exist. As a result I skim read loads of stuff I'd seen again and again. The wonderful Cordelia Fine is mentioned often in the book. Her work, by comparison lasts and lasts. There's something to be learnt from that. I feel that Catherine's work is more suited to Quarerly Essays, Podcasts, articles, interviews and conferences rather than a book. That said, skim it for the gems within. And there are some gems.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    In this book, the author examines the reasons why men’s seemingly never-ending dominance in boardrooms, in parliaments, in the bureaucracy, and in almost every workplace. Focused on the typical differences of wage inequality and the absence of women in the higher ranks of the companies. Usually women are told they need to back themselves more, stop marginalising themselves, negotiate better, speak up, support each other, strike a balance between work and home. This searing book argues that insist In this book, the author examines the reasons why men’s seemingly never-ending dominance in boardrooms, in parliaments, in the bureaucracy, and in almost every workplace. Focused on the typical differences of wage inequality and the absence of women in the higher ranks of the companies. Usually women are told they need to back themselves more, stop marginalising themselves, negotiate better, speak up, support each other, strike a balance between work and home. This searing book argues that insisting that women fix themselves won’t fix the system, the system built by men. Catherine Fox does more than identify and analyse the nature of the problem. Her book is an important tool for male leaders who say they want to make a difference. She throws down the gauntlet, showing how business, defence, public service and community leaders might do it, rather than just talk about it. She shows that not only will this be better for women but for productivity as well, not to mention men and women’s health and happiness at home and at work.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin Bower

    The main premise of the book is that it’s not the fault of women that they are not getting to ‘sit at the table’, get unequal pay for the same job and the myriad other inequalities that abound. Some may keep saying sorry or not speaking up or not ‘leaning in’ but those comments have become almost stereotypical. What needs to happen is that powerful men need to take action to allow the space for talented women to enter the arena and the men make themselves sponsors, mentors and donors in the busi The main premise of the book is that it’s not the fault of women that they are not getting to ‘sit at the table’, get unequal pay for the same job and the myriad other inequalities that abound. Some may keep saying sorry or not speaking up or not ‘leaning in’ but those comments have become almost stereotypical. What needs to happen is that powerful men need to take action to allow the space for talented women to enter the arena and the men make themselves sponsors, mentors and donors in the business of creating level playing fields. A good read that beats up the stereotypes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fai

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jess

  12. 5 out of 5

    CathE84

  13. 5 out of 5

    STEMMinist

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bilge

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bunmi

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Honda

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tara Mclaughlin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amie Albrecht

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elif

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ali

  22. 5 out of 5

    Repetepete

  23. 5 out of 5

    K

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Carson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mischa Andrews

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jess Bishop

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emma

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