Is Working With a Woman As Bad As People Say It Is?
What I Have Learned Working with Over 300 Women in A Year
By Bri’Ann Stephens
When I decided to start a company that empowers women, I completely overlooked the magnitude of what I would be doing.
Not once did I consider that working with all of my best friends, plus career based women, and women in school, could possibly hinder friendships and change my outlook on women.
In the beginning of my career and road to entrepreneurship, there were more negative responses to my choice to only work with women than positive. There were people who told me:
“That is a joke. I would not take it seriously.”
“I am not used to working with women. I do not deal with this when working with men.”
“You need a man to balance out all of the emotions.”
“I do not understand why you won't take help from a man.”
Regardless of those responses, I did not bend my decision to only work with women internally and externally. I believe that for every job a man can do, there's a woman who can do it better.
Working with solely women was not always my outlook on my company, Pink Productions.
I remember talking to a guy New Years Eve about my company. He was younger than me, but he owned part of his grandfather’s company. He talked to me about investing and helping out.
He even went as far as quoting a number he would like to invest, having multiple phone conversations, and even setting a meeting date. The day we were scheduled to meet, we never heard from him and weeks passed before we heard from him again. Later we learned that he believed Pink Productions was a joke and he wouldn’t take it seriously.
It was during that time, the first month of launching, that I decided I did not want to work with a man again. It was not because he did not invest, that he wasted our time, or that he did not take us seriously. In that moment, I realized some men believe that we need them and that our success is dependent on if they decide to help us or not. I mean, for goodness sakes—he offered to invest! I never asked for help.
It was almost like someone holding their hand open, offering me candy. Then, closing their hand quickly, once I grab for it. Like seriously? I can get my own!
And that is exactly what we did, took care of our own things.
In the beginning, I worked alongside my sister, Chelsea. We reached out to over 60 women and asked them to be interviewed for my company. Everyone responded and 58/60 agreed to be interviewed.
A month after launching my other sisters, Mofe and Adunola came aboard to join the team. About 8 months later, we had a team of 15 women. A year later, we had a team of 23 women and had interviewed about 300 women. So, working with only women internally sort of just happened, it wasn't planned.
In this past year, I have had fights with my sisters—fights we did not have before working together, I learned that women can be extremely difficult, lazy in certain areas, condescending and overly sensitive.
I also learned that when a woman puts her mind to something she will get it done. Women are the greatest sources of inspiration. We face discrimination but we prove the naysayers wrong. We have hearts of gold and are extremely compassionate. We are team players, and we help one another no matter what.
If you're thinking of working with a team of women, have a team of women, or are opposed to working with all women. Here are some things to consider:
A study, led by Professor Oyvind L. Martinsen, head of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at the BI Norwegian Business School, assessed the personality and characteristics of nearly 3,000 managers. In nearly all areas, they concluded that women were better leaders than their male counterparts.
Women outperformed men in four of the five categories studied: initiative and clear communication; openness and ability to innovate; sociability and supportiveness; and methodical management and goal-setting.
Women have an open mind. We are more likely to be supportive of people no matter what.
We listen better than men. We are considerate enough to listen to someone in order to understand, even if we do not agree.
We love to collaborate. We share ideas, tips, and tools that involve everyone who is within the process.
We motivate each other like no other. Even if we do not always say motivational things with our words, our actions alone can change the world.
We strive and focus on personal growth. On our team, every team member has a business or aspires to start a business outside of Pink Productions and we all help each other out.
Being that women are better leaders than men, having a team of women leaders is a win/win across the board! I love working with a team of leaders who are all women.
If you work on a team with mostly women, strive to improve the areas in which you are weak, have effective conversations that lead to progress, respect one another, and have fun in your role! Working with women may be a challenge in some areas, but trust me—it is worth it.
Comment reasons you prefer working with men or women. I would love to discuss it!