For many women, saying “no” leads to feeling guilty. New York Times contributor, Jessica Bennett, says always being expected to say yes is not a figment of their imagination. Research shows that when a woman says no, it is perceived differently than when a man does the same.  

Bennett cites research from Rice University that confirms women are indeed expected to agree to requests more frequently than men.  In addition, Carnegie Mellon has determined that people expect women to volunteer for administrative tasks that might not further their careers. 

Unfortunately, this gives women less control over their time – personally and professionally.  As a result, their priorities suffer and their goals take a back seat to the desires of those around them.  This problem requires women to get comfortable turning down requests that aren’t aligned with their goals. And, their leadership has to stop judging women harshly for saying, “No,” to activities that don’t benefit their careers.


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