Businesswomen can stamp out stereotypes

Judith Baxter
Professor Judith Baxter

Monday 3 March

The perception that women in business can be  “too girly” or” too masculine” is tackled head on by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC ) and Aston University in an on-line resource launched today (March 3) to mark International Women’s Day on Saturday (March 8).

Professor Judith Baxter, Professor of Applied Linguistics at Aston University, has joined forces with the GBCC to launch the online series entitled ‘Using Language Effectively’.

She will also talk about it at a GBCC’s Women in Business conference at De Vere Venues, Colmore Gate, on March 17. Other speakers include include Lorely Burt, MP for Solihull, Sameena Ali Khan, ITV Central presenter, and Patricia Freshwater, of Business Adrenaline. The event will also include a company case study and a panel discussion.

GBCC Policy and Patron Advisor Henrietta Brealey said: “According to Professor Baxter, women in business are often caught between a rock and hard place – they are either deemed to be too ‘girly’ or too ‘masculine’.

“Most people realise that they are often judged on the basis of how they speak and interact – but women in business face particular challenges. This resource aims to tackle these perceptions.”

Professor Baxter said: “My research has shown that women in business often experience a ‘double-bind’. "If they come across to colleagues as too 'feminine' or 'girly', they are not treated seriously and may be viewed as lightweight or ineffective.

“If they come across to colleagues as too ‘feminine’ or ‘girly’, they are not treated seriously and may be viewed as lightweight or ineffective

“Yet, if they come across as too ‘masculine’ and assertive, they are criticised for being too bossy, scary or ‘speaking just like a man.

"The Using Language Effectively Series is a unique resource for women managers who encounter tricky situations on a day to day basis in the workplace. It describes some of the pitfalls real women often experience when talking with male colleagues, and the ways they have effectively used language to achieve their goals while preserving good relationships. In the run up to International Women’s Day it is important to both celebrate the successes of women in business, and offer support for those still looking to make their mark. The ‘Using Language Effectively’ series is a valuable resource for all aspiring women."

Prof Baxter will be speaking about the ‘Using Language Effectively’ resource – which can be found on the Chamber website and her research at the Chambers’ Women in Business Conference on March 17.

Find out more and register here.

Note to Editors:

For further information, please contact John Lamb, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Director of Press and PR, on 0121 607 1781; or mobile 07971 144064. E-mail [email protected]

Interview requests
For interviews on this press release, please call Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce media hotline: 0121 607 1781.

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is one of the UK’s oldest and largest Chambers. It has nearly 3,000 member companies that employ over 200,000 plus affiliate organisations representing 15,000 people. It offers extensive services to industry and commerce, having served the interests of business for three centuries, promoting trade locally, nationally and internationally.

Members of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce: Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Burton & District Chamber, Chase Chamber, Lichfield & Tamworth Chamber, Solihull Chamber, The Institute of Asian Businesses, Future Faces and the British American Business Council.