Skip Nav
Make a Relationship a Choice, Not a Goal — Here's What You Need to Do First
20 Sexy Gifts For Your Significant Other
18 Breakup Quotes That Will Make You Feel So Much Better

Women Are Nicer - And Nicer Is Better For Businesses

Nice Girls Could Change the World — If We Could Just Stop Being Its Doormat First

Here's a post from OnSugar blog Life Forward.

The nice woman is the new nice guy.

If the nice guy was the stereotypical shlub who was used by his date, stuck with the bill but never got a kiss at the end of the evening, the nice woman is the professional version.  Caring too much about her colleagues and company, she fails to negotiate effectively for a better salary or promotion, becoming bargain rate labor in the hands of a Machiavellian management. 

There are those who would use this as proof positive that if women are going to be altruistic, less aggressive, and, generally speaking, nice, then complaining about the wage gender gap is hypocritical.  The Ignorant Men Holding Hands and Hating Feminists are a classic example (albeit an extreme disreputable one) of a group that seeks to use the fact that women, as a gender, tend to be less aggressive than men, against us, somehow equating that nice-ness with weakness to be simultaneously derided and preyed upon.  Lois Frankel has authored an entire series of titles beginning with "Nice Girls dont... <insert success here>" designed to toughen us up.  She's not alone - the immediate, micro solution to being taken advantage of is fairly obvious - toughen up and stand up for yourself - or you deserve to be taken advantage of.

Is our only option then to lose our empathy for others and embrace a dog-eat-dog morality? Maybe, maybe not


Nancy Folbre is hypothesizing a different, and, frankly, more fair outcome - " differences among all individuals — as well as gaps between men and women — reflect differences in personality, preferences and principles as much as productivity.  If this true, then policies like executive pay restrictions and higher marginal tax rates would not necessarily lower productive contributions. They might even discourage selfish opportunism that can be counterproductive to society."

Take away the carrot of management compensation based upon net income or gross receipts and you reduce the risk of financial statement fraud, wherein management is motivated to overstate earnings to increase their bonuses.  According to Folbre's theory, with women who are more big picture minded, doing so would not limit management's productivity.

Someone who cares about others instead of their own paycheck and office size seems better suited to the task of running a company, where the actions of the CEO have impacts far reaching not only on his or her employees, but on all stakeholders - customers, neighbors, investors, rippling outwards like a stone thrown into a pond.  Being able to see the big picture then, leads to better planning, for herself, the company, and all those stakeholders.  How can that be a bad thing?

After all, when we all do better, we all do better.

What do you think?  Should better teamwork be rewarded?  How do we break out of our Machiavellian reward system?  Comment below to discuss!

Here's an excerpt from OnSugar blog Life Forward.

Join The Conversation
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
Betty - you should have seen the things that were left the first time I used the tag 'feminism' - on this post: or on some of the others - there are entire groups devoted to hating feminism - and using nasty language to showcase that!
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
I guess this depends on your definition of 'nice:' to me it means not unpleasant or rude, but still weak-willed and wishy-washy. To get ahead in this society-man or woman-, you have to find a balance of assertiveness-bitchiness+rationality=respectability. Fine-tuning that balance is much easier said than done. @#11 @Shayna if some anonymous nutjob makes a rude comment, click 'report comment' and ask that it be removed, and 'Community Manager' will remove it for you. I don't know who 'Community Manager' is, but she deserves some credit. She's responsive. Personally, I wish only registered members could comment, just because of that sort of thing.
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
You think becoming the top person in a company is superficial? What do you think is a more geniune sign of success then?
stephley stephley 7 years
Maybe before Frankel writes another book, she should ask herself why her Not Nice Girl is never satisfied with her achievments and always looking for her next superficial sign of success.
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
Yes - I deleted that remark on Life: Forward (where these comments get cross posted), but cannot do so here --- The 'manhood academy' - aka the Ignorant Men Holding Hands is an anti-women group of men (or possibly boys... their podcasts have strangely high pitched voices)--- beware of their website - lots of foul language/vitriol/ignorance! And yes, there is a difference between being nice and being a doormat, but the perception is that they are the same. How do we delineate between the two?
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Uh, nice girls are NOT doormats. There's a difference between a nice girls and a doormat. JMHO.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
In my experience I find that people that allow themselves to be taken advantage of professionaly or personally in most cases are afraid of confrontation. Confrontation isn't necessarily heated as many people would think by the way we use the word. In the case of professional advancement if it is clear that you are being paid less than your contemporaries, that your work is equal to or better in quality, you've put in equal time and commitment etc. the first thing to realize is that the facts speak for themselves and do most of the talking for you. Most employers will not argue with facts of the obvious nature. Also to keep the conversation from being adversarial set the tone that is comfortable for you and keep it. Some employers will try and scare you off by being argumentative but if you keep a cool head and show confidence in the facts presented you have the upper hand to start with.
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
Except that being pushy seems to be what is rewarded --- and men are much more pushy than women. I think you're mistaken about what being a feminist means. it has nothing to do with being pushy and obnoxious, it has to do with having equal respect regardless of gender. Men get paid more because they're more cutthroat, competitive, care less about their colleagues, and are willing to take bigger risks --- and that behavior is detrimental in the long run for companies - so the more big-picture views of women should be rewarded more - but they're not.
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
That sounds a little ridiculous don't you think? We should be feminine without being obnoxious? Direct but still nice? That's the crux of why we have this problem of being underpaid and undervalued to begin with!
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
Yes, it is amazing how easy it is to sort us into cubby holes? (For those of you not familiar, that was tonge in cheek) Jersey - what field are you going into? Being confident and assertive is great --- sometimes I have to push myself to be more confident professionally, although I think this has more to do with having worked for a truly horrible boss a couple years ago than my gender.
Do Nice Guys Finish Last?
Gender-Neutral Driver's Licenses in Washington DC
What's a Good Alternative to Pepper Spray?
Finding Out Baby's Gender
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds