Dr Yolanda Harper: Did I Shave My Legs For This: Negotiating Pressures to Conform
From Barbara Zorn-Arnold on October 10th, 2017
Sawyer and Thoroughgood (2017) noted that employees who can express themselves authentically in their workplaces tend to be healthier, happier, and more productive. Authentic workplaces encourage all employees to exercise discretion, express disagreement, have a voice, demonstrate what is important to them, and “be real” (Goffee and Jones, 2015b). Of course, every role in a university has aspects requiring conformity in order to effectively serve its constituents and remain in compliance with regulatory authorities. However, beyond the nonnegotiable laws and accreditation requirements, there are often gender-biased pressures to conform in ways that are not essential to the work which must be accomplished (e.g., Billing, 2011; Cahusac, & Kanji, 2014). From communication styles and decision-making to choices about grooming and appearance, women often find themselves succumbing to “unnecessary” conformity in order to survive in the workplace. As conformity can lead to decreased job satisfaction, undermine employee engagement, and reduce productivity (Goffee and Jones, 2015a), the current session is offered to share ways participants can contribute to making their work environments places where all are valued and appreciated for who they are. In addition, coping strategies fostering personal wellbeing and professional perseverance in the face of pressures to conform will be discussed (e.g., Auster & Prasad, 2016; Frankel, 2014).
Dr. Yolanda Harper is an Associate Professor in the College of Health, Human Services, and Science at Ashford University. She earned her PhD in psychology from University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville. She also received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in psychology from University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville, respectively. Dr. Harper joined Ashford University after hearing great reviews from friends and students. Once teaching, she discovered the unique benefit of being able to provide access to education to a diverse group of students who may not be able to fit into more traditional universities.