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By Leszek Kolakowski

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These invisible barriers also keep women out of certain jobs: in this case, from positions with direct responsibility for producing the company's major products and for generating the majority of the revenue. Such jobs, known as line positions, are the power centers of any business. The nonprofit research organization Catalyst, in a recent study called "On the Line: Women's Career Advancement," surveyed CEOs and human resources professionals from Fortune 1,000 companies. The results showed that women are steered away from line positions and encouraged instead to work in staff positionsjobs in human resources, public relations, training and other support areas considered "softer" and less critical.

They state their position, and then they restate it. They embroider it, they embellish it, they say it again and again. In the process, they lose all their negotiating power. Capable interviewers interpret this behavior as a lack of confidence. It's a dead clue that they've got the woman where they want her. " Women also tend to take a "me-oriented" strategy in negotiations. As we discussed earlier, this self-centered approach seldom carries much weight with employers. "Men tell you Page 34 what they're worth; women tell you what they need," says Darla Lane.

Being the intelligent, rational woman you are, you assess the situation and then figure out a way to either climb over or walk around that tree. That, in essence, is the same approach a smart woman takes on her career path. By no means should you give up and accept the cultural stereotypes and gender biases that block your progress. Nor should you expect that if you wait patiently enough, some heroic employer will come to your rescue, delivering the job or raise you deserve. It simply won't happen.

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