On Conclusions First


Earlier last year I went to a “Women in Business” panel and had the opportunity to listen to a few women working in upper management at a big bank. The one piece of advice that stuck with me most was: “state your conclusions first.” I really wanted to share this because this has been wildly effective for me. Women/girls tend to make their points by giving a whole bunch of back story and evidence and then getting to the main point.

For example: Well, I noticed the other day that X. was seen in Y. And B. did not really have a big impact.  And I looked it up and it turns out Z. journal and T. paper found the same thing. That’s why I think we should consider doing X. rather than doing B.

And dudes, tend to make their points by giving the main point first and then giving the back story.

For example: We should do X before doing B. The reason I am saying this is because….[backstory/evidence].

I tested this out for 5 months, in class, with profs, with baristas, and with people I work with on regular basis. And for whatever reason, the dude way is more effective if you want your voice heard. Even with other gals. It works, especially well when you’re working with dudes. Try it out! (P.S. Leslie Knope does this all da time on Parks and Rec)

Divya : )

On Numbers


Supposedly women who make it to the top of their career ladders are also the skinniest.

The media’s claiming that women at the top are “the only social group to lose weight while every one else is getting fatter.” (See here.)

But what’s this statement really saying: Are skinny women in upper management because they’re skinny? Or are they skinny because they’re in upper management? Does any of this matter?

I would say given the general importance given to appearances (in media/society etc.) I would not be surprised if the numbers supported that women in upper management are also more likely to be conventionally good-looking. And men are not immune to this either.

The second question – “are they skinny because they’re in upper management?” poses a different and more critical angle. Essentially asking, is being skinny a sign of success for these accomplished women? The dailymailwrites “Modern women pride themselves on being able to juggle a career and a family while still looking good.” This all seems to turn back to the same old debate (see the very popular: why women still can’t have it all).

I am not here argue if they can or can’t (coles note version of my opinion: no one, men nor women, ‘can have it all,’ determine what your top three priority-lifewants are and work really hard to “have” those.)

In fact I really want to talk about the last question – Does any of this matter? Of course, the purpose of any good research with solid research methods and analysis is to inform in a non-bias manner and encourage discourse.  However, this discourse centers in on one part of the findings adds to the obsession about appearances and takes away from the true message of such research.


In fact I found this  article re-published/cited in multiple places (see here,herehere) – but still cannot find a link to the National Obesity Observatory research publication and the supporting data to justify this claim: “women who make it to the top of their career ladders are also the skinniest.” The analysis should compare not only men and women but the study should drill down the numbers and compare women in “high-status” jobs to men of similar ranks. Was the study longitudinal? Cross-sectional? I can make some better judgements about the findings knowing these details! But I can’t seem to find this study (if you can please send me the link!).

I guess I’ll believe the claim once I see the numbers.


What do you think? If women in high-rank jobs/careers are in fact skinnier – what does is this claim actually saying? Do you believe this is true?

Divya Pahwa writes about young-lady career advice in the weekly series Pursuit, on the  McGill Caps Blog.