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  • Hello.

  • This is 6 Minute

  • English from BBC Learning

  • English.

  • I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Sam.

  • Sam, does this situation

  • sound familiar?

  • It's a

  • colleague's birthday next

  • week.

  • A male boss says to

  • a female employee - "You're

  • great at organising things -

  • would you buy a card and get

  • everyone in the office to

  • sign it?

  • Oh, and we'll need

  • to order a cake too -

  • thanks, you're amazing!"

  • Yes, I have seen that.

  • A male boss asks a woman

  • to do all the jobs that

  • keep the office running

  • but do nothing to

  • advance her career or

  • improve her chances of

  • promotion - that's when

  • someone moves up into

  • a higher, better paid

  • position in a company.

  • Sadly, this happens

  • a lot.

  • In many workplaces

  • around the world, it's

  • the men who are

  • considered 'born leaders'

  • and promoted up the

  • corporate career ladder,

  • while the women are

  • given less important

  • roles.

  • Even today, many

  • working women find

  • themselves at a point

  • in their career beyond

  • which they cannot progress,

  • an invisible barrier to

  • succeed referred to as

  • the glass ceiling.

  • But in this programme,

  • we'll be meeting the

  • members of The No Club,

  • a group of women saying

  • 'No' to the glass ceiling

  • by publicly questioning

  • the kinds of jobs men

  • and women are asked to

  • do in the workplace.

  • And, of course, we'll

  • be learning some useful

  • new vocabulary as well.

  • But first, I have a

  • question for you, Sam.

  • Despite the glass ceiling,

  • women do make it to the

  • top jobs in many areas

  • of work and business,

  • even in the male-dominated

  • world of politics.

  • So,

  • who was the first woman

  • to become British Prime

  • Minister?

  • Was it

  • a) Theresa May,

  • b) Nicola Sturgeon or

  • c) Margaret Thatcher?

  • I know the answer to this

  • one, Neil.

  • It's

  • c) Margaret Thatcher.

  • OK.

  • Well, we'll find out

  • later if you're right.

  • Professor Lise Vesterlund

  • is one of the four

  • academics who co-wrote

  • The No Club, a book

  • discussing how females

  • disproportionately take

  • on the unimportant,

  • less visible

  • tasks at work.

  • Professor Vesterlund

  • calls these non-promotable

  • tasks, jobs like taking

  • notes, organising social

  • events or chairing meetings -

  • jobs that take time and

  • effort but do little to

  • increase company profits

  • or to boost your career.

  • Research shows that most

  • of these tasks are done

  • by women.

  • Here's

  • Lise Vesterlund explaining

  • more to BBC World Service

  • programme, Business Daily.

  • We've been noticing gender

  • differences in wages,

  • in advancement,

  • in negotiation.

  • Burn-out

  • for women is much greater

  • than it is for men.

  • Their

  • dissatisfaction with their

  • work is much greater.

  • And we've been trying to

  • sort of address all these

  • objectives with lots of

  • different methods and

  • techniques, and what is

  • interesting about the

  • non-promotable work is

  • that it, in a very

  • structural sense,

  • contributes to all of

  • those differences.

  • Professor Vesterlund lists

  • some workplace gender

  • imbalances, including job

  • dissatisfaction and

  • burn-out - that's tiredness

  • and exhaustion caused

  • by working too hard.

  • Many of these issues

  • are made worse by

  • non-promotable tasks.

  • Natalie Quail agrees.

  • Natalie started her

  • successful dental cosmetics

  • company, SmileTime, after

  • winning a business

  • competition on the

  • TV show, Dragon's Den.

  • Here she tells BBC World

  • Service's Business Daily

  • about her experience of

  • being asked to take on

  • non-promotable tasks

  • in her work as a

  • trainee solicitor.

  • As a trainee solicitor

  • pretty much every task

  • that you take on is

  • a non-promotable task.

  • Note-taking is one of

  • them, in meetings, when

  • you kind of are told

  • that you can't really

  • speak or say anything.

  • I was tasked with being

  • the team party organiser,

  • so that was my role.

  • It does definitely

  • occur that the women

  • in the team, the level

  • of multitasking they're

  • doing is just... far outstrips

  • the men in a lot of

  • cases, for example,

  • you know, a lot of

  • women in the team

  • would also be juggling

  • having kids at home,

  • being a working mum.

  • Natalie found herself

  • doing non-promotable

  • tasks.

  • She thinks many

  • women in the workplace

  • are expected to be

  • good