A funny thing happened when women began to enter the labor force in droves from the 1970s onward. Defying all the predictions of (male) labor scholars, women were good at their jobs. A decade or so later, and it was obvious that women were at least keeping pace with men in terms of quality of their work and their contributions to business.

“Well, harrumph, of course we expected that,” lied all the (male) labor scholars at the time.

Casamo_shutterstock_133714319_AlertBusinessWomanToday, the pendulum has swung to the opposite end of the arc. Women make up almost half—47 percent—of the U.S. labor force, reports the Labor Department, and they have a lower unemployment rate and superior labor force growth rate than men. Forbes magazine—hardly a pillar of liberalism—has decreed that “women are better leaders” than men in the workplace. Academic studies—in particular recent studies from the leadership consultancy Zenger Folkman—confirm that women-owned and women-run businesses are seen as superior on almost every scale.

But let’s move on to specific cases. If you’re an attorney in northern Virginia looking to hire a court reporting firm for deposition work. Should you automatically prefer a woman-owned business such as Casamo and Associates?

The Perils of Essentialism

It may seem to be against our best interests, but we say no, you shouldn’t choose a deposition recorder based solely on gender.

Any time you make a decision based on a single trait, you’re secretly giving in to essentialism, the belief that people can be summed up by one key characteristic. Even when you believe you’re making that analysis in a benevolent way, you’re surrendering to bias and preconceptions. We’ve all seen how that works when race is made the key criterion, but gender works in a similar way to set up subtle biases. “Even though some attitudes around gender roles are fading, the vestiges remain strong enough to affect perceptions and behavior,” writes Mary-Frances Winters. “Men are ‘supposed’ to be strong and assertive, whereas women ‘should’ be softer and gentler.”

Every person and every business offers more complexity than can be summarized by a single quality. Equally important, even though studies may show that one characteristic—say, for instance—being female—is associated with strong business leadership, it’s not true that every woman-led business is superior. To figure out the best court reporting firm for your needs, you will need to look past gender issues and look at the actual business culture.

Why the Business Culture at Casamo and Associates Merits Your Attention

So, what distinguishes Casamo and Associates from other court reporting and videoconferencing services in the greater Washington, DC, area? We’d like to believe it boils down to two key factors:

  • A culture of cooperation and collegiality. We don’t keep score here. Our associates aren’t in some dog-eat-dog competition for advancement or for gold stars on their weekly reports. Everyone works together to a common end.
  • A focus on the client’s need rather than rigid, arbitrary rules. A lot of businesses set up self-imposed procedures, and soon enough following the rules becomes the most important duty in the institution—far more important than serving the needs of clients. That’s never been our style, and never will be.

A woman-owned business may have a comparative advantage over its competitors, but that’s not exclusively due to its leadership—nor should it be. Instead, the owner’s gender may be one factor among many that makes a particular deposition firm the best fit for your needs. If you want more information about how we can accommodate those needs, fill in the contact form here.

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