The Clooney Foundation for Justice announced this week that it's formed partnerships with Google, HP and UNICEF to provide education for over 3,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. This is, of course, great news — but the way it was announced was a bit problematic. Why? It appears some media members may have forgotten that the organization was co-founded and is co-run by George and Amal Clooney — not just George.
We all know George Clooney as a globally recognized actor and humanitarian, but Amal Clooney is so much more than just “his wife.” Unfortunately, the media already has a track record of ignoring her achievements as a high-powered human rights lawyer, and recent headlines in relation to the refugee schools follow suit by misattributing work done by her and her husband to just her husband. When Amal Clooney is mentioned in the media, it’s most often to highlight her fashion choices or, again, in reference to her husband.
In a time where female breadwinners are on the rise and millennial women are prioritizing their career goals over marriage, it's frustrating that media can still seem reluctant to give Amal Clooney her full due. To be fair, a lot of this week's coverage does eventually mention Amal's role in co-founding the foundation, but only after opening the story with a headline and lede that refers to the organization as George's (like this article by The New York Post's Page Six).
What’s worse is that this isn’t an isolated incident; frequently, women don’t get the credit they deserve at work. The next time you, like Amal Clooney, are in a situation where you're not getting recognized for your achievements, here’s what you can do:
1. Take responsibility — for the good and bad.
Bad managers take credit for good work and push the negative focus to their employees. In order to be taken seriously when you talk about your achievements, you need to take responsibility for all of your work. Not just the successes, but the failures too. Establishing yourself as somebody who is self-aware and unafraid to own up to their actions (no matter the result) will further your professional reputation. Aside from getting the credit you deserve, you’ll be a person that people want to work with.
2. Talk about facts, not opinions.
There’s a lot of language that should be avoided at work because it can hurt our performance. Add “I think” to that list in order to get the credit you deserve. When your boss asks you about a project’s recent performance, talking about how you think the project went versus how it actually went can make a big difference.
The next time you’re tempted to say “I think the project went well,” say “we beat our expectations by X, due to the success of Y.” The latter statement is based solely on facts and shows what a great manager you are (without you having to state it directly).
3. Advocate for other women.
An easy way to start speaking up about the credit you’re not getting? Practice — by promoting the other women on your team. The next opportunity you have, recognize your co-worker’s accomplishment in a team meeting. Doing so on a regular basis will make you more comfortable praising others. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to confidently promote yourself with your boss!
With the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s announcement this week, Amal and George Clooney made a significant investment in young people across the world. It’s time for the world to start investing in the future of working women, too.