Executive Sexism: How Men Treat Women at the Highest Levels, Why Law Does not Protect them, and What Should Change (ABL-CLIO 2019)

Sexism is a socialized set of beliefs and behaviors, a gray area that is absolutely experienced and yet so far has been hard to quantify. This book describes the stealthy expressions of sexism and how naturally and easily these beliefs and behaviors meld together into our professional interactions, our social activities, and our personal relationships. We want women to attain higher positions of authority, so it is time to talk realistically about what those spaces look like. Socialized behavior doesn't change when you get higher, it just conceals itself better. Now we break the silence and get real about this subject.

Seventeen executive women from nine different countries relate their experiences in this qualitative research study. The findings presented here, mostly in narrative form, contextualize the elusive ways that sexism creeps into subtle interactions and can derail your career or cause immense financial loss. Getting into high positions is one thing. Staying there is another. 

By understanding our own experience in a larger context,

  • Women can plan and prepare more effectively to respond when these common occurrences happens

  • Younger women can learn what sexism looks like so they don't feel like they did something to call it upon themselves

  • We as women can proactively assemble and implement real solutions


This work is written from the standpoint that character does matter. So different to what you see in media, this is not about clever memes, call-outs, or being enraged. Our work is about keeping a clear head, staring unflinchingly at our character and conduct, and reorganizing what passes for normal. 

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Part I: Facing Gradual and  Sudden Sexism



 1. It's Not Just You

 2: Systematizing Structures and Culture

 3: Verbal and Nonverbal Messages

 4: Sexualization

 5: Why Women Remain Silent

 6: The Role of Pornography

Part II: Why Bystanders Don’t Speak Up


 7. Cultural Gaslighting: The Double Standard

 8: Not a Sexist, He Says

 9: How Women Try to Control Sexism

10: It’s Not About a Particular Woman

11: Why Some Women are Pitted Against Others

12: The Double Bind of Advancement

Part III: Intervention Strategies to Activate Bystanders


13: Speaking Up

14: Naming the Behavior

15: Addressing the Behavior

16: Destabilizing Sexist Environments

How Donors Understand Content, Process, Relational, and Identity Conflict in International Funding: Gauging Levels of Awareness

This qualitative study examines international funding practices from the personal perspectives of private donors who have contributed at least $1m to international development projects. It discusses how hidden conflict impedes efficient grant making, stifles sustainability, and prescribes specific conflict resolution measures to implemented throughout the funding process in order to achieve practical, measurable, and sustainable results. Noteworthy in the findings is the prominent role of personal identity: What the donor wants to give recipients is the most prominent influence in funding decisions.

In academic speak: 

Donor preference is a significant component that can either promote or inhibit sustainable development results, yet the involvement of private donors in international development work has not yet been examined in academic literature. Models for integrative negotiation in funding processes have been proposed, but without having the voice of donors present in literature, all previous negotiation models are incomplete because a major party to the negotiation is absent from the model. Conflict analysis and resolution is a new approach that will bring clarity to the role of private donors in international development work and generate integrative solutions for donors to employ in their work should they choose.


This phenomenographic study analyzed the content, process, identity, and relational aspects of conflict in private international development projects through the viewpoint of individual donors. The research findings demonstrated that

(1) Content: a donor's understanding of the problem affects the mode and longevity of funding;

(2) Process: communication processes during a grant cycle are assumed rather than created;

(3) Relational: failure to address the inherently asymmetrical relationship between donors and grantees can generate irrational expectations on the part of donors; and finally,

(4) Identity: the identity of a donor influences what types of grants that donor will make.


Student Workbooks: Special Operations Forces (SOF) Engagement in Human Domain in Unconventional & Irregular Warfare 

This curriculum is used by Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs officers training in Unconventional and Irregular Warfare at John F. Kennedy Special Warfare and School, Special Warfare Education Group. 


Course texts were developed to enhance mission goals for US military Special Operations Forces by explaining the Human Domain of warfare, which is the psychological and material realities of civilian populations residing in conflict zones.  

Dr. Nicholson was a contributor to this work as a Senior Social Scientist for Valka-Mir Human Security, LLC.


Positive Sustainable Change: The Wave Makers

Invictus Magazine, April 2016

Shipyards and company owners of the yachting industry address oceanic conservation, education, and public policy through a sustainability lens, and - in their view -  the need to move beyond philanthropy and toward accountability.

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A Psycho-Emotional Human Security Analytical Framework: Origin & Epidemiology of Violent Extremism & Radicalization 

Centre for 5th Generation Warfare Studies, Sept 2016

From the academic perspective of conflict analysis and resolution, this article explains how ordinary people can be weaponized through the psychological process individuals experience they undergo during targeting, recruitment, and radicalization.