I graduated at the end of last year and I now work as a contract manager for a smaller contracting business. Earlier in the week a group of three other managers (all men) and myself traveled a reasonable distance to talk to the client about an upcoming contract we are tendering for.
Our meeting with the client went all day and I was the only woman in the room and easily the youngest, which I expected. The meeting went really well, and my company got a lot of good information out of it. At the end of day, one of the older men representing client shook hands with everybody round the table except me. He started on his left and continued around the table, blatantly skipping me. Looking back, I realise that he didn’t speak to me once throughout the day.
A handshake is such a little thing, but I’ve always seen it as a sign of respect. The only thing that really annoys me about this though, is that I didn’t do anything about it at the time.
Internalized Misogyny Much?
I’m an undergrad engineering major at a tech school. One of the courses we have to take is a design class that mimics a workplace environment. There are two professors – one for engineering and one for professionalism.
For one project we were paired up, and the only group of two female students was the first to do their final presentation for their product. (We were supposed to show up in workplace-appropriate clothing.) They did really well but then it came time for feedback the engineering prof told them that their clothes were inappropriate – that skirts weren’t workplace attire and that wearing their hair down was a no-no. She (she!) told them to wear pants next time, and not wear fancy shirts. She didn’t give them any other feedback about their presentation or project.
I talked to the girls afterwards and they were furious. She ended up taking 7% off their presentation grade and specifically noted that it was because they weren’t dressed “professionally”. (Never mind that it was the other prof who was supposed to decide that, not her. And I’ll note that he (yes, he) had specifically said earlier that skirts were fine, and didn’t have a problem with their attire.)
Nine months later and I’m still kind of stunned that that happened.
“Wow you’re the hottest computer science major I’ve ever met!”
As Head of IT at an art museum, I deal with consultants and vendors on a regular basis. Many times I am told, “you check with your tech guy and get back to me.” I have to say I take great pleasure in looking them in the eye and saying “I am the tech guy,” and promptly look elsewhere for another vendor.
where to begin? How about that I have had several male colleagues wink at me whenever they saw me, apropos of nothing? I had one male grad student who sat next to me turn his head to watch me get up or sit down every single time I moved from my chair. He had the absolute creepiest stare that he would use on every young woman in the lab. A male postdoc once asked me if I changed my hairstyle because my boyfriend asked me to do so. My former coworker asked me about my sexual and dating history within two weeks of working in the lab — it was a very open environment in the lab, but still, he was my direct superviser. Another postdoc only complimented my outfits when I wore a dress, and he complimented me EVERY time I wore a dress. Another grad student aggressively hit on every single female in the lab within 2-3 months of starting — what a first impression, eh? Women are consistently the ones asked to do the “housekeeping” activities, while men do little or nothing. I have been stopped by a technician from a *different lab* (with whom I barely interacted) who angrily asked me why I didn’t say hi to him in the hallway, never mind that I had never had a conversation with him and HE had never said hi to me either. But women need to be the friendly ones, amirite? I have seen prominent men in the field refer to women as “the fairer sex”. The list goes on.
I have also worked with many men who “get it”, but there are still an ALARMING number of men who don’t. Keep fighting the good fight, ladies and gentlemen!
My first job out of college was working as a tech on an internet support line for a large company. Periodically, I would pick up a line only to hear heavy breathing, moaning, and/or obscenities. You’d think that would have been the worst part of my job, but really “worst” is a tie between the guys would would ask me to describe what I looked like (at least once a week) and the people who would ask to talk to a guy because “this problem is too difficult for a girl” (about every other day). I always obliged the transfers, but the joke was on them: I was the support lead.
I work in Engineering, one of the junior older men on a site I was supervising took issue with the fact that I was senior to him and the fact that I objected to be being called young lady (I was 30). On a number of occasions he expressed himself by: throwing things at me, shouted abuse at me in front of senior staff, refused to speak to me on a daily basis and at the end of the project submitted a complaint about me to our head office. In this complaint he alleged I was sleeping with other male staff to “get them on my side”, was abusive towards him and other outright lies. He admitted to two senior staff that his complaint was an effort to have me fired and my career ruined as I needed to be taken down a peg or two. Although the complaint was dismissed, I was told that it was partially my own fault for not finding a way of compromising and making an effort to “get along with him”. I pointed out the fact that he was sexist and incompetent and why should I put up with that sort of behaviour in the workplace. I was told to work on my communication skills.
A few years back, I was a consultant in the insurance/tech sector in London. I was asked to co-present with a senior head of innovation from an insurance company at a financial innovation conference. We worked together on the presentation and agreed a final deck and narrative.
On the day, he told me he’d added a few slides so we’d use his version of the deck. No problem.
He opened with a photograph of a model in a swimsuit. His opening line – “no presentation is complete without a picture of a women in a bikini”. The room – 90% men- laughed with approval. I was left standing next to him uncertain as to how to respond and knowing whatever I did in that moment, I would be cast as the no-fun/stuckup woman who couldn’t take a joke.
I did nothing. I gave away my power and kept quiet.
I’m only a student right now, but had a guest lecturer (in front of nearly 400 students many of which female) in one hour say that women talk to much, and that “women used to cook for the family, not like some women today that go into *snicker* politics” this was said right before the election in my country with i prominent female candidate for prim-minister.
this was in a introductory genetics course.
I’m the only woman on an otherwise male IT team. During my review I told my boss I felt the difference sometimes. He replied, “I probably shouldn’t say this, but yeah, it’s really not the same having a girl* on the team. It’s just not as much fun because we can’t talk** the way we used to when it was just us guys.”
* I’m 42
** I curse like a sailor, and tell dirty stories with abandon. Another programmer is an evangelical Christian who prays before every team luncheon. So What The Fuck can they say in front of him that they can’t say in front of me ?!?!?
I’m already listening to his rants about how in marriage the man should lead and the woman’s role is to follow so it ain’t gender sensitivity stuff they are holding back on.