I work in the (very male dominated) construction industry. We have a potential new female client, and I’m doing our proposal. I was told by our board to remember i was writing for a woman, implication being that she would not understand technical detail. I asked about her background and she is a qualified construction professional. I am not sure how they think i, as a woman, understand what i write by that logic.
Last week I bought a small house and scheduled appointments for contractors to view and bid on small construction projects. A man viewing my bathroom’s leaky tile grout: 1) Arrived an hour late with no notice or explanation. 2) Asked, “So, is your husband handy?” 3) Insisted I need a new toilet because the present one has GERMS. I work outside the home as a professor, I previously worked as a professional carpenter, and I’m well educated in microbiology. Yet most workers assume I stay in the house around the clock, rely on my husband to fix things, and will believe any bullshit they say. Something about being a woman in Utah… Conveniently I hired a different worker to re-do the tile: he shows up on time, treats me like an adult, and doesn’t make up shit. Golden!
I work in the construction/engineering industry on a very major engineering project in London, in a fairly specialised role. Today I was having a conversation with two of my team engineers: one male, one female, with the male sitting in the middle of our line. I’m talking, and the female team member answered and I carried on speaking, when a man I had never seen before walked over with two other men in tow and cut straight across my conversation and said to XXXX, the male in the middle of our conversation, “Sorry XXXX, need to ask you something and thought I’d rescue you from a boring conversation” and smirked at me. Jaw-droppingly rude and rendered me speechless for a second. I stared at him for a couple of seconds and then replied with “Marvellous! Sexism in the workplace continues” – he went “Nonsense , it’s not that at all” and then carried on speaking to my engineer whilst completely ignoring me or apologising for is rudeness . I subsequently find out this person is the replacement Project Field Engineer on this particular site. Our future Interface Meetings are going to be fun!
I didn’t get a senior marketing role in a national construction company, because I’m female. The Director said that I interviewed very well but they felt that the Site Managers would pay more heed to a male in that role (brand management). This was 9 years ago and it still rankles – particularly as the comment came from a female Director.
Preventative advice welcome. I’m male and in my 50s and my business partner is female and in her 30s. We buy houses and refurbish them. Even when my partner employs contractors to work on the properties they still refer to me as ‘Gaffer’, ‘Your Boss’ etc when talking to her. I thought of suggesting she writes BOSS on her hard hat or something, but we’re partners, so not really appropriate. Suggestions welcome.
I was helping a friend move last weekend. My brother was there too. There was a wall with many nails that needed to be pulled, so I took a hammer and headed for the wall. My brother then stopped me and stated, “He should be the one to pull the nails since he could do it better.” I told him I had done it before–I was perfectly equipped to pull nails from a wall. He then told me he was stronger, it would be more efficient if he did it because, “he’s a guy.” I was shocked. There was no way. I then hooked the hammer on a nail, looked him in the eyes, and pulled it with one pull. He then made the excuse that “He is taller so it would have been easier if he had just done it.” Nothing about being a girl is easy, so why should I take the easy road now? Not only I can pull stupid nails, but I can do amazing things. He argued that by proving I could do it and pulling the nail in front of him I was being condescending. Who was being condescending again? Him. I am so fed up with humans underestimating other human beings. Why am I the bad guy of this story?