Tag Archives: Workplace

Bryony

Was given a form to fill out by my team leader when he said, “you need a pen don’t you – oh wait no. You’re a woman, you should always have a pen on you”. I gave a sarcastic laugh but realised that he was deadly serious when he walked away and did not return.

Sexism in a lift

I’m pregnant and while in a lift at work, a man I don’t know asked me a few questions about my pregnancy. The final question was if I knew whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I replied that it was a boy, and he said ‘I bet Dad’s pleased!’ just as we reached my floor. I then got out the lift feeling annoyed at myself as I hadn’t challenged him but instead said something like ‘well everyone’s pleased whatever…’ This man had not only just made a sexist comment to me, but also assumed that the father of my child would also share his view that a baby boy is a greater cause for happiness than a baby girl. I can’t believe people have such deeply rooted sexist beliefs that they would offer them up to strangers in lifts as if it’s just nice small talk. Makes me sad about the world my baby is being born into and keen to raise a child with different values.

M

I have organised a workplace dinner for all of us to bond and have fun outside the office. During one of the conversations, my senior colleague that was one of three people that interviewed me, said that the only reason I got hired was “because I am a token woman”. It was obvious that it was not a workplace policy or a directive (which was confirmed by HR), but it was definitely unpleasant. I have called him out and I said that I would appreciate his apology. Until today I did not get one. It is a small thing, but it can grow in your mind, it can plant a seed of self-doubt and a thought that you might not be as skilled as you think you are.

that woman

Police officers and prison guards have just been awarded a pay rise in excess of the 1% cap that has been in place for some time. Other public sector workers, including nurses and teachers, will have to wait a while longer. Police officers and prison guards are traditionally seen as male. Nurses and teachers are traditionally seen as female. Coincidence?

Charlotte

Greg Doran, Artistic Director of the RSC stating that he actively does not aspire to have 50:50 gender equality in his publicly funded organisation.

Anne

I’ve been working in corporate American for 20 years. I started strong with confidence, sass, a great upbringing and optimism. The first time I spoke out was when in my first job’s interview and a question was literally, ‘have you ever been in a beauty pageant,” I made a joke that now that he said that, he’d better hire me because you can’t ask those kinds of questions. Only a year later that same boss asked if I was planning to be a “typical” female, get married and have kids. Again I told him: not okay. My first report to HR was when I came across the cubicle of 50-something year old man who had pinned up wall-to-wall provocative photos of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mentioned it to HR. The comment: “Are you offended?” My response, “Not really. But That’s not the point. It’s offensive and objectification of women in the work place. We should all be offended.” Understanding the consequence of my “report,” I let it go. Some time later I got a “keep on walking, the view is great here.” And at some point a comment about “what else do I have in leather besides the jacket I was wearing.” Each time I approached a supervisor and each time I was coached to let it roll. I was overreacting and misinterpreting humor. So I learned to adapt. I got a tougher skin. Years later, I could hold my own and laugh at the jokes. It seemed to keep me out of the clear and out of being offended. One of the guys — which saying it out loud makes me cringe — but that’s how you keep a job, get along, eliminate being marginalized or looked over by your male counterparts. As I got older, and the men grew older with me and tired of their lives, I found them becoming bolder with their comments and attitudes. The straw that killed the camel dead in the desert was when a male colleague texted me to watch something funny being said on live YouTube. Another collegue of ours said something to the effect of, “I have a deep love for Dick” meaning the name, not the inappropriate term. Somehow I was turned into HR and my male counterpart was not. Even though he had brought it to my attention. Then more, and more. I brought to the attention of HR the double standard. But it was clear that my female HR director was more concerned about pleasing her male bosses than seeing the flaw in the process. I was dismissed a few months later, and there had never been a case. Many of the “reports” of my behavior were from women or wives who had decided I was provoking this behavior in the men not paying them the same attention. At this stage, I’ve grown tired of defending the cause. I feel like I lose at every turn. You speak out, you adapt, you because the accused. You speak out, you are shamed, isolated, questioned, retaliated against — even when every company policy swears they will protect you. I’ve been told it’s because I’m funny, I make eye contact. I “invite” the flirtation. And even when the harassment is blatantly on company property with ample proof, the men ( and women who take the opportunity to find favor in their eyes now that YOU are the focus of enmity ) they take care of their own, and they are not in this cause. They want a better future for their daughters, but don’t bat an eyelash at calling their girlfriends “crazy.” I have made every effort to be part of the solution and frankly, I’m exhausted. It backfires every time. There’s a point when you stop making eye contact, avoid making waves, you tread water to provide for your family and keep a job because outside of the workplace you’re being stalked, shamed and verbally abused by men who are or used to be someone who “loved you.” This project is important. I feel beaten, completely failed. I make less money today than I did 20 years ago with continuous, good work. My male counterparts are vice presidents. And those decisions are never made based on quality of work or effort. They are made with the boys club, that you try to get in, but can’t and if you do, they try to sleep with you and when you don’t you’re out of the club and out of a job. And all along HR is there to protect them and the company name. My only hope is that someone will read this and be just inspired enough to succeed where I have not.

Leo

I have recently found out information about my workplace I am soon to be resigning from. I am a worker at a petrol station, where we are required to contribute to the general upkeep of the establishment, as well as bring in deliveries to re-stock the store. When I first started, I was surprised to find that all of the colleagues in the same position as me were boys. The establishment employed woman, but only employed them to work the tills and complete small bouts of restocking. After asking one of my acquaintances why she did not get the position that I had applied for, she told me that they rejected her purely on the basis that she was a girl, this was odd, considering the management of the establishment is a woman. I am a strong believer in equality of sex and gender, and I believe that woman can do an equally good job as I currently do, and I find it abhorrent that woman are rejected from applying to the part time position I am in, purely because they are not a ‘boy.’ I have complained about this issue in my resignation letter, but this issue has left me with lots of pent up anger about the sexist world we live in. What else should I do to tackle this issue? Small instances Happen like this everyday, and it is horrible to think that we live in a society where ‘low-key’ sexism is swept under the carpet. It is so evident in every place that we live, but general patriarchal society simply ignores it, dismissing it as ‘banter’ or some other idiotic term. So I thank Laura for setting up this site, and I hope in The near future we can rid the world of everyday sexism for good!

P

There are 15 people in my work group and 2 of those are women (myself and another). Some of the guys were talking about the new Apple watch yesterday, and one of them remarked that there are new features, but it’s still the same size as the old one. Another guy corrected him that it’s actually 2 sheets of paper thicker (so essentially the same). Then another guy commented that yes, essentially the same except to women who will notice the difference due to their dainty wrists. I think it speaks volumes about this man’s sexism that a conversation about technology can still be turned around to make a comment about the “delicateness” of women. I’m most insulted that the first thing he thought when hearing that was to make a derogatory comment about women.