Tag Archives: Workplace


Today a senior (male) colleague openly bitched about an email I sent him in our open plan office whilst I was sat there because, despite working with him and sitting opposite him for months, he still has no idea who I am. I’m annoyed about how embarrassed it made me feel.


Working in the same job role as two men, one of who had higher qualifications than me, and one who had lower. However they were both paid several thousand more than me, despite being on the same pay grade. We were also all recipients of a company car. However, when the time came for a new car, they were allowed a better model than I was. When I asked why, I was told it was based on your job role, even though I said I was on the same role as the men. I pointed this out to my boss, who was lovely and sorted it out for me. One of the male colleagues got promoted into a managerial role, which was fine as he was good at his job. However, I had to take up his slack as, and I quote from the head boss “he can’t manage people”. I got forced to train the new recruits, who were on the same pay as me, effectively doing the managerial role. I got moved off my case to help with his, loosing out on a chance to prove myself. I later found out, when I complained that I was doing his job for him, that he had had another payrise, even though the boss thought he wasn’t performing to the necessary standard, whilst I was still paid the same as the trainees.


My friend got me a job at a small restaurant so I was obviously very grateful. I couldn’t get a lift home after my late shift and the owner said he would give me a lift and because my friend had worked their so long and hadn’t warned me not to o felt salad walking into the situation. Whilst on a dark and unlit road he slowed the car down and asked me how much I wanted the job then proceed to look me up and down and told me I would need to wear more low cut tops, tighter skirts and more make up for the men there because I was there for them to look at. I replied I don’t want this job that much at all and he laughed assuming I was joking and dropped me off at my house safely. I felt mortified and ashamed of what I had just experienced and didn’t tell anyone. I went back to work the following day and he then spend the hole shift touching my bum holding my lower back and moving me by holding my hips. The man would also pull and my skirt and try to tuck my shirt in more so it was tighter. The other men who worked here were not aloud to talk to me either. I never went back after that weekend.


A fellow worker pinched my bum at work over thirty years ago. I turned around and slapped him – my fellow workers thought I had over reacted. Would that attitude still occur now?


Friday project meeting: two tasks for me – one specific to our work, one organizing lunch for team working over the weekend. Monday morning email: work specific task given to male colleague by boss with profuse thanks to him for taking on said task and I am left with organizing lunch. I make a comment and the response is “c’mon, don’t be like that.”


Just read a post here about men being “passionate”, but women being “hysterical”. I had a similar situation at work, which is in social services. Male manager was really invested in his work and was endlessly praised for his passion. He’d regularly go on rants about how he disagrees with current policy, has a better solution, etc. Many a meeting were hijacked by this. Then there is a female manager, equally invested in her work. Well, she is called a “bleeding heart” behind her back, and many co-workers assume this incredulous tone when in conversation with her, as if to say, don’t you have anything better to do? Needless to say, she quickly learned not to bring up topics she’s passionate about. I wonder, how many brilliant solutions to the social ills are lost because we don’t want to hear about them from a woman?


It’s less about the actual things I’ve experienced and more about the fears and anxieties that those memories cause me in the present. Wondering on a first date, will this man hurt me? On the third, being told I came off as “stand-offish.” Running a block home after dark in my safe family neighborhood, because I still fear someone is following me. Fearing my ex will one day reappear for revenge, long after the daily stalking and threats eventually stopped coming. Most of all, worrying that sharing these anxieties, let alone the stories that cause them, will hurt people that I love. I have been: -Choked by a date during the first and only time we had sex. Forever rattled when I’m with someone new. -Virtually stalked from several states away for a year after ending a six-month relationship. My parents traveled with me when I went on a work trip closer to where he lived, out of fear that he would show up and hurt me. -Hit on by one of my students during class, and put in the awkward position of having to explain why that is entirely inappropriate. -On more than one occasion, coerced into giving consent. -Punished by a stupid teenage boyfriend when I denied consent for fulfilling one of his ridiculous fantasies of having sex in an airplane bathroom. It struck me as gross, cramped, overly public, and dirty. He held a grudge for the rest of our relationship. -Grabbed in the street half a block from home by six to eight young men who took my purse and all sense of personal security. I was studying abroad, and my host mom’s first comment was “they could have raped you.” I am grateful (GRATEFUL!) that they didn’t. -Grabbed at countless parties. Sometimes a friend stuck up for me. Once I drunkenly and publicly called the guy out and later felt deep embarrassment for “causing a scene.” More often than not, I silently moved to the other end of the room. -Forced to undress in front of two neighborhood boys. One was my brother, two years older than me. They touched me. I was six or seven the first time it happened. When the adults found out, I was blamed along with the boys. Silenced, in fear I had done wrong, my brother’s behavior continued for the next several years. And still, when I think “has anything that bad or severe every happened to me?” I still hesitate, partly forgetting half the list, partly denying its impact on me, but mostly glossing over the severity of my experiences.


When I was in college, I worked at record store. Yay retail! Everyone always thought working in the music store in mall in the late 90’s must mean you’re a really cool person. Several of the store managers were female, one was male, I got along well with all of them. Cherri was always the most friendly to me. As time went on there Cherri started making more and more physical contact with me, a touch on the hand, a hand on my back while looking over my shoulder. She invited me out after work multiple times to go have drinks with her and some friends. I was just 21 at the time. I politely declined these invitations. Then, one evening some of my friends were planning to get together after the store closed so I agreed to go with them. The crossover of friendships led to Cherri being invited as well. I was a bit uncomfortable but tried to make the best of it and enjoy myself. Cherri bought me several drinks that I did not ask for. But I drank them because I didnt want to be rude. She was my boss after all. After the second drink I began to feel very drowsy and lethargic. Cherri immediately volunteered to take me home as I seemed to have “had too much to drink”. She put me in the passenger seat of her car and convinced me to give her my address and directions-no gps or smartphone waze at this point in time. Once at my apartment she took me inside and partially undressed me and put me in my bed. I thought that was the end of it and passed out. Not sure what time I awoke, but it happened because I was fully aware yet unable to move or do anything about it, Cherri had removed the rest of my clothes and was performing oral sex on me. She then straddled me and said “don’t worry I’m on the pill” and proceeded to have sex with me. Afterwards she left. I was off for a couple days but when I went in for my next shift Cherri behaved like nothing happened while continuing to be very forward and physical towards me. Which made me more uncomfortable than it ever had. I didn’t know what rohypnol was. I learned about it’s effects and how it worked a few months later. Embarassd, and believing 100 percent that it’s compelty impossible for a male to be raped I kept it to myself for fear of how it would be reacted to or being ridiculed etc. I quit my job without ever saying why and found a different job at a completely different location just to get away from the environment. I understand why women don’t report what happens to them. The feelings of shame and fear of ridicule are universal in my experience.


A few months ago, I got on the bus and took my seat. My seat was significantly reclined. I was in the process of settling myself into my chair when the man behind me pressed the button under my arm rest and moved my chair forward. This man did not even have the decency to ask me to recline my chair forward. He decided to pretend like I didn’t exist. I wonder if I was a man, would he disregard me like he did.

Sarah Richens

I encounter everyday sexism at my workplace and it is my duty to confront it but sometimes I struggle if I am faced with a crowd of young men doing it. I work in a local college and especially in the construction worker students but also sometimes the sports students, where ever there is a large group of male students together with no other female students around is when it is prevalent. Men may be respectful to your face but I witness first hand what they think when no ‘available’ female is around to judge them on their behaviour. They look at semi nude pictures of girls and trade them on their phones rating them is commonplace. It is obviously still seen as acceptable behaviour by young men because they don’t have strong male role models telling them that this is not okay. I’m a woman so my words will have limited impact, it is only through the example of male led discussion that these behaviours can be challenged and extinguished.