There were 3 rounds of lay offs at the office. Somehow all the men at the top were unaffected, however the one woman in that circle was shockingly cut. Shocking not only because she was great but also because she was such a fine leader. Within one team, a hardworking, well-liked, intelligent, team player who put in the extra hours and had a great attitude was laid off (she is a woman), but the lazy, bigoted, man who bullies young women in the office, is not productive, and constantly makes excuses for not showing up or doing work was protected. This man has said disgusting things about women and gay men, retaliated against women who stand up to him, raised his voice to women, physically gotten in people’s faces, etc. When someone asked the boss why he protected this bully, he said that he felt bad for this man. The boss did not feel bad for the many women who had to deal with the harassment nor the woman who lost her job although she had all the qualifications: the boss felt bad for the man who was committing the offences for over a year… partly because the bigot’s wife wanted a divorce. I wonder why. Bonus: if a woman had made a similar decision not based on skills but based on unrelated “sympathy”, she would be crucified for it and people would wonder whether she was hormonal or could keep her emotions in check.
After several years in a prominent position in a nonprofit, I applied for an executive level position. The skill required was very high, and I was the only person in the organization who had any education in the skill required and I knew I was desired for the position. I interviewed in front of a twelve person panel, and inevitably the topic of the deplorably low salary being offered came up. One of my male coworkers, attempting to persuade me to accept the low pay, said, “but think of what a position like this would do for your resume, as a woman!” I left the company but regrettably didn’t file a discrimination suit. I was basically asked to work for a fraction of what the role was worth, implying I needed to compensate for being female and maybe “improve my station” in the future in spite of it.
I fix computers for a bit of cash now and then. It can pay out sometimes, depending on the problem. The catch is, to get clients, I have to pretend I’m male. When I started the service, using my real credentials, nobody contacted me, so I have to use a male pseudonym. I use my boyfriend to go back and forth between people, and I’m known as ‘Liam’. It’s a fucking joke. The most amusing part is that the clients (mostly men) who come to me, often have problems that are incredibly straightforward to fix. When I try to assess a problem with people in real life, I often get condescended, talked over or ignored, but as ‘Liam’, I am taken seriously and respected. Makes you wonder.
Talking to husband about starting a family – I’ve always said I want to go back to work, I love my job and have worked hard for my career. So I wanted to talk about what types of childcare we would look at. Husband says there is no point in having a child if “we” aren’t going to look after it, and wouldn’t I prefer to stay at home. We do the same job but I am more senior and get paid more… so I suggest a third option he could take a career break instead – apparently I “don’t appreciate the magnitude” of what I’m asking!
So, while I was applying for University towards the end of school (UK), I completed my application and went to the teacher responsible for looking over University applications. I decided to apply for an initial teacher education course because I love early and development psychology as well as working with children. For the last two years, I had walked miles once a week to volunteer at a nearby special needs school, then walked miles back to be back in school by the end of break (I started the day on a double free period), I had been elected as a house captain and worked hard for my school community, also having a regular column in the school newsletter. I also worked very hard in my studies and was predicted excellent grades. The teacher read over my application, and said it was fine, and should get me accepted by my University. I left happy enough. A boy in my year, we’ll call him Kane, was applying for the same University at the same course, but because, he said it would be an ‘easy’ job. He was a regular truant, and when I saw him go to show the teacher his application, I asked what feedback he had and if I could have a look at his application. We exchanged and read one another’s. He had no extra curricular activities, poor attendance and no work experience. He said ‘Wow, yours is really good. The teacher said mine was great and that I would probably be head teacher in five years.’ He wasn’t joking.
I am a freelancer in TV. I had a male boss who liked to use his power to humiliate women (and sometimes gay men or straight men he found threatening) in large meetings. He’d make jokes about their appearance or life / family / background and encourage other frightened workers and freelancers to laugh at them. He’d put people or their ideas down (and then use the ideas later, uncredited) He’d also find fault with their work in order to undermine their confidence and humiliate them. Once he and his male sycophants started discussing at what age a woman ceases to be sexually attractive to men. I had not been engaging in this conversation but he looked directly and pointedly at me and said a particular age. He knew I was that particular age at the time. On another occasion, he asked me to read out a piece of work he’d asked for and given a brief for. He let me read it and then proceeded to tell the whole room how this was exactly the type of work he didn’t want to see and was hyper-critical without actually saying what was wrong with it. Privately my colleagues told me they felt the work was good and met the brief and they couldn’t understand why he’d reacted like that to it but couldn’t say that or challenge him for fear of becoming a target themselves. When I tried to move to another area of the company he told me he would block me from moving there and that even if he couldn’t stop me he was going to be promoted and move over to that area and would then be my boss again. He was very threatening. As a freelancer I coulldnt go to Human Resources. And the union I belong to was sympathetic but has no strategy for cases of individual bullying other than to go in to workplaces to ‘educate’ staff/bosses generally about working without conflict. As a freelancer you’re particularly vulnerable. The only way out is to leave. I was not the only person he did this to and he was never challenged by his bosses. It was a creative environment and it suffered as people were too scared to create and risk being mocked or bullied. His cruelty became the creative vision and the end product suffered but mostly it broke people, their spirit and stifled talent.
Aspiring middle-european medical student here, I am only at the 4th year of uni (it takes 6 years in my country), and I have been considering pathology or forensic medicine as my future profession, since these catched my attention the most, and I passed the exams with an excellent qualification (not to brag, but just like my most exams, I am really passionate about my medical career, and I think I have the brains to do it right). What were people’s reactions, when they asked me about which specialty will I choose in the future? “You’re too pretty to become a pathologist” -a surgeon ” How are you going to have kids? Maybe you’d be happier as a family doctor. It’s not all about the money”- a nurse from the cardiology ward “I don’t want my granddaughter to work with corpses and crime stuff, that’s just so horrible. You won’t be able to bear with all that emotionally. Why don’t you become a pediatrician? It’s so much nicer to work with kids.”- my gradmother (I really dislike kids, by the way, sorry gran.) “That skirt on you just makes me as stiff as this dead bloke here”- pathology technician trying to flirt (over a stiff body, of course) “Forensics?? That’s totally an all-male field, do’t expect much success there.”- a fellow male classmate “How will you tell your kids, when they ask what do you do for a living? Like ‘well, mommy cuts up dead people for money’!!?”- female classmate (Again I’m really not into having kids, but if I change my mind any time, I hope my kids will be smart enough to understand that a pathologist does a very complex diagnostic work with modern technology, and yeah, sometimes we cut up corpses. These are what come into my mind now, but I get similar reactions most of the time. I am really looking forward the day when I break out of this s***hole town, and become a succesful doctor, and they get stuck in their miserable little lives.
My boss, old enough to be my father tried it on with me- He’d comment in front of my male-strong team on my ‘weight loss’ and ‘how it made me beautiful and attractive’, he even said that I ‘had a good bum’. But he was old enough to be my dad, and I wasn’t interested. So his harassment turned nasty and personal- he obliterated my character within my young career and lost me a new position that was going to lead to a doctorate, all because he lied about ‘my character’. When I reported it to HR, they moved me from my team and put me in a lower paid position working unsociable hours- my former ‘team mates’ didn’t bother to stand up for me. After a Psychological referral, a suicide attempt and loss of over 5 stone due to lack of eating I attempted to take legal action- to no avail. Now i’m working a job paying minimum wage and have to start from scratch regarding my career. Turns out that a First Class Honours degree from one of the best unis is nothing in comparison to a sexism and vile male boss. He kept his job, sanity and dignity whilst he stripped me of mine for good fun.
Imagine your father telling you (a female) that a woman shouldn’t be president and they don’t need to be in positions of leadership. Imagine yourself smiling to yourself because you’re about to disable his argument by asking a single question. “So if I was in a position of leadership, Dad, you wouldn’t be proud of me?” Then imagine what it feels like when he actually tells you in all seriousness that no, he actually wouldn’t. Your father won’t be proud of you if you’re successful in your career, because you’re female. Imagine the disappointment. It happened to me.
Doing school work experience at a recording studio about the age of 13. I was helping a male roadie move a bass amp to another venue in the local area, he was asking me about why I choose the studio etc. He asked what kind of job I wanted one day. I said ‘I’m not sure something in the Music Industry.He then replies. ‘So you want to me a groupie”. I was so shocked I didn’t even know what to say. Would he have said that If I was a man . Definitely not.