Let's Talk About Sex(ism), Baby
This Thoughtful Thursday, we're going to talk about something no one likes to talk about: sexism. Less than 100 years after the Nineteenth Amendment, women in America today are voting, attending university and holding jobs alongside men (in heels). However, women are still facing serious challenges like pay inequality, sexual harassment and discrimination at opportunities for advancement. Women make up sixty percent of minimum wage workers, but just 6.2 percent of the top earning positions in 2010 belonged to females. Women only make up slightly more than 10 percent of big company chief financial officers. Even more alarming, more than one-third of public companies had zero women senior officers, according to a survey from Catalyst, an organization aimed at expanding business opportunities for women. Women have been granted access (to live and support a thoroughly human and American lifestyle) but it seems as though the invitation stopped there. It's up to powerful ladies to follow in the footsteps of feminist trailblazers and pave roads of equality for our daughters and the generations of daughters to come.
Woman and writer, Homa Mojtabai takes a darkly humorous look at why women fail to climb the corporate ladder at the same rate as their male counterparts in her article titled, "Reasons You Were Not Promoted That Are Unrelated to Gender", published in McSweeney's Internet Tendency:
You don’t smile enough. People don’t like you.
You smile too much. People don’t take you seriously.
You’re abrasive, for example that time when you asked for a raise. It was awkward and you made the men on the senior leadership team uncomfortable.
You don’t speak up. We’d really like to see you take on more of a leadership role before we pay you for being a leader.
You’re sloppy. Like when you sent that email with a typo. You need to proofread your work.
You’re too focused on details. Leaders need to take the 50,000-foot fighter pilot view. No, I never served in the armed forces, what’s your point?
You’re not seasoned. Oh, wait, you’re 35? Well, you look young. Maybe if you were more mature, like if you were married or had kids (why don’t you have kids, by the way? We’re all a little curious) then we could envision you as being a leader in this organization.
Oh, you do have kids? Well, we’re concerned about your ability to balance everything and you look really tired all the time and I feel guilty asking you to stay late so I just ask good old Tom who’s a great guy and simple and easy to talk to.
You’re argumentative. For example, right now you’re upset that you didn’t get a promotion and you’re asking for concrete examples of what you can do better. I really don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty and you should trust my judgment anyways.
You’re a pushover. When Tom came up and gave you that totally platonic hug in the shareholders meeting you should have just told him to not touch you instead of telling me you thought it was inappropriate. Leaders handle their own problems.
You’re not a team player. If you’d just wait a few years, there will be some great opportunities here for you, we need you in this role right now.
You aren’t good at promoting yourself. I mean, toot your own horn a little!
I’m not sexist and this organization is not sexist and I have to say you’re developing a little bit of a reputation as a troublemaker. Five years ago we promoted a woman who happens to be black –- I mean, African-American… or maybe just African, I can’t remember –- and that proves that we are tolerant and committed to diversity.
BY HOMA MOJTABAI
As a woman in the workplace, you must be diligent and strong with an open mind and respect for yourself and other people. As a man in the workplace, you must be diligent and strong with an open mind and respect for yourself and other people. With the growth of the millennial generation, a group of people raised with less gender disparity than generations before, we predict that the future will hold more opportunity for women as our sons are raised to view women as their equals. This is a goal that must genders must work towards. Don't tip-toe around gender inequality. Let's face it and fix it.