Between degrading uniform policies, the joke known as the pay gap, and a shocking lack of female management in all areas, it’s pretty clear that sexism still has its own desk at the office.
I’ve been told many times that I do a man’s job, and when I’m not tapping away at my keyboard I’m a chef in an industrial restaurant. Still, while so many people tell me a woman’s place is in the kitchen, nobody expects a woman to be running one! Despite being in full chef gear, I’m constantly asked if the chef is there, and could I go and fetch him.
Him? There is no him here, just me. Sorry about that.
I get fingers snapped at me and am told I need to smile a bit more. I’ve never seen anybody tell a male chef to smile. I’m told a young girl like me shouldn’t be left alone with dangerous things like knives and ovens.
You might say “Oh that’s not bad at all! It’s not like you’re getting abuse hurled at you everyday!”And I’m glad I’m not, but I think I have the right to be taken seriously in my own career, regardless of what’s underneath my uniform.
I’ve learned to deal with it, and learned how to gain the respect of the people around me as a professional, not as a girl. Here are a few tips from my fellow ladies on how to make your mark in a man’s world.
“When men say they can do something, it’s taken for gospel. But when a woman says something, she has to prove it a hundred times over. I gained respect by proving myself, and leaving no doubt that I could do my job” – Jemma, Catering Manager
“I get so many sexual remarks made at me, I’ve learned the best way to deal with them is to completely ignore them. Don’t walk off in a huff, just stare at them while they laugh and they’ll get so uncomfortable that you’re not laughing too. Eventually, they learn you are not a joke, and not to treat you like one.” – Ellie, Warehouse Supervisor
“One of the single most important things I’ve learned if you work in a male-dominated environment is for the love of god, don’t sleep with them. So many people will try and tell you that you’re only where you are in life because you slept your way to the top. Don’t give them the ammunition.” – Chloe, Head Chef
“When you work in a job that’s meant to be for men only, you get a lot of customers and clients question if you’re good enough. And any time I’ve been questioned, or sometimes even asked if i can send a man along, I’ve simply reeled off a list of my accomplishments and stood my ground. I’ve got a track record of good service and I will make sure it continues. It took me a while to get the confidence to do it, but when I stopped acting like a shy little girl they stopped treated me like one!” – Melissa, Electrician
“Every single time somebody makes a joke about ‘Women drivers’ I half-jokingly tell them they don’t have to get in the car with me. I hear the exact same line at least twenty times a day, but if you refuse to entertain them they just get bored with the joke and stop it. It stopped being funny the first hundred times.” – Louise, Taxi Driver
“I work with all men, and I was honestly sick to death of the constant sexual jokes which I was always the butt off. I didn’t know what to do about all the comments, so in the end I reported it to my manager and now there’s been a whole office meeting about sexual harassment and the consequences if anybody is caught harassing anybody at work. I didn’t want to resort to doing that, but if they won’t listen to me, I’ll take it higher up. It’s my job, too, and I will never be made to feel uncomfortable there. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel some people are taking jokes too far.” – Loretta, Transport Clerk
When it comes to sexism, we’re in a much better position than we were even ten years ago, but we’ve still got a long way to go. And by talking to all these ladies, it seems the best way to stop people thinking a girl can’t do a man’s job is by getting out there and proving them wrong!
In the end, it may still be a man’s world out there but who runs the world?
Girls! (Thanks Queen Bey!)
Featured Image Via Girl Boss