Another week and another slew of articles about why companies need more women in tech and facile statements from organisations with institutional sexism problems. It seems like this is the topic of the moment and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.
Well as a woman, never mind as a woman in tech, I can tell you right now that from my perspective it isn’t bloody good enough. Until something is done about the grassroots sexism that seems to be more and more pervasive in our society, nothing will change. And no stupid statements of “inclusiveness” or other bullshit will change that.
You just need to explore the everyday sexism project to see an ever-growing list of examples of the grassroots sexism we women put up with daily. Things that are so small that to the men in our society they seem trivial or not even on the radar, but to the women experiencing them it’s death by a thousand cuts.
Here’s just a small selection of the nonsense we women put up with on a regular basis:
“The expectation that as the sole woman in the room, they will be making the coffee and taking the minutes – never mind that she is the most senior person in the room. No acknowledgement when this was pointed out.”
“Being out for dinner and being handed a menu without prices while my, male, partner was handed the menu with the prices on it”
“Picking up my brand new, luxury car that I had paid for and spec’d up only have the dealer say ‘Your husband must be gutted that he can’t pick his car up’, and got all uppity when I pointed out that it was my car, paid for with my money. Guess who won’t be getting my business next time”
“When daring to call a man out for catcalling me in the street being subjected to a slew of abuse – I mean who doesn’t want to be called a frigid whore at lunchtime on a Wednesday by a complete stranger?”
“Coming back from maternity leave only to find all my caseload had been permanently handed off to a junior, male, member of staff. On asking when I’d be getting my clients back, I was informed that they needed reliability and as a new mom I’d be more likely to take unscheduled time off and be unreliable. I sued, and won.”
“Being asked in an interview if I was intending to start a family. The interviewer didn’t like my response”
“Having to pay a luxury tax on sanitary products because ‘they are non-essential’ Yeah, something ½ the population needs to use approximately once a month for 40 years is a luxury.”
“Being asked by a, male, member of my team if it was the time of the month because I was vocal in my displeasure about something he did wrong. You can’t win against shit like that; if you rage you are [???] and if you don’t, you’re giving into the misogynistic belief that as a woman I’m a slave to my hormones”
Can you imagine any of the above happening to a man? I can’t.
So, as a scunnered* woman, here’s my suggestion for all you people out there who don’t get it. It’s really simple: treat others how you’d like to be treated.
Or be prepared to get a swift kick in the knackers – after all we women are slaves to our hormones and can’t be held responsible for what we do eh?
*P.S. for those that are curious. Scunnered is a Scottish word that means annoyed and fed up.