Dealing with sexism in the workplace is complicated and sadly not uncommon. In all likelihood, you have come across a sexual harassment training course in your workplace. EVERYONE did, no excuse Ted. Unfortunately, what constitutes sexism in the workplace is not binary so much as it exists broadly on a spectrum. There is black and white, and a lot of grey. Meaning, your dim witted , neanderthal co-worker Tim may not be sophisticated or woke enough to recognize why it is not your job to retrieve everyone's printer copies or lunches.
Below we have to some tips to help you overcome sexism in the workplace.
What is Sexism and What is Overt Sexism vs Casual Sexism?
It is is pretty simple. Today we look at sexism in the workplace in two ways: overt sexism and casual sexism. Either way, both can cause real harm. Overt sexism is the more offensive or serious of the two. Think of the the big headline offenders, like the Hollywood pay gap or . Examples of written overt sexism could relate to scheduling conflicts or restricted family leave.
Casual sexism is more subtle and possibly more harmful to women in the workforce. There needs to be a constant re-learning on society's part, in-order to see beyond gender and gender norms. “Mansplaining” is a great example of casual sexism. This kind of workplace sexism is highly nuanced. Those off color misogynistic jokes or those times your boss marginally favors your male colleagues, are all forms of casual sexism. If you feel alienated, you are not alone nor are you overreacting; there is truth in this kind of display of sexism in the workplace.
Confront the Person
Action is the best policy. Don't be a wallflower. Speak up for yourself and confront the coworker and their blatant sexism or ignorance. However, be willing to give the person the benefit of the doubt. Men are willing to admit their short-comings. Explain, carefully to them why their actions or comments were unacceptable. Also, don't accept the double-standard. It can be powerful to turn the tables on your boss or coworker by asking them if this would be the policy for so and so (insert Ted).
Make friends in the office place. It is important for people to have your back. In other words, if things get hairy, you'll want to have someone dependable in your corner who can vouch for your character. It is possible you are not the only female in the office who feels victimized or underappreciated. Consider grabbing a happy hour drink with your coworker to boost morale or to make strategic plans to better your situation.
Keep a Log
If you are experiencing repeated sexism in the workplace. Start building your case. An effective way to do this is to create a log of the offenses. Write down the date and describe the situation with pertinent details for your boss or HR to take into account.
Confront Your Supervisor
If you have already gone through the motions of confronting the individual, now is the time to speak-up directly to your supervisor. Have your log or perhaps a note card with key points you would like to bring to their attention. If your boss is the offender, the above mentioned still applies. Give them the benefit of the doubt and see if the situation improves. Know that you have power over your situation and that your employer has a legal responsibly to protect you and not discriminate against you because of your gender.
Hit up Jill in HR
It may be time to hit up your contact in HR! That is what they are there for!!!! HR can offer you advice on a situation and adequate counseling. Your boss may even be lopped into the meeting. Perhaps, the end result is monthly meetings to address issues regarding diversity or sexism. Many companies have incorporated practices of inclusion to create open and healthy dialogues. Overall, your meeting could improve the culture of your workplace, which is the best result.
Retaliation is SUPER illegal
Retaliation is super illegal. Let's just get that squared away. Don't let the fear of retaliation be the deterrent for you speaking up or be actionable to bettering your situation. Forms of retaliation could be presented as cutting your hours, schedule changes, or things that result in payment decrease or a demotion. Basically, if you are feeling bullied, know that you are in the right. Visit here for a more in-depth look at what constitutes retaliation and what are your rights.
Lastly, never settle. As women this is our moment. We are killing it in education and the workplace and all because we demanded more of ourselves and society. Always remember that yes you are worth it and yes you are intelligent and hard working. So continue to slay and climbs the ranks. Break that glass ceiling. Also, while you are at it, read 13 Best How-to Books of All Time.