As a woman in the workplace, belittlement and mistreatment are so commonplace, they're hard to avoid. But there are a few things feminists won't put up with at work. Even though women are unfortunately given the message that they deserve inferior treatment, feminism teaches us that we deserve better.
Most, if not all, people have unconscious biases regarding how they view others based on gender, and the workplace is one place whether these biases come out. Women are less likely to get STEM jobs, are offered lower salaries, are interrupted more, and are often unfairly deemed too aggressive, to name a few examples of sexism faced at work.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you up and quit your job if you notice these things. Obviously, you have to take into consideration how much you want or need that job. But women often undervalue themselves, so it's important to realize that better opportunities are out there. It might take some job-searching, and you may have to keep your current job in the meantime, but something will work out because you are valuable.
Here are some things that women shouldn't have to put up with at work — and deserve to get out of.
1. Making Less Than Male Co-Workers
Women make 78 percent of what men make, and while this may vary from company to company, it's not uncommon for men and women at the same level in the same workplace to be making different amounts. This has frightening consequences: Women who make less than men at the same level are more likely to be anxious and depressed, according to a study in Social Science & Medicine. Definitely not something to take lightly.
There's of course a lot we can learn from others in our workplaces, but that doesn't make it OK for people to act like they know more than you when they don't. If a co-worker is acting like a know-it-all toward you or assuming you don't know things you already do, don't be afraid to acknowledge your own expertise. You may feel arrogant for doing so, but you don't have to. The guy who mansplained to you probably doesn't.
3. Being Overlooked Because Of Your Gender
Many women feel overlooked for assignments, promotions, jobs, and raises, and while it may be hard to prove in each instance that this is because of your gender, it is pretty telling that more women than men feel overlooked, according to Deloitte's Millennial Survey. Again, if you're not getting the credit you deserve, it's OK to advocate for yourself. If you're interested in an opportunity, let your boss know why you deserve it.
4. Being Under-Appreciated
One thing that I've found can really make or break a work experience is how appreciated you feel. When you don't think your boss or your co-workers are happy with you, you end up stressed out constantly trying to please them. When they give you positive reinforcement, on the other hand, the ego boost can be energizing, and you feel secure enough to do your best work. Even if there's an area where your colleagues would like you to improve, they should acknowledge how much you've done right. Remember, a lot of what your company takes pride in would not exist without you.
5. Being Shamed For Advocating For Yourself
If you notice any of these things and stand up for yourself, your co-workers and boss should listen to you, not shame you for it. If you want a raise or a promotion, they have the right to say "no," but they don't have the right to make you feel bad about asking. And if you believe you're not being heard, you have the right to speak up until someone hears you. One thing that compounds workplace sexism is making women feel ashamed for wanting better. If anybody does that, it is their problem, not yours. Even if you're not in a position to leave your job right away, know that you deserve better.