8 Tweets That Explain What Being A Woman In The Workplace Is Like Today
While a lot has improved for women over the past few decades, workplace sexism is still a very, very real thing. If you haven't witnessed or experienced it yourself, a search through Twitter should convince you it's alive and well. All the tweets about workplace sexism out there can teach us not only what sorts of problems we're dealing with but also where they stem from and how to address them.
"Workplace sexism" is a very broad category that includes everything ranging from the wage gap to lack of family leave and from mansplaining in meetings to sexist hiring choices. Racial minorities, people with disabilities, older people, and LGBTQ people also experience discrimination in the workplace all the time. This discrimination reflects larger problems with our attitudes toward members of these groups, of course. But since we spend a good chunk of our time at work, the workplace is one place where these attitudes come out in full force. For example, a third of women have been sexually harassed at work, according to a Cosmopolitan survey, and McKinsey and Lean In's Women in the Workplace report found that men are promoted to leadership positions 30 percent more often than women.
Here are some extremely true tweets about workplace sexism and what they reveal about the issue.
Women Can't "Do Anything" Yet
When girls are growing up, they're taught they can do anything they put their minds to. And maybe we can, but not with the same ease men can. As this tweet referencing author Jessica Bennett points out, it's often when we get into the workplace that we realize we don't live in a world that accommodates women's career goals.
Unequal Representation Stems From Sexism, Not Women's Choices
This Twitter user used Donald Trump Jr.'s claim that women who can't "handle" workplace harassment "don't belong in the workforce" as one example of the kind of attitude that keeps women underrepresented in many industries. It has nothing to do with women's lack of ability or interest and everything to do with the fact that they sense they're not welcome.
Women Face A Double Bind
As this video points out, many women may dress and act "masculine" to avoid stereotypes that they're more "feminine" and therefore more weak. But if they do, they also risk criticism for being "bossy" or "aggressive." No matter what, people find a way to criticize women, which is why it makes no sense to put it on women to adjust their behavior.
Hiring Is Not A Meritocracy
Research does in fact suggest that hiring decisions are not made purely on ability but rather favor men. One study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that scientists were more likely to offer someone a job in their lab when the resume said "John" than when it said "Jennifer." This means women end up competing with men who are less qualified or being passed over in favor of them.
Inequality At Work Stems From Inequality At Home
It's going to be hard to achieve a society where women are working as much as men before we also have more men pitching in at home. It's also going to be difficult for women to accept and keep the jobs they want when they are the ones who are compelled to do most of the work at home and can't also work while they do that.
It's Not Women's Fault
Speaking of Donald Trump Jr.'s comment, it is not women's responsibility to "handle" sexism or harassment in the workplace or to leave their jobs if they can't. The responsibility is on the people who harass or make them feel unwelcome to stop — and for companies to penalize people who make their offices unwelcoming.
People Need To Admit To Their Own Biases
If companies are busy talking about how they're not sexist, they'll completely neglect the ways that they are probably sexist (we all are). It may seem offensive to say that you're biased against women leaders or engineers, but what's really offensive is ignoring the problem, and that's what companies do when they think of themselves as superior or different for their diversity.
Men Have To Speak Up About It
Since many industries and most leadership positions are male-dominated, change will be very slow if women are the only ones trying to make their workplaces more equal. This is why it's so important for men and other privileged people to stand up for those who are facing discrimination at their companies.
Images: Startupstockphotos.com/Pexels; all tweets used with permission of their users.