When you're treated a certain way consistently, you can start to believe you deserve that kind of treatment. So, it's not surprising that many women develop inferiority complexes at work. There are lots of things women put up with at work that they should never have to. And over time, putting up with these things can take a toll on your self-esteem.
"Every day in the workplace, women encounter systematic discrimination. It can show up in highly visible ways, such as unequal pay, promotions, and evaluations, but also in more subtle ways, such as social bias, interruptions in meetings, or lack of inclusion," Romy Newman, co-founder of the women's career site Fairygodboss, tells Bustle. "Between being overworked at home and undervalued at work, it's no wonder that the rate of women who drop out of the workforce is actually growing. We see women often starting their career journeys sanguine about the journey, but then faced with continuous obstacles, friction, and discrimination that wear them down over time."
I speak of what women should never have to put up with because sometimes, women might decide to put up with subpar treatment at work even when they know they deserve better. This is a valid decision if someone needs to hang on to their job for financially reasons or wants to because it opens up future opportunities. However, if you're being treated in one of the following ways below, you should know you do not deserve it and have the right to speak up about it or find a job that treats you better.
1Being Passed Over For Promotions
The most common complaint women have about work is being passed over for promotions, according to a survey of 1,613 American women by Fairygodboss. Another survey by Deloitte found that half of women believe they're "being overlooked for leadership positions." So, if you've felt this way, it's probably not just you. And it's not OK.
Ghosting isn't just a dating phenomenon — it happens in the workplace, too. And it's just as awful. Granted, people don't always find the time to respond to their emails, and some emails are less important than others. But if you need to know something in order to do your job and someone's not telling you it, you absolutely have the right to follow up until they do.
3Being Shamed For Negotiating
When you try to negotiate pay, there's always a chance that your employer will turn down your request — and that's fine. What's not fine is if they make you feel bad about asking. Or, worse, if they increase your pay but then hold it over your head by bringing it up every time you're not working as hard or as well as they think you should. It is always OK to ask for more money. You are not wrong for it.
4Being Criticized For Not Reading Minds
If your boss has ever gotten mad at you for not doing something they never told you to do — or for doing something they never told you not to do — you are far from alone. And it's totally fair for them to explain what it is they want and ask that you try again. What is not fair is criticizing you for not reading their mind. They need to take responsibility for communicating what they want.
5Being Expected To Accommodate Last-Minute Requests
You have the right to prioritize the tasks on your schedule, including your personal life. And sometimes, this means you won't even have the chance to read an email asking you to do something right that minute, let alone do that thing. This tends to be a problem with freelancers especially, since our clients have a tendency to forget we have other clients. Especially if someone takes two weeks to respond to your emails, it's not fair for that response to request you turn something around in an hour.
6Being Paid Less Than The Men At Your Company
This should go without saying, but it still happens all the time, and it can take a huge toll on your mental health. One study in Social Science & Medicine found that women who are making less money than men with similar work experience and education levels were more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. If you're being paid less than your male co-workers, you have the right to talk to your manager. Karen Dillon, coauthor of How Will You Measure Your Life?, told Harvard Business Review that a good script to use is, "It has come to my attention that others make much more for doing the same job. ... I’ve been working hard and I love working here. What can I do to improve my chances of getting a significant raise at my next review?"
7Any Discussion Of Your Looks
Whether it's sexual harassment or policing of your work clothes, your looks should be completely off the table in discussions with your boss and co-workers. Unless perhaps you're a model or an actor auditioning for a role with a particular look, your appearance is not relevant to your job, and discussing it serves to make you feel like an object rather than a valuable intellectual asset to the team.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, you deserve work where you're not treated that way. And if for whatever reason, leaving your current job doesn't make sense, at least know that it doesn't define your value.