Jess' Job On 'New Girl' Highlights The Painful Reality Of How Women Are Excluded In The Workplace
Spoilers ahead. Brewing frustration between Jess and her job is not anything New Girl hasn't dealt with before. The comedy has frequently shown viewers that working as a teacher has its uphill battles — uninterested students, tightening budgets and blasé administrators are all staples of Jess' career. But on Tuesday, it took those hurdles one step further as New Girl showed how women can be excluded at work, especially when surrounded by male colleagues.
When first on the job for Russell, her ex who now runs an education nonprofit organization, Jess is relegated to paperwork, setting up parking cones, and answering phones. She's not brought into any meetings of high importance, or really made to feel as if she's doing any work at all. When she and Cece meet up to have lunch (and for Cece to down four glasses of white wine and an entire pot of coffee), Jess reveals that she's actually pretty close to quitting and her exclusion from one more Tuesday meeting might be the breaking point.
Cece is quick to say that she experiences the same thing at her big, corporate modeling agency gig. The show flashes back to her pumping milk in a board room as horrified men look on, but Cece just flashes a smile and says it's what she has to do because they refused to change the meeting time for her, and carries on with her business.
Jess also thinks back to some of her administrative jobs — she realizes that she's been throwing ideas onto deaf ears, only to have the men around her shout out the same suggestions and be met with praise. It's something that women have to deal with entirely too much. The internet is filled with articles aimed at professional women or young girls hoping to make a career for themselves, and they often drive home points that would never be made to men. Some have the sole purpose of teaching a woman how to be taken seriously at work at all — a frustrating bout of extra leg work just because of someone's gender.
According to a USA Today report from late 2016, one study's real-life statistics closely reflected the situation Jess found herself in this week. It found professional women were more likely to be ignored at meetings — 74 percent of men said they were "able to participate meaningfully" in the meetings, compared to 67 percent of women. In addition, 68 percent of men reported taking on the "toughest tasks" at work, compared to 62 percent for women, and 63 percent of men were reportedly asked to share their thoughts on important business decisions, compared to just 56 percent of women. Taking all of this into account, it's sadly not too surprising due to these inherent advantages that the same study found men 30 percent more likely to be promoted from entry level to manager than women.
In the end, Jess stands up for herself to Russell, with Cece having her back. Of course, in true New Girl fashion, the mysterious Tuesday meetings that Jess is excluded from end up being a support group for divorced dads, as she soon embarrassingly finds out. But she still tells Russell that despite her misunderstanding about the meetings, her point still stands. She had been hired to do a job, and thus far, he still wasn't giving her any responsibilities that would allow her to reach her full potential. Not only did it make for a frustrating work environment, it had also nearly driven her to quit a job she was excited about.
Russell apologizes and pins the problem on trust issues — he has a hard time letting go of control in a company he cares about so much — and that's valid. But he hired her to do a job, and someone as passionate and smart as Jess should be handed the reigns to do that job. It was great of Jess to stand up for herself and the role she deserves in that company, but, like so many real women, she shouldn't have had to do so in the first place.