Another example of sexism in my workplace

This incident took place a few months ago, but provides another example of the rampant misogyny within my team at work. The context is a discussion about the declining number of women in our team and how we are treated (we are now about three women to 12 men) and recent hiring practices.

Male Colleague: Well, you know… it makes sense not to hire women. They are more unstable, aren’t they?

Since my jaw was on the floor and I was incapable of speech, I didn’t have the wherewithall to call him out and ask him exactly how he meant that statement to be taken. Unstable how:

  • Too flighty?
  • Too emotional?
  • Too PMSy?
  • Too likely to get pregnant?
  • Too likely to need days off to care for the kids?
  • Too lacking of a penis?



14 Responses to “Another example of sexism in my workplace”

  1. 1 Deniselle Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Duh, the girls you hire will just get married and start a family first thing, and it’s a loss to the company! What a disgrace that people still think in this way. I’d understand in the fifties, when this was a reality, but not anymore. And I really can’t think of any other reason for a comment like that.

    I had a MALE teacher who was often absent because his kids had allergies and asthma and were constantly ill. He was married, but I think his wife had a job where she couldn’t take the day off as easily. Just goes to show that you can never know for sure.

  2. 2 rationalpsychic Thursday, 27 December 2007 at 3:56 pm

    I don’t think stability in the areas of insensitivity and boneheadedness are anything to brag about.

    Where is your digital voice recorder when you need it?

  3. 3 Fatadelic Friday, 28 December 2007 at 12:22 am

    Deniselle, I agree. That kind of thing is more to do with personal circumstances than gender.

    Rationalpsychic, I really do wish I had my Griffin italk running on my ipod that day. What he said is so beyond belief.

  4. 4 Orodemniades Friday, 28 December 2007 at 12:59 am

    I suppose throwing a blunt object at him and screaming “I’ll show you unstable, you bastard!!” would have been out of the question, eh?

    Le sigh.

  5. 5 temper212 Friday, 28 December 2007 at 1:20 am

    the MOST unstable people I’ve ever worked with were men who threw tantrums, and their desk objects!

  6. 6 Rachel Friday, 28 December 2007 at 2:26 am

    Hmm.. I wonder what your HR department would think of the comments of your coworkers… There comes a time when the comments cease to be comical and start to represent a real and marked problem.

  7. 7 Mike Friday, 28 December 2007 at 2:41 am

    *blinks* Is your office located in the 1950s?

  8. 8 Fatadelic Friday, 28 December 2007 at 8:25 am

    It’s astounding, isn’t?

    The company I work for actually at a corporate level takes Diversity very seriously – wins national and international awards, etc – and has a significant number of women in senior management. Which kind of makes it harder for management and HR to take complaints of sexism seriously (“No. You must be mistaken. No sexism here. Look at the pretty awards! Ooooh, sparkly trophy! See. You’re mistaken.).

    But I am documenting each incident, and will take it further when there is sufficient evidence that I am not imagining it.

  9. 9 Mike Friday, 28 December 2007 at 7:32 pm

    That’s really quite bizarre; I really don’t get the attitude. The POV that some right existing on paper means that it exists in reality seems to be a particular USian one.

    I’m lucky in working for a local government org (UK), which takes sexism and other -isms very seriously and actively works to minimise it and promote an egalitarian culture, making it a comfortable place for anyone to work.

    That being said, my office is numerically dominated by women, and I have had to speak sharply before about sexist comments to one woman in particular.

  10. 10 Fatadelic Friday, 28 December 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Mike, I’m actually Australian – but the company I work for is a US corporation, so I guess there’s some flow through there.

  11. 11 Mike Friday, 28 December 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Meh. *flaps hand* You’re all from hot places with too many lizards. *takes tongue out of cheek* My aunt’s an Ozzie. Townsville, I think.

    I wonder if it’s a consequence of assembled constitutions? The belief that because it’s written down somewhere it must be true is quite pervasive, no matter what the situation.

  12. 12 moonchild Monday, 31 December 2007 at 12:37 am

    That is such an inappropriate thing for someone to say. I hope you DO follow through after you document the problem.

  13. 13 f1r3fly Wednesday, 6 August 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Sexism at work…. Ugh. The ratio where I work is 11 to 1. And I would happen to be the one female crazy enough to work there. There used to be another woman but she quit not to long ago. You should hear the things they get to saying!

  14. 14 randomquorum Thursday, 15 January 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Hoooboy! Don’t get me started!

    Since I’m a programmer (a job ‘usually’ done by men – even today) I am very used to working in mostly-if-not-all male environments. My last job was the most incredible misogynyst place ever – to be expected since they ran a swingers site!

    Fortunately for me I’m not that easily insulted and I tended to just ignore the bosses all the time, but man, that place was insane. I only lasted a year. The gossip and the pay were great but the attitudes? No thanks!

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