In a perfect world, men and women would be treated as equals. Our world is far from perfect, and too often are women still seen as less than men, especially in the workplace. So many reasons propagate this old school/negative belief, some are somewhat justified, many more aren't. Well here's a look into why women are often not respected in the workplace.
Before anyone blows a gasket, yes, I am a man, and I'm sure a lot of you think that gives me an inherently biased view on the issue. You're not wrong. But, as a man, I can recognize the actions of other men take that hurt the perception of women in the workforce. Hell, sometimes I even take part. Still, I hold women in the highest regard (Wonder Woman, Buffy Summers, and Tina Fey are my heroes) and I hope that comes across, as I try to give both sides of this pertinent issue. Read on and agree, or vehemently hate on me. You choose.
Because Some Men Are Still Assholes
Misogyny seems like a problem of a past generation, a viewpoint held by the guys in Mad Men rather than in real life. Not quite the case. Some men, for whatever reason, still hold the outdated belief that women are not men's equals. This is usually coupled with a god-complex where they think they rule the office and everyone is their willing slave. Maybe they grew up in an ultra-conservative old school family. Maybe they had a father who wasn't exactly genial towards his mother. Maybe he's just an idiot. No matter the reason, these men exist, and sometimes they hold positions of power in the office/workplace.
For some reason these guys aren't called out on their outdated beliefs, and instead are labelled as "hard asses" or "tough bosses," both of which are titles which demand respect, even if they're not exactly positive. A woman, acting similarly (at least in terms of abrasiveness), would just be called a bitch. A harsh truth on the double standard of being an asshole.
A misogynistic boss affects the entire working environment, as some guys will agree to get on his good side, or not say anything to avoid his bad side. Either way, the women on the team get royally screwed over.
Because Some Women Hate On Other Women
Lets face it ladies, sometimes you are your own worst enemies. Despite facing the same challenges, hurdles, and social issues, a lot of women do not feel a sense of kinship with their fellow females. Hell, sometimes girls are straight up bitches to one another. We've seen it before, and it happens all throughout a woman's life, as women will attack other women for their own selfish goals. Sometimes there's a real basis for this hatred, other times, not so much. Either way, bitching out the other girl in the office, talking behind their back, or any other method of belittling her, only makes it okay for all the men around to do the same. I mean, if another woman hates her, isn't it okay for a man to as well? The answer is no, but that's what happens more often than anyone would like.
Photo cred- Alexander Pipko
Because Boys' Clubs Are Still A Thing
People like to be around those they are similar to/identify with, its a social fact. Sometimes this goes beyond interests and hobbies, and right down into basic gender. Guys like to talk to other guys about guy things, and women do the same. Only, in the workforce, men tend to have the higher positions and more authority. Solely by being a dude, a man will have access to the 'boys' club,' an intimate cabal of manliness where co-workers become friends, while women are ousted to the outskirts. Now, this wouldn't be a problem if a woman's bosses were all women, only that's rarely the case. Boys' clubs make it harder for women to gain the same level of respect and platonic affection from their male bosses and coworkers, which is a definite disadvantage.
Because Office Romances Never Work Out Well
When you get guys and gals in the same room, instincts take over. Now, we're not animals, and can resist the urge to bang like bunnies, but sometimes something sexual will go down. Its natural, only it doesn't work out in a working woman's favour. No matter if its a one time fling or a Jim-and-Pam thing, the consequences are almost always negative.
If its a one night random coworker hookup, the lady in question will probably be viewed as 'easy,' while the guy will get a congratulatory pat on the back. From there, every guy in the office will think he's got a shot with the gal, and she'll probably never lose the reputation. It's just one of those double standards that sadly hasn't been removed from our social lives and so, the professional sphere as well.
If it turns into a full fledged and committed relationship, you're still in for some issues. Anytime the couple is together, people will be eyeing them and looking for any hints of sexual playfulness. The two will be seen as a unit, rather than individual people, hurting both of their unique identity. One will be the boyfriend/husband, the other the girlfriend/wife. Not always a bad thing, but it can hurt a woman's career if she's always likened to her male partner.
Because Some Women Just Won't Dress Appropriately
One's work wardrobe is essential to how you're perceived. Men wear suits to look professional and important. Women do the same. But just as there are some guys who can't wear a tie to save their lives, there are women who straight up can't dress for their occupation. Either they dress WAY too provocatively, donning garments better suited for a night out than a day at work, which instantly brands them with a 'slutty' title, o, the girl just doesn't dress well at all, looking entirely unappealing and ill suited for a meeting with an employer or client. Both extremes will make any woman, despite her intelligence or personality, seem ill-suited for a job, and thus not respected.
Because Gendered Jobs Still Exist
Let's face it, some professions are stereotypicaly "for women" while others are "for men." Society has made major improvements with gender roles in the workforce, as doctors, lawyers, and executives aren't solely linked to men anymore, but the same isn't true for mechanics, construction workers, or plumbers. Trade jobs are male-dominated, and when a women is in the role, people automatically question her qualifications. Maybe its just social conditioning, but it's a problem prevalent to many women. Strange how the cosmetics and fashion industries, both of which have a feminine focus, are filled with men without the same problem.
Because Some Men Just Don't Understand Women
Men and women operate differently. In a very general sense, men tend to be more egotistical, forward, and stubborn. Women are much more communicative, caring, and empathetic. Individual variations obviousley exist, but these are broad characteristics of each gender. Men, being more self-involved and unwilling to take the time to fully understand others, sometimes misinterpret female character traits in a negative light. Instead of caring, women will be seen as weak-willed, rather than empathetic; submissive instead of just following orders, and so on. Some men just don't get how women operate in a group or work setting, and see their positive traits as negatives.
Because Some Women Are Diversity Hires
Women can sometimes get a leg up from certain men by being a "diversity hire" by a company. When a workforce is all men, bosses will intentionally hire a woman to make it look like they're advocating gender equality. Sounds like a good thing, right? It can be, but sometimes a woman is hired who just isn't as qualified as other male applicants. She may not be bad at her job, but just not on par with the rest of the team, leading to disdain from coworkers who recognize she was hired for her gender and not her qualifications. Hell, the same thing can happen to a woman who is great at her job, only everyone thinks she was hired because she's a woman. When gender is placed ahead of ability, everyone loses.
Because Some Women Can Suck, Just Like Some Men
Lets throw all the political stuff and gender norms out the window and get down to the basics: some people just plain suck. Male or female, young or old, seasoned or inexperienced, some people are kinda shitty. Either their personality sucks, or their working ability is sub par, or a mix of both, and everyone in the office grows to hate them. When its a guy, he's just another run of the mill asshole. When its a woman, especially if she's the sole female in the office, or the first one, it can have more lasting negative effects. This sucky person, who happens to be a woman, may leave a bad impression on the entire workplace, and remembered as 'that girl who sucked,' who goes on to influence the perception of every other woman who works there. Sucky people ruin it for everyone.
Those are some of the main reasons why we think women aren't always treated as equals in the workplace. Do you ladies and gents agree? Have you seen some of these play out at work? Were we totally off the mark? Bring on the debate in the comments below.