IT Employment optimize

"Subtle" sexism is still a problem


I had a professor in college who was a militant feminist and a nun. I never could quite reconcile that in my mind, but anyway, this woman taught Women's Literature. Although I was grateful to her for introducing me to the works of female authors (sad to say, up until then I hadn't been exposed much), some of her rants left me a little cool. For example, she wouldn't allow the use of the word general (as in "These are the general requirements") or major ("These are the major differences") because the words were traditionally associated with men in military roles. I always questioned whether something that subtle was actually a form of sexism.

I guess I was more concerned with the kind of sexism you see in old movies where the boss calls his secretary "honey" or denies her a raise because her husband makes good money. But that kind of obvious sexism is becoming, thankfully, harder to find.

What we have now is "subtle sexism," which is harder to prove and harder to identify because it's usually unconscious on the part of those who practice it. It's not malicious, but it's there, particularly in the IT/publishing field that I'm in.

In an article I read a few years ago in Computerworld, author Kathleen Melymura said that subtle sexism is unintentional, that it arises from the fact that the IT culture grew up substantially without women, and that the men in IT are just "culturally" and unconsciously more comfortable dealing with other men.

Part of me understands this. I'm a woman but even I'm a little uncomfortable around some women because I was raised with a household of brothers. So I realize that most of the time the problem is a social one (instead of a malicious one) and hard to overcome. But it's when the problem inadvertently alienates her in the workplace that a woman feels the sting of it. Perceptive people can often see when a person they're talking to is not invested in the conversation. And if your listener is not invested (no eye contact, an obvious sense of discomfort), then there is little chance that what you have to say is going to be consciously received by that listener. Sometimes this means your ideas and professional contributions don't get very far.

I know a lot of guys who are deathly afraid of acting around female coworkers the same way they would around male coworkers because of accusations of sexual harassment. And that, too, is understandable. I just wish that everyone -- women and men -- would stop feeling the distinction between the sexes when it comes to work.

So what's the answer? Time? More socialization? I don't really know.

I'd like to ask you readers to take the poll below. Be totally honest, and choose the answer that best expresses your situation.

Thanks for taking the poll!

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

177 comments
C
C

Sexism is discriminatory or abusive behavior directed at the opposite sex. Being uncomfortable when relating to a member of the opposite sex isn't 'sexism'; it is a symptom of someone who is socially dysfunctional in some (mild) way and requires help and understanding. It is unfortunate that the individual who, through no fault of their own, is making their coworkers uncomfortable has to go the extra mile to help their coworkers relate in a more mature way. May I suggest that you start by not labelling them 'subtle sexists.'

No User
No User

I am just astounded with the vote results. Even although the questions are clearly biased and sexist towards men. The count has 83% of men who would rather work in a mixed environment and 80% of women who feel they have experienced problems with sexual discrimination. Talk about a disconnect. I have seen many posts from women who think that there is nothing to it. I have not seen an indication from posts that it rises to the level of being a problem. I have not seen examples from posts that would indicate that there is a problem. What could be causing these results? Is it the result of a biased poll? Is it the result of the victim syndrome where women and minorities just automatically assume that they are victims? Is it the benefit of being portrayed as a victim? It sure looks like men are saying welcome aboard but you?ll find the grass is not greener. It sure looks like women are saying they don?t like it either way. Is this a case of women having it both ways and not being satisfied with either? Or are we talking about (some) of them living up to the infamous B word? What is the cause of the poll results when we have so many posts which clearly don?t indicate an 80-20 problem? It's over the top! How about some new poll questions. For women: 1. As a women do you feel being portrayed as a victim hinders your career? 2. As a women do you feel being portrayed as a victim helps your career? For Men: 1. Do you feel the victim syndrome has impeded your job opportunities? 2. Do you feel the victim syndrome has damaged your career? At the time of this post the vote results from Toni?s article are as follows. I am a male who? * Is equally at ease with either gender (83%) * Prefers working with other males (17%) Total Votes: 418 I am a woman who? * Has experienced problems with sexual discrimination (80%) * Hasn't noticed any gender disparities in the workplace (20%) Total Votes: 253

AV .
AV .

I recently went through a merger between 2 law firms. I was IT director at my firm and my male counterpart was IT director at the other firm. Our jobs were the same - hands-on managers. The first thing the management of the new firm did was make it clear that we were equal, except that he retained the IT Director title and I didn't. We both now share an office and the work, and don't have a problem getting along with each other. The problem for me, a woman, is the perception of my role by his firm's user community. His user community is a very male-dominated environment. Some of them will come looking for help and if they don't see him in the office they walk away. I've worked with many of them and have helped them, but they seem to want to deal with a guy. Another guy came to my office one day and asked where my male counterpart was. After I told him he wasn't in, he said well, who is going to help me? I did help him, but I can't tell you what I would have rather done. Eventually, I might turn this situation around if I decide to keep this job, but I find it insulting to be perceived by anyone as being "fluff" or my male counterpart's assistant because of my sex. Its a situation that I never expected, especially from lawyers. I'm no newbie either, I have 25 years of IT experience. AV

dvanfleet
dvanfleet

You forgot one... I'm a male that perfers working with women. I'm much more working with and communicating with women than men. Perhaps IT is the wrong field for me. Huh?

shay_in_denver
shay_in_denver

When I began in IT in 1981, things were in many ways better for women than they are now. The institutional barriers to women were going down and at the same time IT was a more grown up field. Just about everyone in my first IT team was an ex-something: ex-accountant, ex-teacher, ex-engineer, even an ex-firefighter with a PhD in Philosophy. These were people with life experiences outside bits and bytes. They acted and looked like professionals. Hold your baseball caps on: men wore shirts and ties, women wore dresses! The field seems now to be the domain of charmless, inarticulate, game playing frat boys: no manners, no social skills, no family life. It's no wonder they're uneasy around women and no wonder that every team I've been on in the past 25 years has had fewer women than the one before. My first big project had three male and two female system managers; about a third of the programmers and analysts were women. My current team of 23 has two women, including me. And I don't think women are any more "fragile" now than they were a quarter century ago.

Johnny Bee
Johnny Bee

I find it interesting that your questions to the males revolve around their interaction with females whereas the questions for the women are about what they've obvserved from males. In light of the topic "subtle sexism" you may have inadvertently practiced it yourself. Each set of responses is equally valid to both sexes and, in my never-to-be-humble, opinion should have been posed, equally, to both men and women.

ismith
ismith

I worked in a fair-sized group where the manager (a man of I guess over 50) talked up the skills and accomplishments of the men in the group constantly and never noticed or commented on anything the women did. He was eventually sent for training (I think the word used was consciousness, but I don't remember for sure.) I can deal with the subtle stuff. I try to take intention into account when possible. It's blatent things like the example I mention that really get to me.

kdrungilas
kdrungilas

Although tempted by the article title, you really skip any definition of what is considered "subtle sexism". You mention a past teacher--that's certainly not the real world and quite an extreme example. You do say that some men might be "uncomfortable" working with women, but give no examples of any sexism you have encountered in the IT workplace, subtle or otherwise. So, is there really a problem? And if yes, is it any more prevalent in a male-dominated IT field than in any other industry? As a female in IT for more than a decade, the few issues that have arisen for me have all been from the customer base that I've served, never from my peers. I've had a few, "you can fix that? Don't you need to call John?" comments. One lawyer made a comment about my skirt as I crawled under a desk to fix cables, so that was the last time I ever wore a dress to work--but I've been fine with that decision. As far as salary--my peers have been discreet enough not to mention what they make. As a hiring manager, I viewed salary as a negotiable item, and worked from a base salary range the same for women and men. Some people are better at negotiating than others, hence the salary differences. Increases have always been personal goal and team goal initiative driven. I really think you have missed the boat in giving your post any real substance.

Toni Bowers
Toni Bowers

...was to get at the female experience in the IT workplace. If I write a blog about how men feel the effects of the double-standard, I will use those polls to get at the truth. What do the results of these polls reveal? Well, absolutely nothing if you're a scientist. But maybe the lopsided numbers mean that a lot of guys think they're comfortable working with women but they don't give off those vibes. As for victimization: I'm not a victim. I have experienced being treated differently by some guys due to my gender, I don't care if you believe that or not, but I'm no victim. If someone has a preconceived notion of my place in the working world due to my gender, then I will call them on it. I might even write a blog about it. ; ) One other thing: Your use of the word "bias" throughout your comment should be "biasED." Do you feel like a "victim" of the grammar police?

jdclyde
jdclyde

In todays society, people are told all the time that "X" isn't fair, and "Y" isn't fair, and some people actually start to believe it. As was pointed out in a few posts, some of the "sexual discrimination" had nothing to do with gender, because the same thing happens to men. Unfortunately, the "poor me" syndrome kicks in, and it is all of a sudden a gender issue. Bottom line, there are going to be a lot of ignorant people, of all races/genders, and there often is little you can do about it other than go somewhere else. Expecting the government to play babysitter in our daily lives rarely works the way people think it does, even though we do see the occasional high profile case where someone strikes it rich with a lawsuit. Bias DOES happen, but not a lot can be done. A first hand example. Years ago at a local community college, my mother was head of the Academic IT. There was a male counter part in charge of STAFF IT. He made more than my mother, despite having half the education AND half the experience. They went through and did major cuts. All cuts were to women and/or minorities, and the people that stayed and took over their positions quite often only had half the qualifications. 12 in all, and all department heads for years. After over a year in court, "the government" found that there was nothing wrong with getting rid of higher qualifies women and replacing them with less qualified men. Move on with your life.

No User
No User

that with a merger you are lucky to have retained your job. Usually all duplicate jobs are cut as part of the projected cost savings of the merger. I do have one question about folks looking for your counter part for help instead of you and that is are they from the other firm? If they are then perhaps they are simply accustom to going to him for help.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

They don't care who you are, if you are IT, you are trash and always looking to be replaced. I see your point though, I work in a legal dept.. But, here, there is plenty of women/men ratio. Our last GC was a woman, several of my managers have been women here. They are kind of scattered, a pretty good ratio, and I have not paid much attention to this until reading your post. Sorry to hear it AV. P.S. -- I dont treat women as 'fluff' unless they act like it, and never on the job. However, I may post online with that effect, but I am joking for sure.

Pringles86
Pringles86

I think it is just getting used to working with someone. I had a job where I worked with a female IT person, but she had been there a few years. When I came in, the people did the same thing to me that they did to you. If she was not there I would ask if I could help them, and they said no. Then they came back again with the same problem as she did not get back to them. I again asked what the problem was and if I could help. It usually turned out to be something simple, which I would fix right away. They are just used to going to a specific person for help, and if that person is not there, they want to wait until they are. Although your situation is a little different, working with different kinds of people (lawyers), so I could be wrong.

archivalprint
archivalprint

I now work from home for various clients on a project-by-project basis. The company I previously worked for decided they needed a "younger, up-and-coming workforce" and systematically laid-off or mistreated and caused knowledgeable well-seasoned, well-trained male and female employees to seek alternate employment. Workdays were pure hell. My workstation cables were undone during times that I was out of my office, a camera was installed from an adjoining office through a softwall and the photos were then made into pornographic movies of myself. I wasn't the only person attacked in this manner. So were others, both male and female. These porn movies were then launched into the browser PC's so that they opened automatically when people went on-line. Meetings were a scene of disgraceful commentary and public verbal demoralizing of any staff member, male or female during presentations. The long-term employees were easily spotted by their attire - casual suits. The male new hires wore T-shirts, khakis, shorts and sweats while the females wore hip-pants, halter tops that covered not much of anything so that their belly-button rings would also be visible. Productivity bottomed out. Value-added work disappeared. Time-lines were ignored. This was a large company (880 employees) intent on becoming a blue-chip organization. (The attack group in my department consisted of 11 male and 4 female new hires. When I mentioned the aggressiveness toward myself to my manager he chortled and said "____ is an aggressive company and we want aggressive employees." I countered with, "Even at the expense of properly trained, competent and committed employees?" His answer was yes. It was costly. I left behind up-to-date training courses, pension possibilities, stock options and health benefits as well as a job I totally loved doing. I wasn't aware on my last day that 33 others (60% women) had resigned and left that same week for the same reasons. That was 6 years ago and the company has still not reached "blue chip" status. We wonder if management wonders why. (The other thing I noticed with the new grads is they had trouble reading as well as difficulty speaking in full sentences when presenting a slideshow of their work at update meetings). Respectfully submitted.

m2kirimi
m2kirimi

I tend to think women have also played a role in their elimination from this field.Most shy away from the responsibilities given to them and are more confortable when they let men take it away from them.

phillip.clark
phillip.clark

i am trying to understand the nature of your post - and i will give you that the world was a more gentle place 25 years ago BUT there was no such thing as Information Technology in 1981. IT was born out of the ashes of then nascent LAN technologies somewhere around 1992 when all of the various app/platform stuff got bolted onto it. i disagree that there are less women today than 25 years ago in fact I'd be willing to bet that there are more women in IT today than then. All of the early IT folks that I knew and worked with back then (circa 1990)were mostly programmer types, computer science grads, and EE's. The 'ex' types that you mention didn't begin to infiltrate IT until after the boom was well underway (mid-90s)and there was a shortage of skilled professionals.

Scott
Scott

Wow, what an offensive post! I would think that a woman with a little intelligence and professionalism would be able to excel in a field full of "charmless, inarticulate, game playing frat boys" with "no manners, no social skills, no family life". If women are struggling to survive in a field of such dim-witted morons, perhaps the problem is theirs?

jdclyde
jdclyde

That way too many of the people in IT today are dumb punks with little training, experience, work ethic, or commitment. Of course, I personally see more of this type in the Windows field than cater to any of the other OS's. Well, I suppose a lot of the MAC guys are in the same boat, but that is because they fell for their own brand of self justification of MAC's being cool just because they were MAC's. Thanks to Windows allowing people with barely the brains to be sucking oxygen to become the "IT by default" guy/girl, the skill level has really dropped. I don't see that as a gender issue though. By any chance, was your first IT job in the education field?

ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker
ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker

What sbout working for women that are heartless, manipulative, not worthy of any sorority I know of. What's with the sexist tags? I cannot help but think you've been rejected. I disagree - there are more women in the industry now than 20 years ago.

aafb6d
aafb6d

I worked for a very large company in their Engineering department for 4 years. Out of the 400-500 people in my building there were probably 40 or so woman - half of which were administrative rather than engineering/IT ladies. I have experienced many type of subtle and not-so-subtle sexism. Everything from the guys that stop talking when I walk up because they were trying to figure out who had the nicest set in the intern group, to not being promoted at the same rate as my male counter parts. I don't really mind the fact that I can't participate in all the guy talk. We all need our bonding times. However because I cannot I do not get invited to those happy hours with the boss were the guys get to put in the first bid for the next open position that they want. And I don't develop that friendship with my boss that they have. Maybe that's why they're still awkward. However, I really got discouraged by the rate of promotion among the women that worked there. There were NO woman managers in the whole deparment. And only a couple of woman who were the highest level of engineer (outside of management). Then I looked at my own position. I started at the same time as two other guys doing about the same thing. First the guys got a promotion and then a year later I got one after asking repeatedly. Then they guys got another promotion. I asked for a year and a half what I needed to do to improve my skill set to be ready for that promotion. I never got one good reason. If I wasn't performing at the right level, I can accept that. But tell me and let me improve. But if you can't give me a good reason, I'm going to think that the only reason you have is one that HR wouldn't approve of you saying. On the brighter side, I moved on. I have a new job where it's about 50-50. The group is a lot younger, which I think makes a difference. Still there are no females in leadership positions, but I think that will be changing. I'd like to think that will happen in a lot of places as some of the "old school" mentality retires.

jim_delong99
jim_delong99

Every couple of months, the gal in the next cubicle will give me a face-to-face, full body hug, just because. Two weeks ago an employee three cubicles down died in the field, overseas. The gal was pretty tore up so I walked in and knelt down and hugged her in her chair. She began to cry. I needed a hug also. Two weeks ago, my wife went into the kitchen of the place where she works in Texas to use the sink. Someone had spit a chew in the drain. (This is a very respectable business establishment). She complained. The all male club couldn't see the problem. (Just try that in their home)! Along with culture differences, the sexist attitude alive in us while NOT in mixed company sometimes carries over when in mixed company. We must limit it and educate those who neglect to respect. My final statement is that I married a woman who compliments me and does not compete with me at home. We separate our expectations of the workplace from our expectations of the home - a world of difference! Thanks for the thought provoker! I'll be watching my P's and Q's in the workplace this week! jd

Toni Bowers
Toni Bowers

When you are immersed in a particular culture for a number of years as I have been, it's hard to go in and pull out particular examples. And I use the word "subtle" in my title because "subtle" cannot always be presented in an example. How do you describe when you're the only woman in a meeting of men and when they respond to you about something you've mentioned, they look at each other and not at you? How should I type in the sound of a patronizing voice? Do you want an extreme example? I was once told by the vice-president of a company that I shouldn't be thinking about a promotion because my "place" should be with my 6-month-old son. How about being invited to a marketing trip to Microsoft because "you're hot and will help us seal the deal"? Then there are the frequent, commonplace ones. Like mentioning an idea to a male manager who nods condescendingly as I talk but then presents the idea at a meeting the very next week as if it were his own. I know in my heart that it isn't an intentional slighting. I truly believe that the idea made an impression but I, as a person, was so inconsequential on his radar that where the idea originated did not. The thing is, I'm not really ranting here so I don't need exhibit A and B. I AM one of those women who is "one of the guys." Subtle sexism doesn't anger me as much as it hurts my feelings to still be differentiated from my peers in this day and time because of that second X chromosome. And it's difficult to provide in a written piece, the nuances of some sexism (thus the word "subtle")

shardeth-15902278
shardeth-15902278

Okay, seriously now... I haven't read the whole thread, so I may be off base but, if your questions are leading (which they seem to be) they will generate their own bias. As for men treating you different because you are a woman, might I suggest that you are different? As much so as a Mexican is From a Brazilian, or a Brit from a Scot. I think women do themselves a diservice by trying to become one of the guys. And perhaps that isn't what you meant, in which case, please ignore my half-baked ramblings ;) There certainly are still 'issues' with *isms. I suggest that they are largely due to a lack of understanding. A professor whose name I forget recently recommended that a religion class (covering Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, etc. faiths and their respective texts) should be a requirement for graduation. His justification is that if we understood each other better we would get along better. He just might be onto something there... I have a theory that calling attention to a specific 'ism generally doesn't help, and in fact is more likely to increase the problem, by increasing feelings of hostility between the two groups of interest. Not sure how I would go about demonstrating it, but that it my theory anyway.

No User
No User

Could it be just not getting their way? That is if they don?t perceive that things are as they should be they feel disrespected. If they feel compelled to ?set things right? and that doesn?t go according to plan then they feel abused or short changed. If a man is involved then they feel that it?s gender discrimination. Is feeling like a victim merely a result of not getting what is desired and can be used as a tool to get it? I just don?t see or hear of wide spread abuse and I don?t think that it?s possible to have a hostile environment like that. We all endure things that we would rather not but that is not a hostile environment that is life.

No User
No User

Well so good to know that you are not a victim thanks for responding. As to the grammar, spelling and punctuation I think that it's often a matter of opinion. I use the George Carlin approach that you can?t take a language serious that doesn?t take it?s self serious. However I can handle being corrected by a woman / (women) and more to the point accept that a woman who happens to be an Editor should (and does) know more about spelling, punctuation and grammar then I do. I'm certainly big enough to say you may be right and I may be wrong or you are right and I am wrong. It's a good thing we have an edit button. Now as to the vibes I find it hard to believe that women are not getting the vibes that men prefer a mixed environment (come on). 83% of men prefer the mixed environment and 80% of women fill that they have ?Experienced? gender/sexual discrimination at work (get real). 80% of women being discriminated against I just don?t believe that is true further more I don?t believe that it is possible. I think it?s the mentality that if you don?t get what you want then you are a victim. More over I think some folks have been and are being enticed with the victim mentality I think it?s part of the doctrine of the past 50 years. It's like a right of passage from adolescence into adulthood. However it?s good to see that you don?t view yourself as being one. We need more women and people in general who share that opinion. I find that men often don?t think in terms of man/woman at the workplace and some women seem to be somewhat transfixed on it. Everything is about gender to them and they need desperately to put that behind them. You made me so happy by responding thank you. Your peers don?t often comment after they start an article so you are to be commended.

No User
No User

Life is not fair but then there is not guarantee that it will be. To start with everything that lives shall die. Not to cool. What we like and don?t like what we want and can not have what we don?t want and have imposed upon us greatly influences our perception of fairness. We are all in this together and we all can?t have everything and certainly not at the same time. Some folks have more then others while some still have more then thousands of others. Is that fair? There is right and wrong and people do get hurt but as a whole it?s what you go after and get out of life not what society can do for you. It?s certainly unfortunate that people get hurt but that is life. Make the best of it and move on. There are victims but being a victim has become nostalgic. If you qualify as a victim then you can be showered with money and all the good things in life. I think the benefit is tantalizing.

AV .
AV .

I know, I know. We're looked at as a cost center. We are highly underrated. It sounds like you have a better situation than I do right now because of the woman/man ratio. You're probably in a legal department in a business instead of a law firm too. Heres the difference. This new firm I work for still has shoe shine boys that come in once a week. Its the old "barrister" image. I thought I was seeing things. Women don't do shoe shine boys, we just buy more shoes. :^0 I know you would never treat a woman professional as fluff. I can tell by your online posts. After all, I would never agree to buy a bridge with you if you were like that. :^0 AV

jdclyde
jdclyde

They will sometimes NOT go to a certain tech, because they feel intimidated by that tech. They have someone they feel comfortable with, and it is more important to maintain their comfort zone than it is to get the problem resolved. Just food for thought.

AV .
AV .

I think its a snub in a lot of ways. I can fix their problem but I'm not their "bud" and never will be. The people I worked with don't seem to be hung up on that. They're just happy to get their problem fixed by either one of us. Its just like what you went through, but I think you had better luck than me. I thought after awhile they would become more comfortable with me, but its not happening so far. I can try to fit in to the male-oriented atmosphere they have, but its closed to me. AV

d.oz626
d.oz626

That's incredible. I think that it's horrible that you and your company had to go through an experience such as that one. However, with the way that the management staff reacted when you told them of the problem tells me that part of this is their fault. I am going to graduate in 3 weeks, so I will be what you call a new, young grad.) I have no trouble reading, speaking, or presenting to a group of people at a meeting or in a classroom setting or anywhere else. I think it unfair of you to stereotype young people this way just because of, what I agree, was a horrible experience that should never have been allowed to happen. Where I work I can't wear jeans or anything revealing like the girls you discussed. In my company we are required to look fairly professional with at least a nice pair of slacks or khakis and a polo shirt or something nicer. Also, I can't help feeling that no one that I know in the field that is my age or level would ever stoop so low as to do something of what you described. At my college we have all been trained to be ethical and professional. I feel sad to learn that all college grads are not taught to be as well. So, as I am sorry for your experience I can't help feeling that you are wrong about stereotyping new young IT people this way. You can't base your opinion on one group of irresponsible people hired by a company that obviously doesn't care very much about it's employees.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Yes, we called it data processing back then. The name for the field has changed. But nothing magical happened in 1992, as far as I recall. The "LAN technology" that you think started something was alive and well in VAX clusters in the mid 80s. At my first computer job, at a software company in 1985, there were a number of women involved - about 33% of the programmers, half the marketing staff, 33% of the sales staff, were women. There were also more women in the admin type functions than men - the "white collar" ghetto. James

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Until last year, I was the only male on my team. Since then,we have added 2, but still most of the team is composed of women. Do I have a problem with this? Professionally, no, but it does make it harder to discuss things that usually only men have in common. This goes both ways, so we made a pact. Basically, the women can come to me and talk about something I cannot relate to at all, but I will listen and nod my head. And vice-versa. There are limits, I won't listen to biological problems, and I really don't care which television actor they find attractive. If they go down that road, then I have to express my appreciation for Jessica Alba, Kate Beckinsdale, etc. :)

No User
No User

There is so much RISK with women in the work place that men have been beaten senseless with the RISK factor. I fill certain that has a part in men stopping their discussion when a woman walks by. The company wont tolerate any RISK. Now about your not getting invited to happy hour. In my female dominated office I have never been invited to happy hour with them. They say that it's the perception that they are worried about."ya right" Also, They have baby showers several times a year for the women but do nothing for a male employee who is blessed with a new addition to HIS family. Not even for his wife. How about that! They could also water the baby shower down from a girly exclusive to a regular party so they could invite the men. They do however hit us up for money for that baby shower. We are no good S.O.B.'s if we don't pay up. They hold the (women only) baby shower at work imagine that! Why not have it at a neutral location after work? Before anyone comments NO men don't go to baby showers. That is the point! It's sexist!

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

Sometimes people are just gross, insensitive and well annoying. That's not always sexism. That is just their personality. They may do these these same things around their buddies or spouses. Spitting in the sink, not cleaning up something that spills or what they say, could just be one's personality, sad and gross as it is. So are personality flaws sexism? A female or male may just be treated the same as everyone else for this person.

kdrungilas
kdrungilas

Thanks for the examples. If you're describing a condition, its much easier to do so with some actual concrete examples. I'd say the comments about your place being with your son and sealing the MS deal are NOT subtle at all, but the other examples seem to be. If you took no action on the two situations, how can behavior be changed? If you did, then hopefully all worked out to your benefit. I'm sure some "subtle sexism" exists, but again, I don't believe that its more prevalent in the IT world than other fields. Maybe I've been lucky enough to not see it directed towards me. I've had ideas "confiscated" by others, men specifically, but didn't take it as sexism. I am bold enough, however, to mention in a meeting that an idea is mine. A statement such as, "Remember our discussion on this very topic last week, Bill, and how I felt the company needed to go in direction x? Well you have presented my ideas quite well here today. I think we're headed in a direction I can really support." has worked for me in the past. Just keep a positive spin on it and ask to be involved. If your point in the purpose of the article is to not solve the issues, but just point out that it may still exists, I guess you have. Certainly the posts indicate a lot of excitement over the topic.

No User
No User

of yourself as an Editor not a woman in IT or a female Editor or even just a woman at all. I think that you will find that over time people will think of you as and treat you as an Editor. I think women inject the female equation into the arena both overtly and perhaps subtle. Just because a man disagrees with you doesn't mean that it's because you are a woman. God knows men are extremely accustom to women telling us that we are wrong. Boy are we ever. In fact it's when they tell us that we are right that we get thrown off. We don't know if we should take it as a compliment or if it's prelude to a setup and we get confused. (Just Joking - even if there is a ring of truth to it.) Just as you are what you eat, well at work you are what you do. If you are an Editor then think of yourself as an Editor not a woman or a woman Editor and refer to yourself as such and gently nudge by subtle suggestion to others to refer to you as such. Editor is gender neutral. It may take time for the environment to adjust but it has been known to work. It's good for the self esteem as well. You are the Editor not Toni the Editor or Toni the female Editor. Your name is Toni and you are the Editor. You may genuinely have a situation at work but from your posts it seems more like a self esteem issue. Think of what you do that is positive and find ways to let people see that. It builds character and self esteem. If they can?t or won?t see you for what you are and the positive force that you bring then move on. Somebody is always looking for the good that you bring. You just have to look for them.

No User
No User

I think the examples you have given are just people being people. Lets face it the world is dog eat dog. Aside from that, if that is a real picture of you then you are hot. I'm afraid that I would have to invite you on a trip myself. Is your husband in IT? Is he strong and supportive of your emotional needs? My guess is at least one of those answers is NO.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I am not going to comment on them. I think that we both agree to both points, but with a little different opinion about how often.

No User
No User

Putting it the way you did I can relate to it. Do you think that 80% is a real number? I certainly don't think either the world or the workplace are perfect but the tolerance to the "ISM's" just isn't there. The RISK is far to great! I can see 5% to 10% and in extreme environments perhaps up to 20% it's hard to believe that it would persist even that high. I have great difficulty with the 80 percentile being real. That is why I pushed perception so hard.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

would point out that every woman who complains is just not getting their way, and all of the problems are perceived. While I would agree that there may be cases like this out there (probably are), I think the majority are not just perceived, but real. Have you ever gone somewhere and 'felt' out of place? This is a feeling or a perceived sense. Now, have you ever gone somewhere and been harrassed? This is real. I have been places where I have been harrassed because I was on a motorcycle, or because of many other reasons. I have been kicked out of establishments for stupid reasons, and none were from me having an attitude (and I have never been thrown out, just requested to leave). 'ISM's are still around, just they are harder to find.

No User
No User

Can you point it out? I had a bunch of ideas at the time that I just didn't express well. Note! I jam and slammed the last three posts so I edited them. Take a look now. Ah the edit button.

No User
No User

It's perception vs intent It sure seems that folks have that problem to a fault. They just can?t get it out of their heads that it?s what the intent is that actually matters. Perception isn?t worth a plug nickel. You need to find out what was intended not jump to a conclusion and hold somebody accountable to something that was not intended. Dealing with the perception factor is like being controlled you need to explain everything that you don?t intend first so you can then explain what you do intend in order to be understood with out offending anyone. I think that folks need to remove their perception goggles and find out what is intended. Then I think everything gets better.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I know some people that would have voted at being comfortable with more women, that will turn around and say "I like women in IT, because it is just more eye candy for me". How many guys laugh at Andrew Dice Clay jokes, and even repeat them? That in it's self is taken as a great offense by some women, while the guys don't mean anything by it. like usual, women read more into guys than there really is. They see great offense where the guys think everything is cool.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

would be to have a chat with your co-worker. See if he can recommend you to work on something, say 1 out of 3 to 5 times. Then these losers may actually see you in action and get more comfortable with you. If they feel comfortable with you, they will come to you more often. But, from what you described previously, it seems to be a male domination attitude there, in which case, it will likely never change until some women ar in charge... There are a few choices that can be made, but I would not expect a quick change in attitude.

AV .
AV .

I've proved my worth, they know I'm a pro, but it isn't appreciated. Merging 2 networks isn't for the faint of heart, but it was a thankless project. No bonuses here. The only reason I consider keeping this job is because I worked for the other law firm for 12 years. I have a month's vacation and a vested 401k. The new firm let me keep my benefits. Other than that, the job s*cks. They have serious problems at the new firm because my male counterpart has extenuating circumstances and works at home alot. Now they have someone to go to, lucky me. I might be in the market for a new job soon if I can get over losing my benefits. I don't think this place is worth my time unless things change. AV

AV .
AV .

I've had that said to me. Why on earth do I need all of those trade journals (all free)? I must have nothing to do. The new fools I work with think that 1 person is good enough for the whole IT function of 150 people. Of course, that person would be my male counterpart. X-( I wouldn't want that job anyway if thats what it came down to. If I can find that Dilbert cartoon, I'm hanging it on the door of my office. I know my male counterpart would agree. And - when the shoe shine boy comes in next time, I might just get my stilettos shined and sharpened. Something tells me thats going to be real important soon. :^0 AV

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

And you are probably right on that, in a Corp environment they encourage many different things, and racism,sexism, or any bad 'ism is not tolerated well. Hope things turn out better for you soon. I would say, just either have a chat with your peer, or keep trying to push the fact that you can do the work just fine. Else, you may be either out of a job coming up, or demoted. If you can do the job as well, and can get others to start coming to you, then you should be alright. If you can do it better, they may all start flocking your way soon.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

and then share the best ones with my manager and co-workers. I even have printed them out and posted them all over (just like the de-moralizers), after all, people need something to do while they are standing there waiting for me to get off the phone and netmeetings.

jdclyde
jdclyde

gee, it is just pressing some buttons, how hard can it be, right? :0 I can't even count the times I would be reading a Unix book, trying to figure out something, and have to deal with everyone walking by saying "wow, wish I got paid to just sit around and read all day". Of course when I show them what I am reading, their eyes glaze over and they walk away. They just don't understand. Anyone else read last weeks Dilbert series, where their department is going to be shut down because the CEO doesn't understand what they do? It was perfect.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Put it down, "Programmed Manager-Y's phone for him/her to have my name in a blank bank, as requested". Besides that, the only thing you can do is remember you are paid the same if your doing something worth while or not.

LuckyLeatherneck
LuckyLeatherneck

I have a user, lets call the person MANAGER-Y, who has trouble keeping a thought alive before another one appears and overlays the previous one. Manager-Y is now calling upon the outside support for a complicated automated dialer -- very sophisticated -- which we recently installed. Manager-Y has trouble getting these Techs to get the problems fixed and sometimes they cause other problems in the process or undo something previously fixed. Garbage directions, garbage results. I work just down the hall from Manager-Y and the in-out board is just outside Manager-Y office door. Manager-Y e-mail from this morning: ===START OF BLOCK QUOTE=== From: Manager-Y Sent: Monday, 09 April 2007 14:43 To: 'Lloyd' Subject: Hello????hey, I have been trying to buzz you for like 45 minutes?..your phone rings and rings and rings ?please use DND when you are not available to answer your phone????then I wont keep bugging ya, thanks Lloyd really appreciate it! O almost forgot could you please add your name and number to my phone since I have 4 open spots available now?????thanks The reason I was trying to reach is I wanted to know if we have heard anything about the system updating the files for the dialer?? K(real first name) Manager-Y Y Supervisor A Financial Services 800-xxx-yyyy The documents accompanying this e-mail may contain privileged or confidential information. The information is intended only for use by the individual (s) or entity named above. If you not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosure, photocopying, distribution in any way, or taking any action based on the contents of this transmission is strickly prohibited. If you received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify me by telephone at the number above arrange for the return of this document. THANK YOU! ==END OF BLOCK QUOTE=== I took a lunch break today. Walked right past Manager-Y office and marked myself out-to-lunch on the in-out board. How do I get this Manager-Y to understand that I am not Manager-Y's pet monkey?

jdclyde
jdclyde

There are a lot of closed minded, stupid people out there. It does amaze me how people are still judged by gender and/or ethnicity instead of ability. And I think we will see things start to get worse, thanks to the current political climate. Between pelosi, clinton, and obama, we are going to hear a lot of crap of "vote for first woman/black" instead of "vote for the best suited person" to do the job. I see a lot of the advances of the last half century will be taking some major steps backwards.

No User
No User

I think it's great to be able to express yourself and have somebody listen and at least give the impression that they care about what you are saying. I think that is about 90% of the satisfaction people get from talking.

No User
No User

make a point but don't know how to frame it. Your post doesn't make any sense. Once again if the post is directed at someone and they don't reply then who are you to speak for them? Toni is an Editor and certainly can speak for herself. Your speaking for her has the ring of sexism. Not being able to express yourself, perhaps you need that self esteem implant or perhaps some estrogen to go with your handle "Menopausal". With the exception of the one extreme example she gave all the others happen everyday to both genders. My point is that to suggest that they are sexist because it happened to woman points to the classic victim syndrome which is likely to come from low self esteem.

Menopausal
Menopausal

Wow, I was planning on posting that there really isn't any sexism at my current employer, although it was strong at a couple of previous workplaces. Then you come along with a post like that, and the whole discussion goes in another direction. You. Have. To. Be. Joking. I think you meant this sincerely as good advice, a 'word to the wise' if you will. Sir, you really would benefit from walking a mile in her shoes. If what she's describing is "just people reacting to her self esteem issue", then it would be hard to dig up some numbers to back it up. Yet the numbers are increasingly easy to find. Where I work now, it is totally different. I couldn't begin to tell you how this place got that way, as I've only been here 8 months, but it is as different from other places I've worked at as saltwater is from freshwater. I can assure you, I didn't have a self esteem implant on the day I walked in here.

jdclyde
jdclyde

there will be sexism. Same for race, same for class. Do women think they have a corner on the market? If your fat, you don't advance as quickly or as far as tall, good looking people do. People enjoy being around attractive people, and have always made concessions to keep the pretty people happy. Does anyone doubt that the pretty people run things? How many of you waste time watching stupid shows like American Idol, or pay attention to what that dimwit Hilton is doing? Other things that have kept discrimination alive and well are misguided programs such as affirmative action. Thankfully, the citizens of Michigan recently had the intelligence to BAR the use of affirmative action (reverse discrimination) for hiring practices and college admissions. A great day in Michigan. All it did was create more hostility towards the "token" employee or student that hadn't earned their keep, and was only there based on gender or the color of their skin.

JamesRL
JamesRL

You hear men being told "come to Microsoft with us, you are hot and it will help us seal the deal"? Surely you jest. Personality is one thing. All good sales people are outgoing and friendly, and many of them rely on good grooming and even fashion to help them present themselves and the company they represent well. But a good presentation and "hot" are two different things entirely. There is a difference between putting one's best foot forward and allowing yourself to be thought of as a sexual object. There is also no indication in Toni's response that anyone was taking a year off. I read it as someone's manager suggesting that they should take time off and be with their son instead of staying in the job and going for promotion. I've seen some very much less subtle sexism in the IT workplace. I've seen techs slap the ass of a female peer. Think that guys do that to other guys, or women to guys? I've heard put downs about macho crap (hey little girly do you need a strong man to help you carry that big laser printer). Again do you think that women say that to men? Could happen of course, but I'd bet the number of incidents is far less of women doing it to men than the reverse. I'm not suggesting that every charge of sexism is warranted. I had a woman fired once because they were incompetant, and tried to ...umm....befriend males on the staff to cover it. She dressed entirely inappropriately but more importanly it was attitude. She was doing the same job as me but paid more, and with less formal education. I worked lots of unpaid OT to get the job done and she left at 5. I was always fixing her work. But I point that out just to say that there are exceptions to every rule. I do think that most workplaces are less sexist today than previously and that we are on our way to eliminating sexism, but it isn't quite dead yet. James

No User
No User

Those situations happen equally to both men and women every day. Gee I wonder if a good looking guy handles the female dominated accounts? While we're at it do all the male dancers at the ladies club look like Pee Wee Herman? Pun intended. It's common to have an office population dominated by women and they abuse just as much as men do. Not only do good looking men get sent to the female accounts. The ladies ask for him and if you want the account you better comply. When the good looking woman comes to the male dominated account did you check out what she was wearing? Did you see her flirt? Did you hear the sexy and provocative things she said? Well it sure dazzles the boys and she wiggles her hind end all the way to the bank with a big smile on her face. Not exactly abused.... Do you think those women what female dominated accounts?

Scott
Scott

No man's boss has ever taken credit for his idea? No man has ever been taken on a sales/marketing trip because of his looks and/or personality? You think that if a man took a year off he would come back to higher pay and multiple promotions? Surely you jest.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I understand what your saying about a comment directed towards a specific person, but that is just how on-line chat goes. You would not believe how many times I will give an on-line friend crap over a running joke, and someone comes along taking offense. In my opinion, people are far too sensitive, and CHOOSE to become offended. Sure, I give some of the women here a hard time, but they know I give EVERYONE a hard time. It isn't discrimination if you treat everyone equally bad, right? B-) Cheers.

No User
No User

Cooling down chill pill taken. Thanks.... That said the question about her husband was not intended to be rude. That said I'm not being overly defensive and don't think I made a mistake by asking the question. If you look at my follow up post to Toni you can see where I was going with that question. The husband is usually a part of a woman's low self esteem. It can come from having the same occupation (competition) or just not being supportive. I think Toni clearly paints herself and women in general as victims and that is usually a result of low self esteem. That said, it is a post directed to Toni and this is an article on sexism so if Toni doesn't think that it's worth her time to respond I think we (MEN) need to be careful about taking her place it does have the ring of sexism by doing that. I'm certain that Toni can speak for herself. In fact I think we (MEN) all think so. I think that when you have a post clearly directed at an individual that anyone else who wants to add their two cents worth should wait until after the intended recipient responds and then they can add their weight to that response. If the intended recipient doesn't feel that it's worth a response then there you go. Who is anyone else to step in their place? In this particular case is chivalry at hand? If it is I believe that chivalry is being a bit sexist at least that is the going consensus now days. Once again the article is on sexism. If not chivalry then was it a chip on the shoulder or just throwing mud in my eye? What ever it was let us all take that chill pill and move on. No further response needed or desired! By the way how is Canuk pronounced? Is it Ka-nook or Ka-nuck? The way most folks I hear say it is Ka-nook with the double O pronounced like hood.

jdclyde
jdclyde

let me be the first to step up and say that James, while a bit of a tree hugging Canuk, is still one of the calmest and most reasonable people on this board. There are trolls abound, but James is not one of them. Maybe the sting of realizing you misspoke has you being overly defensive? People, (yes, even reasonable people) are more prone to attack rather than admit to a simple mistake. And yes, asking about her husband and making assumptions about how supportive he may or may not be, were out of line. Step back, re-read the whole thread, and let everyone have that cooling off.

JamesRL
JamesRL

If, as you state you are not a misogynist (and yes its clear I misspelled it or mistyped it, enjoy your little victory), then why did you; 1) Bring up Toni's appearance. 2) Ask a question about her husband. What bearing at all does that have on her discussions? If, as you suggest, you enjoy her writing, what does her appearance, marital status, etc., have to do with the logic of what she is trying to say. You in fact tried to say it was NOT sexist and in the course of it made a sexist remark. For the record, I don't have a "gang" though I think I may have a few people here I consider friends. Some of them I disagree with on issues, and publically say so. Some I chose to disagree with, and do not continue to argue with, because its pointless. I found your comments offensive and sexist, and perhaps misogynistic, and I have a right to express that opinion. You can feel free to counter all you desire. I have no control over how you feel. I do believe that in one post, you have succeeded in proving Toni's thesis correct, with or without that intention. And frankly I had forgotten our little confrontation in the past, until you just reminded me of it. There was a time when I would just let offensive comments not directed at me slide. But after some diversity training, I've come to think that sitting by quietly while someone is offensive is, by the silence, almost akin to consent. There is no such thing as a TROLL ATTACK GANG here. People have a free will and can chose to respond or not. James

No User
No User

Folks I ran into this troll a few months ago. I?m sorry that this happened to an otherwise great discussion. Your Still Trolling I see - 1 response only from me to you. The farmers say that a pig can't smell it's own stink. That would be you troll boy. By the way the classic definition of a troll is someone who makes inflammatory posts after the zest and zeal for the topic has ended. Another is a troll is someone who intentionally posts derogatory or otherwise inflammatory messages about sensitive topics in an established online community such as an online discussion forum to bait users into responding. Now so everyone can see your errors. With the exception of the one extreme example which is not "subtle" and subtle is exactly what Toni was providing examples of, she could not come up with good examples and said so. I gave my response to the subtle examples she gave. You take issue with that and here is my response. Having someone take credit for someone else's ideas happens everyday and is gender neutral. Having 2 or more Goobers engage in a circle jerk at someone else's expense also happens everyday and is gender neutral. Using sex appeal to gain something desired also happens everyday and is gender neutral. Now if anyone cares to look at all my posts most especially those directed at Toni will see that I really like her articles and in no way am I a MISOGYNIST. Are you going to go to the forum make a post and try to reassemble the TROLL ATTACK GANG? That is what you do! Now I know this troll will proceed to attack me. If it had any brains now that I stuck my foot out with this comment it would refrain from posting there by making me wrong by saying that it would post. In the hopes to limit the troll this is my last post to the troll "JamesRL" in this discussion. Troll boy other folks whom I have had differences with left those differences in that one discussion and let bygones be bygones and moved on with life to bigger and better things. That is what mature adults do. We get it out of our system and move on. Some of us from that discussion have interacted very professionally with each other since. I suggest you let go of your anger and do the same.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Those examples are clearly sexist, in that they would not have happened to a man. You sir are a troll. Palmetto, take one for the team. The question in all seriousness, is not whether these things happen, its whether they are more prevalent that we realise. I can tell you as a manager, if I wanted to pay women "less" I could not, because our HR systems would red flag that as an anomoly. However, women who take a year of Maternity leave come back to the same position they left, while their peers may have progressed, gotten promotions and raises. If they have multiple children, they may find themselves behind those who have none. James