Women and work: international women’s day

Went along to a women’s event in my office to celebrate international women’s day. We discussed our experience of being a women in the work place and future challenges. Thought I would share my experience here.

Have I experienced sexism?

Yes, but not always overt. When I was seventeen I wanted to study psychology and went along to university open days. Now in the UK you ideally want your course to be recognised by the British psychological society. The university I was looking at was starting a new course and not yet recognised. I asked the course leader whether the course would be recognised in time, he told me not to worry my pretty head. I,of course, went to another university for that reason alone. I was gleeful when I found out later that the course hadn’t been recognised.

Yep; I have had the classic of having my bum pinched. I worked in a hotel bar and when I leaned down to place drinks ona table my bum was pinched by a customer. The son couldn’t decide whether to congratulate his dad or be offended on my behalf. I couldn’t decide either. I was in shock and he a customer, so what I could was limited. I think I just glared and commented that   Wasn’t appropriate.

How has the work place changed?

When I started in the civil service I was regaled with stories of what it was to be like included that if a women got married she had to resign.  Now of course that doesn’t happen.

My work is very supportive has good maternity benefits and both genders make use of the flexible working policy. We still don’t have enough women in senior management, but that the same as most workplaces.

Though more often than not I am still the only women in the room when I work on projects of a technical nature, specially when I’m at a clients. Be great when that less likely to be the case.

Challenges

I don’t perceive my gender to be an issue in the workplace. In general I’ve found discrimination around my disability more of an issue. As I’m still single I also don’t need to overly worry about maternity offers, and balancing home and work. But those are issues that my friends are grappling with, both male and female.

But as i reported in an earlier post I was secretly glad I wasn’t accepted by Duke for their MBA programme as I couldn’t see how I could have kids and pay off the massive student loan I would have accursed. Some of that is just an age thing, and an inbuilt assumption that student loans don’t have repayment holidays if your on maternity leave. To widen the appeal of MBA for women can repayment holidays on student loans be built-in?

What has been your experience at work based on your gender? What do you think the future challenges are?

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