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Sexism is inalienable in any workplace in the patriarchal society we live in today. Women consistently have to navigate work-related struggles and struggles related to interpersonal relations and interactions in the office. Certain sexist workplace practices (subconscious or otherwise) stunt the growth of women and damage their career progression prospects.
Ever heard the saying that you have to work twice as hard or be twice as good as your male counterparts to make it half as far? This is the reality for many women in their careers. There is a running joke in shows like The Office and Bojack Horseman where a woman says something in a work meeting, is ignored, and then a man says the same thing and is applauded like it’s a new, never-been-heard-before, ingenious idea. Women are judged by harsher and more rigid standards than men are. From childhood, women get told that they are more mature than their male counterparts. They are saddled with additional responsibilities and met with harsher criticism and this translates to the workplace too. Stereotypical notions around the abilities of men and women (inspired by gender roles) also serve to worsen the work experience of many women. Imagine a work event being planned and the women are expected to see to the provision of food.
There’s also the problem of credit. Most times, the person perceived to be at the forefront of a project is given credit for work however, women are rarely given leadership positions and so, their contributions to these projects are unrecognised and unappreciated. Women who do take on these roles are called evil for carrying out their jobs accordingly. Firmness means bossiness, when giving criticism, it is “how dare she speak to me this way? Is she not a woman? I have her type at home.”
If you are a woman, I’m almost certain you have had a man talk over you and trivialise your opinions and experiences at least once in your life. Mansplaining is not absent in the workplace and, coupled with the deeply sexist act of constantly interrupting women while they speak, it has no doubt had its effect on the career advancement of several women.
If you have seen the show, “The Office”, then you’ve seen an accurate (albeit exaggerated) depiction of workplace sexism. Inappropriate comments, marginalisation and borderline harassment are what the women of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, have to deal with every day. It is not much different from real-life places of work. Like Michael Scott, many workplace harassers may be unaware of the gravity of their actions. That does not lessen the harm perpetuated or make it permissible. Men in the workplace should realise that their female counterparts are their equals and must be respectful and professional always.
Additionally, the structures that prevent women from progressing in their careers and earning their due while working at the same rate as men in their field should be examined, dismantled and then reinvented to ensure the optimum output from undoubtedly talented and hardworking women.