Over the years the fight for women’s equal treatment has resulted in many positive outcomes. More women get promotions now, women also work in industries that were previously reserved for men only. However, despite the strides that we have made as a society there is still a lot of sexism at the workplace. Male bosses and colleagues do some things that devalue women. With some actions, it is quite obvious that it is sexist but other times it is quite subtle. Some men might not even realize that what they did is sexist because of the patriarchal influence in socialization.
Here are several sexist things that still happen at the workplace that should stop.
- Expecting women to do the “female” tasks at the workplace
In most offices, there is an underlying notion that tasks perceived to be feminine should be done by the women in the office. For example, if there is an office kitchen men will generally act like women should ensure that it’s clean. In the case where colleagues need to serve food, some male workmates will assume that the women should serve them. During office parties, there is an assumption that women love to decorate and organize parties so such tasks are left to them without any discussions.
While some women may enjoy such tasks, it is wrong to assume that women will perform the tasks. The professional setting would dictate that each person tends to their needs such as clean up or serve themselves. Regardless of societal norms like women serving men in social gatherings, professional spaces should consider people’s different backgrounds.
- Insensitive comments that masquerade as jokes
It is common to hear a male colleague tell a female colleague before a client meeting things like, “Wear a low cut top to seal this.” Others will tell them to put on short skirts and such things. Such remarks objectify the woman and disregard professional qualifications. Most of the times such remarks are said as a joke but they are loaded with a lot of sexism.
- Lack of physical boundaries
You ever been in a discussion with someone who keeps touching your arm or shoulder? Most times it is very uncomfortable. It’s even worse when it’s a person of the other gender doing it. Such actions lead to complications because it’s possible that the person did not have sexual intentions but on the other hand it’s uncommon for a man to talk to another man in the office in the same manner.
Another sexist thing that male colleagues subject their female counterparts to is constant remarks on women’s bodies. Women will often get questions on their pregnancy status every time that they have a glow, stomach upsets or gain weight. In the workplace, such remarks are not okay. How Companies Can Protect Their Workers From Sexual Harassment
- Demeaning women’s opinions
A majority of women can attest to having been in a situation at the workplace where their opinion has been devalued. It is especially annoying when men assume that just because you are a woman then you know nothing about a certain topic like cars, sports. The men then mansplain things in a very condescending way.
Additionally, it is also common for women to go through men in order for their ideas to be heard. In many offices, because men have a more influential voice, women have to first present an idea to another man so that he can voice it.
- Pursuing female colleagues
It is common in many instances to have male colleagues make unwelcome remarks towards single women. There is usually a distinction between how male colleagues treat married and unmarried women. This is despite single women showing disinterest. The only time they totally back off is if the woman is ‘taken’. Some men may think that this flattering to the women but very often it offensive. It makes the workplace very uncomfortable.
- Using sexist language
Phrases such as ‘man up’ are often used to tell someone to toughen up. However, such remarks are quite sexist. On the other hand, it is common to use phrases such as ‘dear’, ‘love’ when referring to female colleagues. Hardly will you hear a male colleague use such endearments to refer to another male colleague. In fact terms, men use terms like ‘sir’, ‘boss’ when talking to male counterparts.
Male bosses and colleagues do some of these things without intending to annoy female colleagues. However, they are sexist and make the workplace uncomfortable. Male colleagues should think before giving remarks and question whether their actions are sexist. On the other hand, women should also openly call out their colleagues to sensitize them on sexist behaviour.
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