, Corporate Counsel

After Decades of Progress, She Still Has to Order Lunch

In-House Straight

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A book about professional women in the workplace has some disturbing findings about what they're still expected to do.

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  • Withheld Purposefully

    Unfortunately, these examples are a small subset of the many ways in which women still are "kept in their place" and denied equal opportunities for the best work (because they‘re kept busy taking notes, etc.) that leads to advancement for the men (who aren‘t asked to spend time doing such tasks), often scapegoated when anything goes wrong, still denied equal pay (Senate recently voted down a bill to address this) and often denigrated (in ways overt and subtle) basically (in my opinion) by being treated at work most likely in the manner the men treat their wives at home. To wit, examples in my own career: I have been called "bimbo" and "scenery"; been told (by my boss, the GC of a major company) that a man needed to be sent to an important meeting I‘d spent months working on because "a man would get a better result"; been to countless meetings with clients and other counsel and had them look to a more junior male as the meeting leader until I had to speak up and state that I was the leader (and if you knew me, you‘d know I‘m not shy or any shrinking violet personality - that‘s how overt the problem and assumptions are) and/or been completely ignored/not looked at/not spoken to as if I didn‘t exist at the meeting (none of which behavior was corrected or gently re-directed by my male colleagues as they could have/should have); been told to "calm down" even when I remain perfectly calm and rational (whoever tells a man to "calm down" - ?); was told that "no one liked me" and I should look for a new job at a company coinky-dinkily after I had asked for a raise based on my contributions to the company and also raised the concern that other women in the company were not being paid equally to comparable male counterparts (which, as GC, I felt a duty to ensure the company would not be subject to potential discrimination claims) and, at present, I have a male colleague who throws both arms up in the air to stop me from talking because, I assume, he gets tired of hearing his wife yammer at home and/or hears my speaking much in the way Charlie Brown heard his teacher (even though I am telling him important things he needs to hear and, if I didn‘t, I‘d get yelled at for failing to bring them to his attention). These are all small but constant and, frankly, infuriating (to any woman with a brain, healthy self esteem and desire to succeed) reminders that we are far from gender-neutral in the workplace.

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