Being the only woman at work isn’t exactly a walk in the park. While you have your eyes set on achieving professional goals and milestones, the men around you may not exactly be on your team, and it’s up to you to make sure you fight for your right to speak your mind, do good work, and take up any space necessary to be the very best you can be.
But getting all that done isn’t without its challenges.
1. You can be tough as nails but men still treat you with kid gloves
They’ll tell you “it’s okay” and “don’t worry” and “everything will be fine.” But, in truth, you’re not even stressed. They’re the ones who need reassurance.
2. Your colleagues tell you they value your opinion, then criticize you for expressing it
Nothing like being told you’re allowed to have an opinion and then having it stripped away like every other part of your humanity.
3. You often have to sit through sexist conversations
Blatant sexist talk is just blindly accepted as part of a male-dominated environment. And when you don’t participate, they think it’s “cute” and “funny.” News flash: it’s not.
4. At least once a day, someone will mansplain something (anything!) to you
You could be talking to someone about the weather and they’ll go on a tirade about how the weather works. As if you don’t already know.
5. You’re told to “smile” at the most random moments
Or someone will tell you that you should smile more…because that’s all women are good for, isn’t it?
6. You’re expected to be “one of the guys” while also maintaining a “safe” level of femininity
They want you to toughen up so you’re not a weakling, but also play up your femininity to appease them. You know what I say? BYE.
7. Locker room talk is par for the course during company lunches
“It’s like the dessert menu when pretty girls walk by. That’s what my dad always said.” Wait, what?
8. You hesitate before changing your hair or clothing style for fear that your colleagues will offer unsolicited opinions
Someone at some point will say something. And then what do you do? Grin and bear it? I think not.
9. Your colleagues interrupt or talk over you during a meeting
Why allow a female voice to speak up when there are five male ones that could overpower it? So frustrating!
10. Or worse…they invalidate any intelligent point you make simply because they can
Yes, go ahead and pretend I didn’t just say the smartest thing you’ve heard all week.
11. You constantly feel outnumbered and, in turn, constantly feel threatened
Will they yell at me? Ridicule me? Make me feel less than simply because I’m a woman?
12. Your male colleagues are extra nice to you to the point of being disingenuous…and you’re certain it’s because of your gender
As if you need a male to soothe and guide you every step of your professional journey. Please.
13. Meetings often consist of dudes puffing out their chest and trying to outdo each other
And you’re just sitting there confounded by the scene unfolding before you.
14. At least once every hour, you find yourself muttering things like: “Really?” or “Are you kidding me?”
I mean, what else are you supposed to say when your male coworkers are consistently acting a fool?
15. Your colleagues band together at any cost to make you feel like the odd one out
Especially if you’ve stolen their spotlight.
16. You feel exhausted at the thought of sitting through another day-long, male-dominated meeting
Because who wants to sit in a conference room and objectify women or talk about how great we are when there’s actual work to do?
17. You’re accused of being “bitchy” or having a “bad attitude” when all you really want is to get shit done
And, really, it’s all because you’re awesome at your job and they’re intimidated by that.
18. What’s worse is that you’re told you’re “overreacting” when you have a legitimate complaint about something
You could literally be clenching your jaw and staring straight into the depths of their soul and they’d still try to make you feel inferior somehow.
19. Your best ideas will be passed off as someone else’s
Because “it sounds better coming from a guy.” Sure it does…
20. You’re made to feel like you need to apologize for taking up any space, being assertive or simply knowing your job
Because how dare you take the spotlight away from a guy?
21. You have to sit through countless hours of men complaining that the #MeToo movement is a “witch hunt”
And this rant is usually followed by a “not all men” discussion.
This all seems like a lot to handle, but you’re strong. You’ve got this!