Some people today will still ask the question: sexism in business – is it real? These people tend to be men. Most women in business have experienced sexism in some way or another. Fortunately, women do have protections against sexism in place today.
There was a time when less than one percent of office workers were women. Women literally couldn’t even be secretaries towards the end of the nineteenth century. Today, there are female CEO’s and other female executives. Plenty of women in business earn at least a middle-class wage, in contrast to the poorly-paid secretaries of the 1950’s. Sexual harassment laws have made workplaces much safer for women everywhere. Women will have female bosses. Feminism has been around for generations by this point and it is no longer the new and fragile idea that it once was.
However, sexism in business is still very real. People in business can take steps to combat it, making things better for everyone in the process. There are some bosses who will never change, but many people in business can and should make things better for women.
Many women today will not experience the sort of overt discrimination that once existed. However, persistent and low-level sexism still remains. They might have male colleagues comment on their appearance in a way that would never happen with men. Their male colleagues might make casual sexist jokes around them, and the women will just have to suck it up and accept it in many cases.
People will often say vague things about why women shouldn’t be promoted. They might talk about how she just doesn’t have ‘leadership qualities,’ even though they never really specify what those leadership qualities are. They might just say that a woman doesn’t have what ‘it’ takes, once again, without being specific as to what ‘it’ is in the first place. Even sexist people usually struggle to be blatantly sexist in conversation in public today, so they tend to use coded language instead.
Overt sexism still hasn’t gone away entirely. Some very conservative bosses truly don’t want women in charge or even in high-level positions. Some bosses refuse to hire women who they perceive as unattractive or old. There are bosses who think that all women with children should only focus on their children and that they shouldn’t even have jobs, and they will do their hiring accordingly. Other bosses will think that women without children are flawed in some way and they shouldn’t be working either. These bosses tend to discriminate against women of color and LGBT women even more strongly, and they might not even consider hiring disabled women.
These men might not specifically say sexist things in front of the women who they are harming, but their strong sexism will still inform their decisions. They might talk about it with their colleagues afterward, reinforcing the sexism of the overall workplace. Overt sexists do tend to be older, but there are younger people who are picking up the same attitudes.
Women themselves cannot get around the sexism of others by altering their behavior, which is one of the things that is so insidious about it all, read more on this website. If they have kids, they face discrimination. If they don’t have kids, they face discrimination. Aggressive women and submissive women both receive criticism that is sexist. Women who dress plainly are criticized and women who dress nicely are criticized. Beautiful women and ugly women, as well as all women in between, are held accountable for their looks and other things that are beyond their control.
Some people in situations like this place(visit) all of the burden on the victims. This is unfair and it doesn’t work. Sexists will often feel that way no matter what. They are not reasonable people. Getting them to change their minds or at least removing them from power is often the only way forward. Getting more women into business can help reduce the sexism involved. As the business world becomes less male-dominated, some of the sexism may go away on its own. The culture itself has to change, however, and this is the sort of thing that is going to take a long time.