Do you feel empowered in your work life? Or do you feel that your gender dictates your career?
I have always felt very empowered in my life. Growing up and into my adult years, I never felt like I was unable to do anything or that I was being held back because of my gender. I always had very big ambitions and never felt that I was being blocked by anything.
I was extremely ambitious and so I decided once my kids were old enough, I wanted to go back to school as I wanted a career I could always fall back on. Never in my decision did I ever feel that my gender would ever affect my job as I was positive that my skills would speak for themselves and that I could work into whatever career I chose.
I worked extremely hard and put myself through college and kept going until I got my designation. I honestly thought the world was open and I could go as far as I wanted in the career path that I chose.
So, I got out of school, worked super hard and worked my way up the corporate ladder. The one thing that I noticed as I did that though was that there is still a lot of bias towards women out there based on age old beliefs that have been instilled in all of us for many years.
I started by seeing that if a man said something to certain employees, the employee would just do what was asked of them and that was that. However, if a female said the exact same things to that employee, they were called a bitch and all sorts of other names. I think this is the first sign that I noticed where I just kind of sat back and started to really look at the situation.
At first, I was quite shocked by it all and thought maybe it was a one-time situation and that it was just that certain employee who thought that way but then I seen it more and more the more years I worked.
I continued to see other things arise in the workplace as well towards women. If males were referring to most of the ladies in the office, they tended to call them girls but yet and males were referred to as men. Again, this seems like a small factor to many but for someone working their way up in the corporate world, this is very demeaning to women.
I had gone through years of training to become a designated accountant and to go through that kind of work to have men refer to you as a bookkeeper was humiliating. I have nothing against bookkeepers as that is your chosen profession but to have people feel that just because of my gender, the three little letters at the end of my name did not have the same meaning as the same three letters at the end of a male’s name was infuriating.
Then came the day that I was called honey. I sat there in such shock, under what circumstances should a female ever be called honey in the workplace? I had gone through seven years of training to become a designated accountant to have a man refer to me as honey.
The final blow came the day that I was told that I had absolutely no chance of getting a specific position that I had worked so hard for because I was a female and that they wanted a male for that position. I still fought the system and thought if I worked hard enough and showed that I deserved the position then I would still get it because there seriously could not be this level of ignorance in the work force yet but unfortunately in some areas there still is. The only way to resolve that situation was to leave the position that I was working at at the time because it was not a situation where the ignorance was going to change.
Up until having a career, I did not realize the magnitude of the mindset still out there today but what I have learned in my career path to date is that there is still a lot of change that needs to happen in the world. What you have between your legs should have zero effect on what your career opportunities are or what your pay scale is.
This is not the 1950’s anymore and as ladies, we need to start speaking out a lot more about this sort of treatment. When raising our children, it is important to let them know they can be whatever they want to be and that nothing should hold them back. Choose to fight the ignorance head on and continue to push for equal rights and opportunities for everyone no matter what your gender is.