Fabulously Broke (a fantastic no-nonsense female blogger) approached me to see if I was interested in participating in a one time carnival about our experiences in our industry, noting whether it was female or male dominated, and sharing an experience where I felt that there was male/female disparity. She wanted me to share a bit about my background and my industry. So here goes!
Although I can’t think of a personal male-female situation in my industry that comes to mind, I can think of my experience and observations in my industry as a whole. I work in a primarily female dominated industry sector and even though it is not a male-dominated industry, I feel as though males tend to “climb the ladder” more quickly and more effectively. They are also more respected without having to “earn the respect” so to say. More male employees are in middle management or management, even if they actually have fewer years of experience than other female employees. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy working with the males in my industry. Men, compared to women, are just not as nit-picky and are more drama-free (sorry, girls!)… period. Actually, come to think of it, there is one situation that comes to mind, but it doesn’t affect me directly and I have not asked my colleague what she thought of the situation. I’ll share with you anyway. My two colleagues, both middle-management and in equal “levels” when it comes to rank were at a meeting with us lowly non-middle-management peons. When discussing what needed to be done in order to take action on a new project, the male middle-management employee asked the female middle-management employee to do something task oriented and mindless (like making a list to put up in the office) but this menial task actually fell under the responsibility of the male middle-management employee. She smiled graciously (but possibly in a way that said “who do you think I am? Your maid?? Do it yourself!”) and said she would make that list.
I pride myself on being quite observant on facial gestures and non-verbal communication, and my female colleague seemed to not be too happy that my male colleague asked her to do something like that. This is not only the first time that he has asked her to do menial things in a meeting. I think it has happened about two to three times consecutively. Again, I haven’t asked her what she thought because I don’t want to start office gossip or anything, so I kept my observations to myself.
I don’t know if my male colleague realizes that he’s acting that way. Is my male colleague implying that his time is more important than my female colleagues? They are both equally busy at work. Maybe I am being overly feminist and overly sensitive about this, but sometimes it seems that male colleagues are better at delegating tasks to females. Maybe it’s not delegating and maybe he’s inspiring team work and collaboration between the employees. Maybe it’s the difference in how women and men interpret things and finish projects at work.
This male middle management colleague of mine is a hard worker, great to work with and drama-free, but sounds very “traditional-circa-1950′s-male-and-female-role-playing” in his home life. But I might be making assumptions.
I’m interested to know what you think? Is this a subtle example of male-domination in a female-dominated industry?
If you were the female middle-management employee, what would you do?
Would you delegate things to him at meetings? Speak to him privately about it? Stay “mum” about the whole subject and let things slide?
Here’s what other female bloggers participating in the carnival have to say:
“If I were a Boy” Carnival
This post is part of a series of bloggers sharing their candid experiences or observations about women in the workplace which is not at all meant to be a male-bashing expedition whatsoever.
Please head over to these other wonderful bloggers and read about their experiences.
- Jacq of Single Mom Rich Mom — Accounting, 40s
- Fabulously Broke in the City — Consulting, 20s
- Stacking Pennies — Engineering, 20s
- Musings of an Abstract Aucklander — Publishing, 20s
- Little Miss Moneybags — Publishing — 20s
- Dog Ate my Finances
- Young and Thrifty — Public Sector, 20s
- Paranoid Asteroid
- Insomniac Lab Rat — Science, 20s