Do you encounter male condescension at work? Does it come from men in traditional marriages—which I assume means partnerships in which women don't work? Was it verbal or in the form of failing to promote you? I was trying to figure out if I ever had this experience with women being condescending, too, because I wasn't operating according to the corporate culture the way they deemed I should. I think I can count more women like that on both hands than I can men—but that might just be my experience.
For a long time I was overly modest about my work and sometimes I still am. But I have male colleagues and peers who go overboard talking about themselves and their work. At the end of the day, they get better-paying and more frequent gigs because they know how to advocate for themselves. Nobody tells them that they need to pipe down because no one wants to hear it. Self-advocacy is huge.
Women rarely get credit for anything, especially not in the tech field, and generally not in any field where women are in the minority.
So, when the New York Times wrote about Ellen Pao's sexual discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, it will not suprise you that the lead essentially obscured women's contributions to the creation of the Internet while also managing to be a pretty crappy start to an otherwise compelling story:
I’d like to spend the next eight weeks with you looking at the history of weddings and marriage in Western culture, talking about how marriage is used as a tool of civil and economic inequality, and how the gender binary plays a role in how we think about weddings and helps to fuel the wasteful consumerism associated with THE SPECIAL DAY. Mainly I’d like to look at how anyone can say NO to the pitfalls of the wedding industrial complex.
I was lucky to have a combination of humble and down to earth mentors in real life and to understand how it important it was to be careful about who you take your cues from in the business world. What works for everybody else may not work for you, especially if you are a feminist.
The New York Times writes that our country is in such economic peril that men who used to be able to work respectable white collar positions or even blue collar ones are now intrepidly and patriotically finding honor in the lowly positions of women. Apparently it has been this dire for at least a decade. A Times analysis showed that occupations that are more than 70 percent female accounted for a third of all job growth for men between 2000 to 2010. Equal Opportunity Employment now extends to white college-educated men. Congratulations, ladies, your work is so easy men can do it and get paid more while taking your jobs.
Feminists at work, whether they are mothers or not, have yet to reconcile several conflicts related to class, race, and culture. Most conversations about women in the workplace fall along two lines: they are single and ruthless, or they are coupled and supported outside of corporate work by a partner who helps them tend to family life. I have a feeling that there are many more working feminists who get left out of the discussion, though I can't figure out why that is.