A blog about self-discovery, politics, and general awesomeness.
I only have professional experience in one field: education where it is severely unbalanced with respect to sex. It's like 90/10 women/men (elementary level, I think it's less extreme in upper grades). The really out of whack thing in that field is that the percentage of women to men in administrative and supervisory positions above the school/classroom level is disproportionate to the classroom/lower paying jobs. Most male teachers who are relatively competant and good at their jobs (in teaching) will be promoted to higher positions of authority. I think part of it has to do with the fact that there are not as many male teachers and so they get a lot of professional attention, trying to place more men in more prominent positions. Also, I think there is a culture where the men do the managing and the women do the teaching. It doesn't really make sense and I couldn't name any individuals who actually think this way, but that;s the way jobs are distributed.I do think that in many cases women end of falling short of the achievements of their make counterparts. I think a lot of women make choices for their families that hinder or stunt their career aspirations, like maternity leave, moving for a spouses job, taking care of ailing/aging parents. Just my two cents.
I used to work for a female Associate Professor in school. I learned a lot, particularly that I'd never choose a career in academia. She'd done everything right; 20+ years post-doc, her CV was like a book. She taught and published and researched and mentored. She kept getting passed over for full Professor. I don't know if it was her cordial-but-formal relationship with the Dean and the Dept Head, but when you see less-qualified and less-experienced candidates get promoted over her, it sucks. Academia seemed like an insular who-likes-you-best club.In corporate software, I never felt any gender bias until I went into programming. Even after I got a couple years experience under my belt, management at most places was strangely uncomfortable with seeing me as a programmer. I learned to promote my technical writing which seemed to relax everyone. Meanwhile, male friends with less programming experience were getting the jobs I wanted. I don't want to narrow it to gender; after all, maybe their experience was more robust, they were a better fit, yadda. But it happened enough that I consciously changed my approach to getting programming jobs. In software, people just seem to be used to seeing female technical writers and male programmers.
I thought I had dodged the discrimination bullet being in HR...that was until my company went through a reorg and I was told my new boss was the CFO. I didn't work for him for a month before he told me they were 'going in a different direction w/HR'...only to find out that I was being replaced by his army buddy!! So the good 'ol boy network bit me in the ass!
I think there are varying degrees of sexism in any career field. In mine, I've noticed through the years that women who are in the higher ranks on average tend to have very dominant personality traits, those typically attributed to men. Interestingly enough, in many cases I've enjoyed working for/with these women more than their male counterparts.
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