The Ugly Truth: Gender Inequality by Men and Women
Gender inequality has become a huge topic of debate. While it's not a new argument, the issues surrounding it seem to be more complicated than previously thought.
Given that the world is slowly becoming aware of sexuality and gender diversity, there does appear to be light at the end of the tunnel, but there's still a distance to go. We discussed in a previous article how societal norms and mainstream entertainment is still taking a long time to not only accept but to include LGBTQIA communities - and not as some fringe collective that can't integrate or individuals that are portrayed as stereotypes.
If we take a step back and pan out to look at the subject of inequality as a whole, it pretty much effects everyone on some level. This is largely due to the continuation of a social model born out a patriarchal socio-economic structure. Where women make more money than men as stars of adult films, men make more money than women when in management-level positions, and trans, gender fluid and gender queer people are treated with the most prejudice.
All such injustices are bred from a misogynistic hierarchy that only best serves a select number of individuals, which coincidently make up the majority of the 1% i.e. white, middle aged, (seemingly) heterosexual men.
This becomes abundantly clear when you work within the corporate world.
I experienced this first hand whilst working for a large, international company. While my team consisted of a surprisingly diverse mixture of individuals, this was not the case where mid and high level management were concerned.
Even those who excelled as sales advisors, who eventually went on to become team leaders and possibly even a team manager, would reach a dead end. Even if you had previous experience and / or the desired qualifications to work your way up the ranks, it simply wouldn't have been an option. Those up the top, clearly planned to stay there and keep everyone else exactly where they were, unless of course you had some other advantage.
What made matters worse, is what I went on to find out several months after my employment started...
When I attended my face-to-face interview, I was nervous and pretty much unprepared. I was given fairly short notice and I had a big retouching project to take care of, as I was a freelance digital retoucher at this time... but that's not an acceptable excuse. What was the real reason I was so unprepared? I loathed the idea of working in finance, but at the time I really needed a cash injection and still, I felt like a traitor to myself.
Yet here I was, at the interview; fluffing up my responses, my mind going blank throughout and I just knew I wouldn't get a call back. As far as interviews go, it was bad and definitely my worst to date. So you can imagine my surprise when a few days to a week later, I got a call back to inform me that I had been successful. To say I was bewildered would be an understatement, how on earth could I have possibly passed the interview? It was shockingly bad! Nevertheless, I started my training and worked there for 6 months or so before I threw in the towel.
Going back to my previous statement, there was indeed something that I discovered during my time there... One day, I was speaking with my team manager, who really was one of the best in the department. He was also completely above board and yet very empathetic - a rare quality in this industry!
I asked him why was I given a job here. I completely blew the interview. He hesitated initially and slowly responded. "Yeah, I heard about that... um, well it was **** that interviewed you, right?" I confirmed that it was indeed the person who interviewed me. He continued. "Yeah, I heard that the interview didn't go so well, he told me that... but he also said that you were really hot, so he decided to give you the job anyway, and will probably ask you out."
At this point my face went deadpan, flatter than a pancake. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. I responded. "So let me get this straight, the manager of that team over there, gave me the job purely because he was hoping to get sex out of it?" My manager nodded "Basically, yeah. I think he was hoping you'd be on his team. Sorry, I know it's pretty bad... but it is genuinely good to have you on our on team!"
Well, I was glad that my manager was honest about it and he really did encourage me and tried to get the best work out of me while always trying to be fair and not pushing us all too hard. Plus, we could always talk directly and freely without it being weird, so I knew he wasn't lying.
I mulled it over and it all became clear. Of course, why else would he give me the job, when I performed so terribly in the interview? It also made sense why **** was being overly nice to me whenever we crossed paths at work, making a point of drumming up conversation wherever he could. He was working up the courage to ask me out. This isn't even a co-worker, this is supposed to be a manager.
I was annoyed for two reasons: 1. That he had the audacity to think that by giving me a job it would be his ticket to screwing me. 2. There were 50 applicants for every 1 job that was given and that was just at the face-to-face interview stage, never mind the thousands more that tried to get to that point during the phone call interview.
Someone far more suited, who may have had a much more of an interest and the intent to stay long term was potentially denied an opportunity because some creep wanted to get his end away!
What's even more disturbing is that some women who have been in such situations see it as a win... simply because they have benefited in some way. What they aren't seeing is the clear disrespect and lack of equality that comes with such 'opportunities'. It's like they say, not every opportunity is a good one or necessarily right for you.
Naturally, once I had found this out I stayed completely away from this 'manager' and made it clear that I had no interest in communicating with him. He understood the message and quickly realised I knew. After that, he kept his distance but it didn't stop him from perving at me whenever I was in the same working area.
This is just one defined example of how misogyny can appear in the workplace. While there was no confrontation, no sexual harassment or abusive behaviour, the whole situation derived from a warped understanding of social dominance and sexual gratification.
This ideology is not only played out by a large number of men, it is also reinforced by many women, who have (like their male counterparts) been conditioned to accept it as the norm by peers, family and society as a whole. Whether it's sexual harassment, the bullying of others, use of gender biases, it continues to occur on every social level.
It's imperative that such notions are not continually passed down to future generations if we wish to break cycle. All it takes is for all genders to treat each other with mutual respect and adopt common courtesy. While the many scenarios are vast and can be complicated, the solution really is that simple.
If we wish to truly change how people interact with one another and ensure that respect and fairness is the benchmark for a community and the conduct of ALL who are part of it, we need to start by tackling these detrimental perceptions and re-educating people on what it means to be respectful and dignified. With that said, it also means holding offending businesses accountable for their toxic company culture and ensuring that appropriate measures are taken.
Opinion piece by Brenda Adiyiah for Burn the Night.
In association with Rose Talks Sex
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