Might I work in the most sexist environment ever?

(31 Posts)
TwentyCupsOfTea Wed 15-Jun-16 22:43:08

Ok, disclaimer, I probably don't.

But I'm getting incredibly fed up.

I work in a very male dominated workplace - only two women work outside the office. I cannot stand being referred to as one of the "office girls". Two men work in this office - I do the same job as them (arguably a better one - but that's another thread), yet inexplicably earn less.

I also regularly find myself seething inside at the language used by the men 'not a bad little piece that one', 'I'd give her a good seeing to' etc etc.
It seems like every five minutes I hear something that makes me irate. I constantly call them out on it - which has resulted in being called a crazy feminist and man hater.

Please tell me I'm not alone, because I don't even know if I'm over reacting here.

Fuzzywuzzywasabear Wed 15-Jun-16 22:51:36

Sounds pretty standard for an office full of men, I get the same apart from I swear as good as they do, which apparently is offensive but they can f and blind all they like hmm

I get told I'm very "yay women" because I believe in woooo shit like equal pay hmm

I spend most of my days breathing deeply and counting to 10 I'm a fucking saint grinhalo

DaleMaily Wed 15-Jun-16 22:56:57

That must be exhausting, calling them out on it every time. It's like you're having to do two jobs at once, all day. I applaud you for doing it.

IrenetheQuaint Wed 15-Jun-16 23:02:14

Christ, that's hideous. What industry do you work in? Could you move jobs?

TwentyCupsOfTea Wed 15-Jun-16 23:09:36

Motor industry (suprise suprise).

It honestly is exhausting; I'm not sure I'm improving matters. A customer commented on my breasts the other day, I hit the roof and got him banned, general reaction seemed to be 'there she goes again' and was told to take it as a compliment.

I've posted about my job before, I think I can and probably should leave. I'm reluctant though, as my (mostly female!) managers (based at HO) keep commenting how well I'm doing, and there's been talk of progression. Also not sure if anywhere else would be different.

I've worked in bars for years (still do the odd night) and have yet to experience everyday sexism quite like this.

PalmerViolet Wed 15-Jun-16 23:09:58

Just remind them that you don't hate men, just assholes.

That sounds so horribly tiring, what a pair of utter wankbadgers you're having to deal with sad

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 15-Jun-16 23:18:28

I also regularly find myself seething inside at the language used by the men 'not a bad little piece that one', 'I'd give her a good seeing to' etc etc

Saying that once in my office would result in disciplinary action and compulsory diversity training. Repeating the offence would result in dismissal.

I've never experienced anything like this. The fact they banned the customer shows they know , as employers they cannot tolerate such behaviour so they really have no excuse.

How infuriating. Is it possible to challenge the pay disparity?

TwentyCupsOfTea Wed 15-Jun-16 23:59:01

We aren't supposed to discuss pay with each other - the other two have told me their salaries (ive seen their pay slips left out on desks too, so I know it's true), they do not know mine.

Management came in one day and saw payslips out in the open. We were all told they had to be kept private.
Genuinley not sure how to bring this up, when I'm not 'allowed' to know I earn less...

TwentyCupsOfTea Wed 15-Jun-16 23:59:29

Wish you wre my boss lass!

KateInKorea Thu 16-Jun-16 04:39:52

With salary you will have to play hardball.

Assuming pay rises are annual/end of year. You need to start prepping your boss now that you are expecting a pay rise that puts you on a par with the men. You know that you are not getting equivalence, feel it is impossible to justify and expect it to be rectified. Serious face, and no apologies.

shinynewusername Thu 16-Jun-16 08:06:38

I've worked in bars for years (still do the odd night) and have yet to experience everyday sexism quite like this

The problem is that your employer fosters a sexist environment.

Bars used to be incredibly sexist (I did a lot of catering work in the 1990s). Female staff were expected to put up with leering/groping customers and colleagues because "It's all part of the job." Gradually, bars woke up to the fact that they were putting off female customers, as well as losing good female staff, and most changed the working culture and took sexism more seriously. The motor trade has yet to do the same.

If you are good at your current job, you will be good at others - leave and work somewhere that doesn't treat you like crap.

Marmalade85 Thu 16-Jun-16 08:52:35

Start making encouraging comments regarding their bulges. They will feel uncomfortable and experience how you feel.

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Thu 16-Jun-16 10:46:03

I disagree Marmalade, most men who think it's acceptable to make a woman uncomfortable with sexual comments don't feel the same in the reverse situation because it lacks the power dynamic. (Obviously there are exceptions to this rule)

In my experience, the only time men like this feel truly uncomfortable about sexual advances is when they come from other men but I don't think homophobia is an improvement.

sashh Thu 16-Jun-16 11:44:49

Genuinley not sure how to bring this up, when I'm not 'allowed' to know I earn less...

This is a well known tactic, have a look at any union website for advice.

But you could send a letter to HO asking to confirm that you are being paid the same as the men doing the same job.

Fuzzywuzzywasabear Thu 16-Jun-16 12:43:53

Oneflew I know several men who have worked on factory lines where men are the minority, they can be made to feel equally uncomfortable.

You're being a bit sexist IMO.

MadamDeathstare Thu 16-Jun-16 12:54:12

For the equal pay problem, you could look at what other people in your industry are paid for the same job with the same level of experience, by looking at ads for those jobs. If there are ads for your own company that would be especially helpful.

If you have female managers at HQ, can you have one of them as a mentor and ask them how they would advise dealing with this? They might have gone through it too in their earlier career. How did they get past it to reach higher management levels in the company? Also, if they are at a more senior level, they may be in a better position to do something about it, tightening up HR's attitude to sexism would be a start.

AristotleTheGreat Thu 16-Jun-16 12:59:25

I have worked in a similar environment (motor industry too).
I have never ever been related the same than my colleagues. My work as always been seen as not as good. (Incl telling me that if I was doing one work quicker than everyone else ot's because I wasn't doing it right! Well no I was doing it more efficiently!). Ideas never listened to.
I left.

Sorry I know it doesn't help but yes this is a company wide issue. At least at the level of the branch you are in. It's not going to change.

VestalVirgin Thu 16-Jun-16 13:08:29

I'm reluctant though, as my (mostly female!) managers (based at HO) keep commenting how well I'm doing, and there's been talk of progression.

Can you address the payment issue with them?

Or, actually, ask for more pay than the men get. (Not phrase it like this, just feign ignorance and make a suggestion as to how much you should be paid that is more than what you saw on their payslips.)

Some sort of compensation for the workplace harrassment. I think it is more likely that you can get money that way than by actually demanding compensation for the harrassment.

FinallyHere Thu 16-Jun-16 13:32:12

Re: negotiating a pay rise, I think that there are better places to start than 'expecting to be on a par with someone else'. I'd always start by referring to my own end results, targets and delivery against those targets. It's much more powerful to focus on your own excellence.

Only if you meet resistance, you can refer to industry standards as PP mentioned and in passing float the idea that you are delivering against higher targets than 'others in the business'. Hope it works for you.

The bottom lime is, are you prepared to sort out an alternative role you can walk into, so regretfully tell them you have a much, much better offer and let them meet it? And walk if they don't.

This is regretfully yet another reason why women pay tends to lag mens, so often women say 'oh well, I'm happy there, I'm doing well' while men say 'I'm worth more...' Moving jobs is much more likely to earn you a major uplift than negotiation, unless you have an alternative offer on the table. All the best.

FinallyHere Thu 16-Jun-16 13:33:46

Its lovely to know people think you are 'going places' but don't be fooled into accepting 'jam tomorrow'. The salary they pay is how to keep score...

TwentyCupsOfTea Thu 16-Jun-16 14:30:38

Thank you everyone, great advice here.
I have a 'mentor' of sorts, this is something (pay) I would feel I can discuss with her.

I agree with a PP, I want more money because I think I deserve it. However, I'm not happy for the men to be paid more, when the only difference between us is our sex!

It's tempting to turn the sexism back on the men at times - but I don't want that, I want none. Don't we all smile

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Thu 16-Jun-16 14:37:38

Fuzzy I think accusations of sexism are a bit out of line seeing as I clarified that a) I was talking about men who thought it was acceptable to make a woman feel uncomfortable with sexual comments and b) I said there were obviously exceptions to this so I thought the NAMALT was obvious. hmm

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Thu 16-Jun-16 14:40:25

Glad to hear you've got someone you can trust to talk to Twenty - I certainly agree that it shouldn't be a race to the bottom.

FWIW even if you're not supposed to discuss pay, surely the fact that you know you are getting paid less than your male colleagues gives you a very firm ground for challenging this discrepancy.

TheSparrowhawk Thu 16-Jun-16 14:59:22

I'd buy a notebook and very conspicuously write down every sexist comment the men make in it. Every now and again ask them to repeat what they've said. If they ask what you're writing, say some examples of how they speak in the office, to show their wives/sisters/daughters or just say 'oh nothing,' and smile. That'll stop them quick smart.

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