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Working in leadership in a business as a woman and wondering WHY I BOTHER

(32 Posts)
Dixeychick Fri 24-Nov-17 19:29:51

Rant alert.
I'm the director of a function in a FTSE350 business, with 15 years experience in my function & 7 years in this business. I know the business like the back of my hand, I care about it, I bloody well know what I'm doing.
I'm also in my mid 30s & heavily pregnant.
Apart from HR, there is only one other female director in the business, in total there's 7 women out of the 60 most senior employees. They keep going on and on about how much they want to increase the number of women in senior roles...
I've spent the vast majority of my day being mansplained to, ignored, talked over & belittled by a variety of middle aged men, all in discussions in which I was by a mile the most knowledgeable & experienced person in the room on the topics being discussed.
Why bloody bother??!!!! It's like if you don't have grey hair & a penis you're not relevant.
Please tell me it's not just me having to deal with this shit.....

buckingfrolicks Fri 24-Nov-17 19:32:39

It’s not only you. All I can say is it gets less as you get your own gray hairs.

God almighty sometimes men are just so disappointing

NamelessEnsign Fri 24-Nov-17 19:34:03

Sorry you’ve had such a sucky day.

You do it because you’re awesome at your work. Because you deserve it. Because for every twatty mansplainer there are five junior colleagues (men and women) watching you handle yourself like a pro, with grace under pressure.

Because eventually things have to change. Because they can talk as much they they like but you’re the one to make things happen. You have the power.

wine and gin

user1477249785 Fri 24-Nov-17 21:30:54

God it's the worst isn't it OP. I no longer put up with this now. I give as good as I get and call out bad behavior. As a strategy, it's no more effective: these days I am accused of being aggressive or other such words that basically mean 'don't know my place as a woman'. Big sigh.

oldlaundbooth Fri 24-Nov-17 21:32:21

Just bite back.

WhatevaPeeps Fri 24-Nov-17 21:38:53

Typically OP I say to myself ‘what would a man do in this position’. Irritating I still 1) have to do this and 2) it even occurs to me to think this way and 3) it actually makes a bloody difference but by shifting my thoughts and behaviour by pretending to be a totally different gender and person I usually achieve the desired outcome.

redexpat Fri 24-Nov-17 21:48:19

You should start listening to the guilty feminist podcast.

Dixeychick Fri 24-Nov-17 22:12:26

It drives me mad that the only way to get my voice heard is to shout people down & act like a man but it seems to be the only way. I'd love to find a female-dominated, or even balanced, place to work but in my sector (manufacturing & technology) such a nirvana doesn't exist. Bloody men. They're all so supremely confident & full of their own importance, however little they actually know about something. Unlike me, constantly wracked with insecurities despite actually knowing my stuff & being qualified. Gaaaah. Glad it's not just me!

2ndSopranos Sat 25-Nov-17 08:38:45

I hear you. I share an office with my 50 something male boss. I'm in my 30s and female, and a senior member of staff in my own right. I am mistaken for his PA weekly. If I was older and male I wouldn't get someone snapping at me that I should be able to say if he's free to discuss x in y location at z time.

AmeliaFlashtart Sat 25-Nov-17 10:03:39

Its not just you!

grumpysquash3 Sat 25-Nov-17 13:19:30

I'm a Director in a small/medium sized Biotech company. There are 5 of us at Director level and 4 are women. The guy is absolutely lovely and respectful, never mansplains etc. It's an excellent working environment and we get loads done.

I'm sure this doesn't help you one bit, OP, but I just wanted to put it out there that it doesn't always have to be like that. I realise I'm in a tiny minority though.

Congratulations on the baby!

thesandwich Sat 25-Nov-17 13:26:49

Do you have a mentor scheme available for you? Or senior networks you can be part of? Worth looking also at things on YouTube like Amy cuddy on body language etc and patsy Rodenberg- second circle is brilliant.

Dixeychick Sun 26-Nov-17 17:32:03

Thanks, I'll try those. I meet up with our HR director every quarter, she's fab & very keen to push the inclusivity agenda so always good to talk to her, although we seem to be making shockingly little progress. Will take a look at those blogs etc x

Trollingwithmyhomies Tue 28-Nov-17 19:09:34

Hear ya OP! You’re not alone and it sucks.

OhHolyJesus Tue 28-Nov-17 22:24:57

No experience of this but wanted to say OP that you are an inspiration so keep fighting the good fight for the women who will follow. Good luck at making changes as it is trailblazers who are doing for our daughters x

Dixeychick Thu 07-Dec-17 20:10:24

Thanks! I had more of it today, plus almost passed out (for the third time) due to pregnant lady blood sugar levels dropping when they insisted on working through every break & not bothering to order food. MEN!!! One day ladies, we'll run the world.

OhHolyJesus Thu 07-Dec-17 20:51:20

That's harsh! It's rubbish that you're being worked so hard when pregnant, they haven't a clue have they?!
One day we will run the world as it will be their only option for survival.
Take care of yourself and your baby xx

AmeliaFlashtart Fri 08-Dec-17 05:15:57

Frustrating that to counter this women are encouraged to find mentors etc, that's not going to change the male behaviour and 100% agree that acting the same gets you labelled shouty or aggressive. Electrodes on testicles during unconscious bias training might be a start, Men aren't going to give up a culture that advantages them easily. And I bloody well wish women would stop using home baked goods to gain acceptance.

LittleKiwi Fri 08-Dec-17 05:43:43

I’m not working anymore but I remember this shit only too well.

PARTICULARLY the failure to order food and working through breaks when I was pregnant - actually had the “I NEED TO FUCKING EAT” uncontrolled outburst, if that makes you feel any better dixey!

JontyDoggle37 Fri 08-Dec-17 06:14:42

OP - I’m at a similar level in the City, and I’ve recently made a change in how I speak/phrase things. I’ve stopped asking so many questions. I used to say things that sounded like a suggestion “shall we get some lunch?” Which let other people impose their opinions on me. Now I’ve started saying “I’m getting lunch, does Anyone else want some?” And instead of using hesitant phrasing ‘maybe it would be a good idea if’ i’m Being deliberately more directive ‘we should do this beause’. I’ve learnt it from watching the confident men around me. It doesn’t mean I’m acting like a man, just that I’m acting like a confident person who deserves to be listened to. And I’m really noticing a difference in people’s reactions to me. Congrats on the baby!

splendide Fri 08-Dec-17 06:22:55

This is really resonating with me. I’ve recently been promoted to head of my function and I suddenly realised yesterday that I’m fucking sick of being the only woman in the room all the time.

I think I do need to seek out some sort of mentorship or training. I’m doing my best to fake it but I feel like I lack gravitas. I’m sure I ask too many questions/ make suggestions rather than assertively make statements.

JontyDoggle37 Fri 08-Dec-17 07:39:37

Well, I think (she says assertively) that those of us in London should meet up and make our own mentoring/support group. We’re all facing the same challenges, it’s good to not feel like youre alone, and we’re intelligent competent women who can come up with suggestions to help each other. Who’s in?

Parsleyisntfood Fri 08-Dec-17 07:46:32

I was going to ask how they are handling you being pregnant. Whenever I talk about family in a casual conversation it’s like I’m talking about the holocost, extremely sensitive but have know point of reference. They all have more kids that me! But you wouldn’t know it. I’ve made a decision that in my next role I won’t mention DH or ds unless explicitly asked. Which is horrible. But knowing when the nativity is (because I couldn’t go) seems to mark me as a fragile wee female.

mogulfield Fri 08-Dec-17 07:51:06

I hear you Op, I worked in the armed forces for 9 years and my last job was in policy. I knew my area better than the men who out ranked me but I wa often ignored and some terrible decisions were made. If you were over 40 and a man you were listened to and respected. Unfortunately I was 30 and a woman. Ive now left and set up my own business, and it's hard work. But I get to make all the decisions, and all success is my own- no man above me taking all the credit.

DozyDoates Fri 08-Dec-17 08:36:24

Nothing to add OP; though I work in a male dominated sector and while I'm not senior, really look up to and admire the women (a very select few) who are in those top senior positions. This thread has some really interesting insights and advice. I'm going to try hard to take the suggestion of "tell, don't ask" on board when I return to work in the new year.
Congrats on the pregnancy!

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