sexism in the workplace(2 Posts)
I work in a catholic school. i suppose catholicism is pretty patriarchal so perhaps i shouldn't be surprised about the sexism I encounter but it is really bothering me and i don't know how best to challenge it. here are some examples -
1. I work in a large key department and we are all female. We are also the best performing dept in the school. We are often the subject of public jokes eg once in a staff mass the 'spiritual coordinator' gave out small mirrors as a prayer exercise and said 'of course x dept could use these to check their make up...'.
2. every week there is a staff briefing which begins with a prayer. sometimes the staff leading the prayer see it as a bit of an opportunity for stand up comedy/to regale us with funny anecdotes and often these are sexist and have included, for example, jokes about pornography and prostitution.
3. A colleague was being interviewed for an important internal role and was asked how she would cope with such a job given that she had 2 small children. A male colleague with children the same age applying for a similar role was not asked the same question.
4. Some of our pshe/pastoral resources are quite misogynistic, Being a catholic school there isn't a lot of sex ed (except - don't do it)
but what there is is quite 'victim blamy'...
The final straw came yesterday when I was being interviewed by the head. I was talking about the typical discussions we have as a department about pedagogy, learning, assessment etc and he replied "oh really, i thought all you talked about was handbags...". Maybe he was just trying to get me to bite but I replied that I thought this was a completely unfair sexist stereotype and he would not dream of making such a remark about a department with men in it. Needless to say I wasn't appointed in the job I went for.
It's such a horrible frustrating situation because I know if I say anything i will just be seen as a humourless feminist harpy...
Other than leave (which is a distinct possibility) what can I do to address this...?
If this is a state school presumably you are employed by your local Council, so you could put a formal complaint in to them.
Obviously not an easy thing to do and given what you have described I imagine it would make your working life very unpleasant.
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