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sexism in the workplace

(13 Posts)
louloutheshamed Thu 20-Mar-14 19:59:19

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...?

EBearhug Thu 20-Mar-14 20:10:29

Isn't #3 illegal? It's okay to ask questions about that if you ask all candidates, but not if you only ask some of them?

louloutheshamed Thu 20-Mar-14 20:22:53

Yeah I think it is illegal. Still happens though...

StealthPolarBear Thu 20-Mar-14 20:31:01

Not illegal but stupid
how quickly could you leave op?

louloutheshamed Thu 20-Mar-14 20:37:58

Im Actually on mat leave ATM, due back in summer but will have to go back because of my maternity pay...after a term or so I'll start looking though...

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 20-Mar-14 22:34:38

Ofsted? Governors?

louloutheshamed Fri 21-Mar-14 08:20:19

Interestingly the chair of governors is the head's pal and neighbour. But he also has 3 daughters in the school. I wonder how such parents would feel if they knew the attitude some staff have towards women...surely it filters down to their attitude towards female students too....hmm

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 21-Mar-14 08:22:42

Is there an opportunity to bring it up with a governor in a joky way?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 21-Mar-14 08:25:13

Eg "I do sometimes wonder about X and his leisure time - just the other day at staff briefing he told three jokes about prostitutes, crazy, huh?"

louloutheshamed Fri 21-Mar-14 14:45:01

Actually, as of next year the senior management team will be made up of more women than men for the first time ever. I was thinking of going to one of them and asking on behalf of the female staff if they could call the men on senior management every time there is such an incident of casual sexism....

EBearhug Fri 21-Mar-14 19:50:41

That sounds a good approach, loulou.

sashh Sun 23-Mar-14 13:02:46

I wonder how such parents would feel if they knew the attitude some staff have towards women...surely it filters down to their attitude towards female students too....

Don't hold your breath.

Apparently at my RC VI form (mixed VI form at a boys' school) on the first day a new year the teachers would be in the staffroom grading the new girls, commenting on their looks etc.

Although I do find the kind of 'blokes' who find this kind of thing funny are horrified when you suggest their sister/mother would be the butt of their joke.

"Ha Ha, I heard that about your sister" has been said by me more than once. And if they object? Well they know they were saying something offensive.

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